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The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

(Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah)

1. What is the goal of this text? What “myth” does it establish?


9 You stand this day, all of you, before the Lord ‫ ַא ֶתּם נִ ָצּ ִבים ַהיּוֹם ֻכּ ְלּ ֶכם ִל ְפנֵ י יְ הוָ ה‬9
your God—your tribal heads, your elders and
your officials, all the men of Israel, ‫יכם‬ ֶ ֵ‫יכם זִ ְקנ‬
ֶ ‫יכם ִשׁ ְב ֵט‬ ֶ ‫אשׁ‬
ֵ ‫יכם ָר‬ ֶ ‫ֱא ֵה‬
10 your children, your wives, even the stranger ‫ ַט ְפּ ֶכם‬10‫יכם כֹּל ִאישׁ יִ ְשׂ ָר ֵאל׃‬ ֶ ‫וְ שׁ ְֹט ֵר‬
within your camp, from woodchopper to
waterdrawer— 11 to enter into the covenant of ‫יכם וְ גֵ ְר ֲא ֶשׁר ְבּ ֶק ֶרב ַמ ֲחנֶ י ֵמח ֵֹטב‬ ֶ ‫נְ ֵשׁ‬
the Lord your God, which the Lord your God is ‫ ְל ָﬠ ְב ְר ִבּ ְב ִרית‬11‫ימי ׃‬ ֶ ‫ֵﬠ ֶצי ַﬠד שׁ ֵֹאב ֵמ‬
concluding with you this day, with its sanctions;
12 to the end that He may establish you this day ‫וּב ָא ָלתוֹ ֲא ֶשׁר יְ הוָ ה ֱא ֶהי‬ ְ ‫יְ הוָ ה ֱא ֶהי‬
as His people and be your God, as He promised ‫ ְל ַמ ַﬠן ָה ִקים־א ְֹת ַהיּוֹם‬12‫כּ ֵֹרת ִﬠ ְמּ ַהיּוֹם׃‬
you and as He swore to your fathers, Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob. 13 I make this covenant, with ‫ה־לּ ֵלא ִהים ַכּ ֲא ֶשׁר‬ ְ ֶ‫לוֹ ְל ָﬠם וְ הוּא יִ ְהי‬
its sanctions, not with you alone, 14 but both ‫ר־ל וְ ַכ ֲא ֶשׁר נִ ְשׁ ַבּע ַל ֲאב ֶֹתי ְל ַא ְב ָר ָהם‬ ָ ‫ִדּ ֶבּ‬
with those who are standing here with us this
day before the Lord our God and with those who ‫ וְ לֹא ִא ְתּ ֶכם ְל ַב ְדּ ֶכם‬13‫וּליַ ֲﬠקֹב׃‬ ְ ‫ְליִ ְצ ָחק‬
are not with us here this day. ‫ת־ה ָא ָלה‬
ָ ‫ת־ה ְבּ ִרית ַהזֹּאת וְ ֶא‬ ַ ‫ָאנ ִֹכי כּ ֵֹרת ֶא‬
(Deuteronomy 29) ‫ת־א ֶשׁר יֶ ְשׁנוֹ פֹּה ִﬠ ָמּנוּ‬ ֲ ‫ ִכּי ֶא‬14‫ַהזֹּאת׃‬
‫ע ֵֹמד ַהיּוֹם ִל ְפנֵ י יְ הוָ ה ֱא ֵהינוּ וְ ֵאת ֲא ֶשׁר‬
‫ֵאינֶ נּוּ פֹּה ִﬠ ָמּנוּ ַהיּוֹם׃‬

2. How does the covenant with the “ancients” protect subsequent generations?
How does it orient the perspective of later generations?
41 When I, in turn, have been hostile to them ‫אתי א ָֹתם‬ ִ ‫ף־אנִ י ֵא ֵל ִﬠ ָמּם ְבּ ֶק ִרי וְ ֵה ֵב‬ ֲ ‫ ַא‬41
and have removed them into the land of their
enemies, then at last shall their obdurate ‫אוֹ־אז יִ ָכּנַ ע ְל ָב ָבם ֶה ָﬠ ֵרל וְ ָאז‬
ָ ‫יהם‬ֶ ‫ְבּ ֶא ֶרץ אֹיְ ֵב‬
heart humble itself, and they shall atone for ‫ת־בּ ִר ִיתי יַ ֲﬠקוֹב‬ ְ ‫ וְ זָ ַכ ְר ִתּי ֶא‬42 ‫ת־ﬠוֹנָ ם׃‬ ֲ ‫יִ ְרצוּ ֶא‬
their iniquity. 42 Then will I remember My
covenant with Jacob; I will remember also ‫ת־בּ ִר ִיתי ַא ְב ָר ָהם‬
ְ ‫ת־בּ ִר ִיתי יִ ְצ ָחק וְ ַאף ֶא‬ ְ ‫וְ ַאף ֶא‬
My covenant with Isaac, and also My ‫ וְ ָה ָא ֶרץ ֵתּ ָﬠזֵ ב ֵמ ֶהם‬43 ‫ֶאזְ כֹּר וְ ָה ָא ֶרץ ֶאזְ כֹּר׃‬
covenant with Abraham; and I will remember
the land. 43 For the land shall be forsaken of ‫יה ָבּ ְה ַשׁ ָמּה ֵמ ֶהם וְ ֵהם יִ ְרצוּ‬ ָ ‫ת־שׁ ְבּת ֶֹת‬
ַ ‫וְ ִת ֶרץ ֶא‬
them, making up for its sabbath years by ‫וּביַ ַﬠן ְבּ ִמ ְשׁ ָפּ ַטי ָמ ָאסוּ‬ ְ ‫ת־ﬠוֹנָ ם יַ ַﬠן‬
ֲ ‫ֶא‬
being desolate of them, while they atone for
their iniquity; for the abundant reason that ‫ וְ ַאף־גַּ ם־זֹאת‬44 ‫ת־חקּ ַֹתי ָגּ ֲﬠ ָלה נַ ְפ ָשׁם׃‬ ֻ ‫וְ ֶא‬
they rejected My rules and spurned My laws. ‫א־מ ַא ְס ִתּים‬
ְ ֹ ‫יהם ל‬ ֶ ‫יוֹתם ְבּ ֶא ֶרץ אֹיְ ֵב‬ ָ ‫ִבּ ְה‬
44 Yet, even then, when they are in the land
of their enemies, I will not reject them or ‫א־ג ַﬠ ְל ִתּים ְל ַכ ָתם ְל ָה ֵפר ְבּ ִר ִיתי ִא ָתּם ִכּי‬ ְ ֹ ‫וְ ל‬
spurn them so as to destroy them, annulling ‫ וְ זָ ַכ ְר ִתּי ָל ֶהם ְבּ ִרית‬45 ‫יהם׃‬ ֶ ‫ֲאנִ י יְ הוָ ה ֱא ֵה‬
My covenant with them: for I the Lord am
their God. 45 I will remember in their favor ‫אתי־א ָֹתם ֵמ ֶא ֶרץ ִמ ְצ ַריִ ם‬ ִ ‫הוֹצ‬ ֵ ‫ִראשׁ ֹנִ ים ֲא ֶשׁר‬
the covenant with the ancients, whom I freed ‫ְל ֵﬠינֵ י ַהגּוֹיִ ם ִל ְהיֹת ָל ֶהם ֵלא ִהים ֲאנִ י יְ הוָ ה׃‬
from the land of Egypt in the sight of the
nations to be their God: I, the Lord.

(Leviticus 26)

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3. How does this text from the Avot v’Imahot (Fathers and Mothers) section of the Amidah
modify and extend the Biblical significance and role of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to the
Jewish people?
Blessed are You, Adonai, our God and
our ancestors' God: Abraham's God, Isaac's
God, and Jacob's God, great, mighty, and
revered God, supreme God, who acts most
piously, who is master of everything, who
remembers the piety of our ancestors, and
who brings a redeemer to their descendants
for the sake of his name in love. Our king
helps and saves and protects! Blessed are
You, Adonai, Abraham's protector

The God of David and the Messiah


4. What does Solomon probably mean when he speaks about David’s line on the throne
never ending?

22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the ‫ וַ יַּ ֲﬠמֹד ְשׁ מֹה ִל ְפנֵ י ִמזְ ַבּח יְ הוָ ה נֶ ֶגד‬22
Lord in the presence of the whole community of
Israel; he spread the palms of his hands toward 23 ‫ל־ק ַהל יִ ְשׂ ָר ֵאל וַ יִּ ְפר ֹשׂ ַכּ ָפּיו ַה ָשּׁ ָמיִ ם׃‬ ְ ‫ָכּ‬
heaven 23 and said, “O Lord God of Israel, in ‫ין־כּמוֹ ֱא ִהים‬ ָ ‫אמר יְ הוָ ה ֱא ֵהי יִ ְשׂ ָר ֵאל ֵא‬ ַ ֹ ‫וַ יּ‬
the heavens above and on the earth below
there is no god like You, who keep Your ‫ל־ה ָא ֶרץ ִמ ָתּ ַחת שׁ ֵֹמר‬ ָ ‫ַבּ ָשּׁ ַמיִ ם ִמ ַמּ ַﬠל וְ ַﬠ‬
gracious covenant with Your servants when ‫ַה ְבּ ִרית וְ ַה ֶח ֶסד ַל ֲﬠ ָב ֶדי ַהה ְֹל ִכים ְל ָפנֶ י‬
they walk before You in wholehearted devotion;
24 You who have kept the promises You made ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ָשׁ ַמ ְר ָתּ ְל ַﬠ ְב ְדּ ָדּוִ ד‬24 ‫ל־ל ָבּם׃‬ ִ ‫ְבּ ָכ‬
to Your servant, my father David, fulfilling with ‫ר־דּ ַבּ ְר ָתּ לוֹ וַ ְתּ ַד ֵבּר ְבּ ִפי‬
ִ ‫ָא ִבי ֵאת ֲא ֶשׁ‬
deeds the promise You made—as is now the
case. 25 And now, O Lord God of Israel, keep ‫ וְ ַﬠ ָתּה יְ הוָ ה‬25 ‫את ךַּ יּוֹם ַהזֶּ ה׃‬ ָ ‫וּביָ ְד ִמ ֵלּ‬ ְ
the further promise that You made to Your
servant, my father David: ‘Your line on the
‫ֱא ֵהי יִ ְשׂ ָר ֵאל ְשׁמֹר ְל ַﬠ ְב ְדּ ָדוִ ד ָא ִבי ֵאת‬
throne of Israel shall never end, if only your ‫ֲא ֶשׁר ִדּ ַבּ ְר ָתּ לּוֹ ֵלאמֹר לֹא־יִ ָכּ ֵרת ְל ִאישׁ‬
descendants will look to their way and walk ‫ל־כּ ֵסּא יִ ְשׂ ָר ֵאל ַרק‬ ִ ‫ִמ ְלּ ָפנַ י י ֵֹשׁב ַﬠ‬
before Me as you have walked before Me. 26
Now, therefore, O God of Israel, let the promise ‫ת־דּ ְר ָכּם ָל ֶל ֶכת ְל ָפנַ י‬ַ ‫ִאם־יִ ְשׁ ְמרוּ ָבנֶ י ֶא‬
that You made to Your servant my father David ‫ וְ ַﬠ ָתּה ֱא ֵהי‬26 ‫ַכּ ֲא ֶשׁר ָה ַל ְכ ָתּ ְל ָפנָ י׃‬
be fulfilled.
(I Kings 8) ‫יִ ְשׂ ָר ֵאל יֵ ָא ֶמן נָ א ְדּ ָב ְר ֲא ֶשׁר ִדּ ַבּ ְר ָתּ ְל ַﬠ ְב ְדּ‬
‫ָדּוִ ד ָא ִבי׃‬

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5. How does Isaiah change the understanding of David’s dynasty? Who is Isaiah
really talking about?
5 For a child has been born to us, A son has ‫ן־לנוּ וַ ְתּ ִהי ַה ִמּ ְשׂ ָרה‬
ָ ‫ד־לנוּ ֵבּן נִ ַתּ‬ָ ‫ ִכּי־יֶ ֶלד יֻ ַלּ‬5
been given us. And authority has settled on
his shoulders. He has been named “The ‫יוֹﬠץ ֵאל גִּ בּוֹר‬ ֵ ‫ל־שׁ ְכמוֹ וַ יִּ ְק ָרא ְשׁמוֹ ֶפּ ֶלא‬ ִ ‫ַﬠ‬
Mighty God is planning grace; The Eternal ‫ ְל ַמ ְר ֵבּה ַה ִמּ ְשׂ ָרה‬6 ‫ר־שׁלוֹם׃‬ ָ ‫יﬠד ַשׂ‬ ַ ‫ֲא ִב‬
Father, a peaceable ruler”—
6 In token of abundant authority And of peace ‫ל־מ ְמ ַל ְכתּוֹ‬
ַ ‫ל־כּ ֵסּא ָדוִ ד וְ ַﬠ‬ִ ‫ין־קץ ַﬠ‬ ֵ ‫וּל ָשׁלוֹם ֵא‬ ְ
without limit Upon David’s throne and ‫וּב ְצ ָד ָקה‬
ִ ‫ְל ָה ִכין א ָֹתהּ ְוּל ַס ֲﬠ ָדהּ ְבּ ִמ ְשׁ ָפּט‬
kingdom, That it may be firmly established In
justice and in equity Now and evermore. The ‫ד־עוֹלם ִקנְ ַאת יְ הוָ ה ְצ ָבאוֹת‬ ָ ‫ֵמ ַﬠ ָתּה וְ ַﬠ‬
zeal of the Lord of Hosts Shall bring this to ‫ַתּ ֲﬠ ֶשׂה־זֹּאת׃ ס‬
pass. (Isaiah 9)

4…For violence has vanished, Rapine is ‫י־ס ֶתר ָלמוֹ ִמ ְפּנֵ י‬ ֵ ִ‫מוֹאב ֱהו‬ ָ ‫ יָ גוּרוּ ָב נִ ָדּ ַחי‬4
ended, And marauders have perished from
this land. ‫י־א ֵפס ַה ֵמּץ ָכּ ָלה שׁ ֹד ַתּמּוּ ר ֵֹמס‬ ָ ‫שׁוֹדד ִכּ‬
ֵ
5 And a throne shall be established in ‫הוּכן ַבּ ֶח ֶסד ִכּ ֵסּא וְ יָ ַשׁב ָﬠ ָליו‬
ַ ְ‫ ו‬5‫ן־ה ָא ֶרץ׃‬
ָ ‫ִמ‬
goodness In the tent of David, And on it shall
sit in faithfulness A ruler devoted to justice ‫וּמ ִהר‬ְ ‫ֶבּ ֱא ֶמת ְבּא ֶֹהל ָדּוִ ד שׁ ֵֹפט וְ ד ֵֹרשׁ ִמ ְשׁ ָפּט‬
And zealous for equity. (Isaiah 16) ‫ֶצ ֶדק׃‬

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6. Ezekiel takes this concept even farther, what is Ezekiel’s vision of a grand future
for the people of Israel? Who is the “David” that will rule over a unified, re-
established people?
21 and you shall declare to them: Thus said ‫ֹה־א ַמר ֲאד ֹנָ י יְ הוִ ה ִהנֵּ ה ֲאנִ י‬ ָ ‫יהם כּ‬ ֶ ‫ וְ ַד ֵבּר ֲא ֵל‬21
the Lord God: I am going to take the
Israelite people from among the nations ‫ת־בּנֵ י יִ ְשׂ ָר ֵאל ִמ ֵבּין ַהגּוֹיִ ם ֲא ֶשׁר‬ ְ ‫ֵק ַ ֶא‬
they have gone to, and gather them from ‫אתי‬ ִ ‫כוּ־שׁם וְ ִק ַבּ ְצ ִתּי א ָֹתם ִמ ָסּ ִביב וְ ֵה ֵב‬ ָ ‫ָה ְל‬
every quarter, and bring them to their own
land. 22 I will make them a single nation in ‫ וְ ָﬠ ִשׂ ִיתי א ָֹתם ְלגוֹי‬22 ‫ל־א ְד ָמ ָתם׃‬ ַ ‫אוֹתם ֶא‬ ָ
the land, on the hills of Israel, and one king ‫וּמ ֶל ֶא ָחד יִ ְהיֶ ה‬ ֶ ‫ֶא ָחד ָבּ ָא ֶרץ ְבּ ָה ֵרי יִ ְשׂ ָר ֵאל‬
shall be king of them all. Never again shall
they be two nations, and never again shall ‫ְל ֻכ ָלּם ְל ֶמ ֶל וְ לֹא יִ ְהיוּ־עוֹד ִל ְשׁנֵ י גוֹיִ ם וְ לֹא יֵ ָחצוּ‬
they be divided into two kingdoms. 23 Nor ‫ וְ לֹא יִ ַט ְמּאוּ עוֹד‬23 ‫עוֹד ִל ְשׁ ֵתּי ַמ ְמ ָלכוֹת עוֹד׃‬
shall they ever again defile themselves by
their fetishes and their abhorrent things, and ‫יהם‬ ֶ ‫וּבכֹל ִפּ ְשׁ ֵﬠ‬ ְ ‫יהם‬ ֶ ‫קּוּצ‬
ֵ ‫וּב ִשׁ‬ ְ ‫יהם‬ ֶ ‫לּוּל‬
ֵ ‫ְבּ ִג‬
by their other transgressions. I will save ‫יהם ֲא ֶשׁר ָח ְטאוּ‬ ֶ ‫מוֹשׁב ֵֹת‬ְ ‫הוֹשׁ ְﬠ ִתּי א ָֹתם ִמכֹּל‬ ַ ְ‫ו‬
them in all their settlements where they
sinned, and I will cleanse them. Then they ‫יוּ־לי ְל ָﬠם וַ ֲאנִ י ֶא ְהיֶ ה‬ ִ ‫אוֹתם וְ ָה‬ ָ ‫ָב ֶהם וְ ִט ַה ְר ִתּי‬
shall be My people, and I will be their God. ‫יהם‬ ֶ ‫ וְ ַﬠ ְב ִדּי ָדוִ ד ֶמ ֶל ֲﬠ ֵל‬24 ‫ָל ֶהם ֵלא ִהים׃‬
24 My servant David shall be king over
them; there shall be one shepherd for all of ‫וּב ִמ ְשׁ ָפּ ַטי יֵ ֵלכוּ וְ ֻחקּ ַֹתי‬ ְ ‫רוֹﬠה ֶא ָחד יִ ְהיֶ ה ְל ֻכ ָלּם‬ ֶ ְ‫ו‬
them. They shall follow My rules and
faithfully obey My laws. 25 Thus they shall
‫ וְ יָ ְשׁבוּ ַﬠל־ ָה ָא ֶרץ‬25 ‫אוֹתם׃‬ ָ ‫יִ ְשׁ ְמרוּ וְ ָﬠשׂוּ‬
remain in the land which I gave to My ‫בוּ־בהּ‬ ָ ‫ֲא ֶשׁר נָ ַת ִתּי ְל ַﬠ ְב ִדּי ְליַ ֲﬠקֹב ֲא ֶשׁר יָ ְשׁ‬
servant Jacob and in which your fathers ‫וּבנֵ י‬ ְ ‫יהם‬ ֶ ֵ‫וּבנ‬ ְ ‫יה ֵה ָמּה‬ ָ ‫יכם וְ יָ ְשׁבוּ ָﬠ ֶל‬ ֶ ‫בוֹת‬
ֵ ‫ֲא‬
dwelt; they and their children and their
children’s children shall dwell there forever, ‫עוֹלם׃‬ ָ ‫ד־עוֹלם וְ ָדוִ ד ַﬠ ְב ִדּי נָ ִשׂיא ָל ֶהם ְל‬ ָ ‫יהם ַﬠ‬ ֶ ֵ‫ְבנ‬
with My servant David as their prince for all
time. 26 I will make a covenant of
‫עוֹלם יִ ְהיֶ ה‬ ָ ‫ וְ ָכ ַר ִתּי ָל ֶהם ְבּ ִרית ָשׁלוֹם ְבּ ִרית‬26
friendship with them—it shall be an ‫אוֹתם וְ נָ ַת ִתּי‬ ָ ‫אוֹתם וּנְ ַת ִתּים וְ ִה ְר ֵבּ ִיתי‬ ָ
everlasting covenant with them—I will ‫ וְ ָהיָ ה ִמ ְשׁ ָכּנִ י‬27 ‫עוֹלם׃‬ ָ ‫תוֹכם ְל‬ ָ ‫ת־מ ְק ָדּ ִשׁי ְבּ‬ ִ ‫ֶא‬
establish them and multiply them, and I will
place My Sanctuary among them forever. ‫יוּ־לי‬
ִ ‫יהם וְ ָהיִ ִיתי ָל ֶהם ֵלא ִהים וְ ֵה ָמּה יִ ְה‬ ֶ ‫ֲﬠ ֵל‬
27 My Presence shall rest over them; I will
be their God and they shall be My people.
‫ וְ יָ ְדעוּ ַהגּוֹיִ ם ִכּי ֲאנִ י יְ הוָ ה ְמ ַק ֵדּשׁ‬28 ‫ְל ָﬠם׃‬
28 And when My Sanctuary abides among ‫עוֹלם׃ ס‬ ָ ‫תוֹכם ְל‬ ָ ‫ֶאת־יִ ְשׂ ָר ֵאל ִבּ ְהיוֹת ִמ ְק ָדּ ִשׁי ְבּ‬
them forever, the nations shall know that I
the Lord do sanctify Israel. (Ezekiel 37)

4
7. From the third blessing after the reading of the Haftarah. How is God’s promise to
make David’s dynasty eternal reflected in the words of the prayer after the Haftarah? How
is the particular meaning of the text from Kings extended by the Haftarah blessing? (Hint:
Whenever Elijah’s name is invoked in prayer it refers to the coming of the Messiah.)

By your power let us rejoice in Elijah the


prophet, your servant, and in the kingdom
of the house of David, your anointed. 8 Let
him come quickly, that our heart delight 9
Let no stranger sit on his throne, and let
others no longer inherit his glory, for by
your holy name You swore to him that his
candle would never be extinguished. I
Blessed are You, Adonai, Shield of David.

For our discussion:


What is the place that our mythic ancestors have in our spiritual consciousness today?

How do we “feel” the presence of Abraham et. al.? How is this a component of the
Jewish conception of God?

What is the value of this linkage to antiquity?

How is David transformed from a first king into the father of the messiah? Why?

What is the place of messianism in our spiritual consciousness today?

What is the value of a redefined messianism in our world?