Torah Reading: Lech Lecha (Genesis  12:1 - 17:27)  
Haftorah: Isaiah 40:27 - 41:16 
Shabbat Candle Lighting: 5:35 PM   
Shabbat Ends: 6:35 PM 



The Patriarchs
The Talmud (Pesachim 117b), cited by Rashi, discusses the uniqueness of Abraham even among the other two Patriarchs, Isaac and Jacob. In our daily prayers, known as the Shemoneh Esrei or Amidah we begin by mentioning all three Patriarchs: “The G‑d of Abraham, the G‑d of Isaac and the G‑d of Jacob.” Yet when we conclude the blessing, we only say, “Blessed are You, G‑d, the shield of Abraham. The Talmud, commenting on the opening verse of this week’s parsha, discusses this discrepancy in the following manner:
“I will make of you a great nation” – this is what we say: “The G‑d of Abraham.”
          “I will bless you” – this is what we say: “The G‑d of Isaac.”
          “And I will make your name great” – this is what we say: “The G‑d of Jacob.”
It could be thought that that we should conclude with [a mention of] all of them. The Torah therefore states: “And you shall be a blessing,” [to teach us that] “we conclude with you [Abraham] and we do not conclude not with all of them [Isaac and Jacob].”
This Talmudic commentary needs clarification. Why would Abraham feel better knowing that he was singled out for special mention that excluded his beloved son Isaac and grandson Jacob? Any loving parent and grandparent would relish the idea that his progeny would be regarded as equals or even as superior to himself.
The Three Pillars
The following is partially based on an answer from a 20th century Chassidic work, Ateres Tzvi.
Abraham Isaac and Jacob were not just great people; they were the very foundations of the Jewish nation. Moreover, they personified the most basic traits and virtues that we, their descendants, need to fulfill our mission on earth.
Thus, our Sages inform us that the three Patriarchs represent the three pillars upon which the world stands. (Avos 1:2): Torah, Avodah (sacrificial service or prayer), Gemilus Chasadim (acts of loving kindness).
It is axiomatic that a Jew cannot be content to strive for one or two of these pillars. We are required to incorporate all of the three in our daily lives. A Jew is duty bound to study Torah each and every day. Even one who is heavily involved in their livelihood, must separate at least some time in the morning and the evening to study Torah. Likewise, every Jew is obligated to pray to G‑d multiple times daily. And, obviously, one cannot be a good Jew without reaching out to sustain the less fortunate in our midst by acts of loving kindness.
It is therefore also axiomatic in Jewish thought that we need to invoke the names and traits of all three Patriarchs because they represent these three pillars, all of which are indispensable:
Abraham and Loving-kindness
Abraham personified kindness at its best.
This explains the Talmud’s allusion of Abraham in the words “I will make of you a great nation.” To create a community and a nation one must be imbued with a profound sense of responsibility towards every individual. Without dedication to acts of kindness, giving and sharing, a society cannot survive. This highlights  the stark contrast between Abraham and Sodom: The Sodomite people were destroyed because a society cannot possibly survive when it is not based on the principle of kindness. In the Chassidic translation of the words of the Psalmist (89:3): “The world was built with kindness.”  
Isaac and Prayer
“Isaac is known particularly for his role as a sacrifice, which parallels the pillar of “avodah-the sacrificial service or prayer its substitute.”
This explains the Talmud’s allusion of Isaac in the words “I will bless you.” Our prayers are replete with blessings, particularly, the Amidah, which comprises 18 blessings. Our prayers are designed to elicit G‑d’s blessings to the worl. 
Jacob and Torah
Jacob, who is described in the Torah as one who “dwelled in the tents,” which Rashi explains as an allusion to the tents of Torah study which he frequented, represents the pillar of Torah.
This too can explain the Talmud’s allusion of Jacob in the words, “And I will make your name great.” Torah study has the capacity to enhance one’s reputation. They are the one’s whom people look up to for guidance and inspiration.  
Thus we begin our most important prayer by invoking the names of all three Patriarchs as a way of establishing the necessity to connect to G‑d through all of three approaches. 
“Who is Like Your Nation Israel?”
For most of Jewish history, the Jewish nation, as a whole, has adhered scrupulously to these three pillars. Certainly there were many who have fallen short of the mark. Moreover, even those who have studied assiduously can always find ways of enhancing their learning experience. One can either devote more time to one’s study or study with more depth, enthusiasm and passion. However, on balance, we, as a people, have done quite well in this regard. Even the simple Jew was able to learn on his level and picked up much knowledge by osmosis.
Insofar as prayer is concerned, Jews always prayed. In most of our journeys through the various exiles we had no choice. Helpless against pogroms and massacres, we were compelled to turn heavenward and beseech G‑d to save us in our time of need.
The same can be said about acts of loving kindness. There was never a people who gave so much Tzedakah. Rich or poor, Jews contributed with their souls, bodies and money. Every community took care of its poor. For a community to have a miser was a novelty, and stories were told about them because they were so rare and reviled. And even many of those misers preferred to give Tzedakah anonymously and suffer the indignity of a community’s ridicule. So engrained was the desire to give Tzedakah, that Jewish law had to place a limit. One is obliged to give at least 10 percent of one’s net income to Tzedakah, preferably 20 percent. However, the Talmud rules, one is not permitted to give more than 20 percent. And even this prohibition has its loopholes. Many a rabbinic authority have found ways to accommodate many who wanted to give more.
In light of the above we can comfortably recite the Biblical praises of Israel: “Who is like Your nation Israel, one nation on earth.” Indeed, we are unique in the way we excelled in all of these three domains represented by our forefathers.
All Three are Needed
In effect, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are not only our ancestors; they are alive and well within each and every one of us. We inherited their traits even after close to 4,000 years since they inhabited the physical world.
Thus, in the Amidah prayer which is designed to forge a deeper connection between us and G‑d, we make mention of the three Patriarchs equally because they are all indispensable resources and influences in our collective and individual lives.
How do We Conclude?
A question does remain. Granted that we have excelled in all three areas and granted that we have to continue to integrate Torah study with prayer and acts of kindness, but which of these three is the most salient aspect of this triad? Which of these three will we need to specialize in beyond all others to conclude our mission in Galus? This indeed is the essence of the Talmud’s question, “how do we conclude?” The question is not just about the concluding part of the prayer; it is about the conclusion of history prior to the onset of the Final Redemption. Where should be place our greatest emphasis in the final days of Galus/exile?
And the Talmud’s unequivocal answer is: Abraham! Notwithstanding the importance of Torah study and prayer, Abraham’s trait of kindness must now dominate.
This interpretation about the supremacy of kindness in the current age is rooted in the words of the Alter Rebbe in his classic Tanya (Iggeres Hakodesh sec. 9) where he offers a mystical explanation as to why our primary focus prior to the Messianic Age must be on helping those who have nothing of their own. Since G‑d’s presence (known as the Shechinah) has descended to the very nadir of existence (a process which started with the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash and spiraled downward as our exile progressed) we too must reach out and down to those who are in the abyss. Only this empowers us to connect to the Divine because that precisely is where the Divine resides.
One may take this lesson a step further. By concluding with Abraham’s ideal of kindness we are actually reinforcing the other two pillars of Torah study and prayer. In our day and age one must engage in acts of kindness to help those who are poor in terms of their Torah knowledge. Likewise, we must apply kindness to prayer and implore G‑d to bring salivation to the entire world by bringing Moshiach. Hence, while the focus is on Abraham,. Isaac and Jacob are subsumed with Abraham.