Parsha Talk with Rabbis Eliot Malomet, Barry Chesler and Jeremy Kalmanofsky. Parashat Va-yera [Genesis 18-22] is the 4th weekly parashah in the Book of Genesis. It primarily consists of a series of events in the life of Abraham: the visitation of the angels/messengers of God with the news that Sarah will give birth to a son, Avraham’s discussion with God over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, a second iteration of the wife-sister story, this time featuring Avimelekh instead of Pharaoh, and the binding of Isaac. There are also stories about the fate of Lot and his family who had been living in Sodom and Gomorrah, and the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael, a story to which Avraham is only tangentially connected. Any one of these is worthy of an extended discussion; we chose to focus on the discussion between God and Avraham over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, going verse by verse until we ran out of time. The story resonates with the political situation today; while we do not necessarily look to the Torah for the solutions to today’s problems, we do use it to help us frame our discussion of modern issues. Please let us know what you think either here or at [email protected]. With continued prayers that all hostages are returned to their families and that soldiers are removed from harms’ way. Shabbat Shalom!