In our series thus far on Sefer Breishit, we have shown how the process of "bechira" - God's choice of Avraham and his offspring to become His special nation - has emerged as the primary theme. We have discussed how God had promised Avraham numerous times that his offspring ("zera") would become a great nation in a special land ("aretz"). Even though each promise added a special dimension, each one repeated in one form or other the same key phrase:
Considering that the reason for God's "bechira" (selection) of Avraham was in order that his offspring become a nation (see 12:1-2), this 'filtering' process of choosing only one son over others could not continue forever. Should only one 'favorite son' be chosen in each generation, a nation could obviously never develop. Sooner or later, this 'filtering process' must end, and an entire family must be chosen.
Thanks to our 20/20 hindsight, we know that this process ends after three generations (Board #4) (Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov). However, to the Avot themselves, this specific point concerning when this "bechira" process ends may have been unclear.
With this in mind, we can begin our shiur.