Secondary Source: What’s in a name – UPS, MS, HS

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Secondary Sources: What’s in a name

Excerpts from: Rabbi Michal Shekel: The Women’s Torah Commentary, Elyse Goldstein (ed.), (Jewish Lights, NY), 2000, pp.57-62
Parshat Lech lecha contains within it two journeys, each of which encompasses a spiritual and physical aspect. The first is the well known story of Abram (Bereshit 12). The second is subtler but still powerful. It is the journey undertaken by Sarai’s handmaiden Hagar….
One can discover three occurrences in this parashah that mirror Abram’s experience. First, Hagar leaves home, her personal Lechi lach, “go forth” (fem.)… Second, God makes a brit, a covenant, with her, in which she is promised that she will have numerous offspring… Third, she is told her son’s name before his birth. But here the parallel ends; for, most significantly, Hagar gives God a name. Abram has never done this, nor has anyone else.
What courage! In these early chapters of the Torah, the act of naming is highly significant. It is both empowering and embracing….
Hagar names God el ro’i “God who sees me.” This is in response to God’s naming of her child Yishma’el, which means “God hears”. In naming God, Hagar affirms that God sees as well as hears. Here too is a parallel with Abraham. After the Akedah, the binding of Isaac, Abraham calls the mountain where he offers his son “Adonai sees”…

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