Brief torah thought (Lech L'cha)

This shabbat we had our approximately-annual shabbaton, or Shabbat retreat. Because everybody's there for the duration -- nobody has to run home for lunch guests or the like -- we can be more relaxed and have time for conversation. I like that aspect a lot.

When my rabbi read the fourth aliyah (Genesis chapter 14) in the morning service, he commented that the passage seems tangential and wondered what it's there to teach us. At lunch afterwards, I told him I could think of four reasons for that chapter to be there:

  • redemption of captives (Avram had to rescue Lot after the war)
  • we can't always isolate ourselves and sometimes get drawn into others' conflicts
  • tithing
  • Avram superseding Malki-Tzedek, a priest of God according to the text

My rabbi asked if I got that from Mi Yodeya. :-) I know I've asked a question about Malki-Tzedek, but the rest of this was my own reasoning.

He then added a fifth: consequences of bad choices. Lot could have gone anywhere when he split from Avram, and he chose S'dom.