by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS LECH L'CHO 5763 BS"D
Ch. 14, v. 6: "V'es haChori b'hararom Sei'ir" - And the Chorites in their mountain Sei'ir - This translation is according to Rashi. However, the Ralba"g translates "b'hararom" as a gerund, - with their "mountain climbing" Mount Sei'ir.
Ch. 14, v. 10: "Be'eros be'eros cheimor" - Numerous pits of lime - Rashi says that it was miraculous for the king of S'dom to be able to later ascend from the lime pit, as he should have sunk into it. This accomplished that those who doubted that Avrohom miraculously ascended from the fiery cauldron of Kasdim would now retroactively believe in that miracle as well.
The king of S'dom believed in idols. If so, how would this miracle have any effect? People would say that the king of S'dom was saved by his gods, while they would remain non-believers in Avrohom's miraculous escape. Rabbi Ovadioh of Bartenura answers that people would reason that if the king of S'dom had gods who were capable of saving him, why didn't they help him overcome his adversaries at war as well? Thus, his ascent from the lime pit was surely an act that would bring them to believe that Avrohom too was miraculously saved by Avrohom's Deity.
Ch. 14, v. 10: "Va'yonusu melech S'dom vaAmoroh va'yiplu shomoh v'hanishorim heroh nossu" - And the king of S'dom and the king of Amoroh fell there and the rest fled to the mountain - Shouldn't the verse have said "HEhoroh," or "LEhor" - to the mountain?
This can be answered by combining the following points: The kings of S'dom and Amoroh didn't fall there, but rather threw themselves into the pits to escape detection. (Ibn Ezra) The three remaining kings were swifter and were able to escape to the mountain. The Medrash Agodoh brought by Tosfos Hasholeim says that by leaving out the letter Hei or Lamed at the beginning of "heroh" we can combine the last letter of the previous word, the Mem of "v'hanishorim" with "heroh" to form the word "m'heiroh," SWIFT, as this was why they were able to escape to the mountain, not like the kings of S'dom and Amoroh.
Ch. 16, v. 2: "Atzorani Hashem mi'le'des" - Hashem has held me back from giving birth - Tosfos Hasholeim notes that nowhere does the verse say that Soroh was an "akoroh," a barren woman, as we find by Rivkoh, "ki akoroh hee" (Breishis 25:21). This is because Soroh had already given birth to a daughter named Bakol, as per the gemara B.B. 141a.
Ch. 16, v. 8: "Ei mi'zeh vos v'onoh sei'leichi ato'mer mipnei Sorai g'virti onochi borachas" - From whence have you come and where will you go and she said 'from Sorai my mistress I am fleeing' - The angel asked her two questions. Why did she answer only one? Since she said that she was fleeing from Sorai there was no need to answer where her destination would be. The only purpose for her traveling was to escape from Sorai.
Ch. 16, v. 11: "V'yoladt" - And you will give birth - Rashi says that this word should be understood as if it would be "v'yole'des," - and you ARE GIVING birth, in the present tense. Targum Onkeles translates this in the future tense, "v'seildin." The Rada"k explains the meaning of this word in the present tense. The angel told Hogor that she will SURELY give birth to a boy, as sure as if she would now be giving birth and know whether the child is a boy or a girl.
Ch. 16, v. 11: "V'koros shmo Yishmo'eil ki shoma Hashem" - Why wasn't he therefore named Shoma'eil? The Rokei'ach answers that this alludes to Hashem's hearkening to his voice in the future when he almost died of heat and dehydration (Brieshis 21:17). Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer says that Hashem will hearken in the future to the voice of the bnei Yisroel who will suffer at the hand of Yishmo'eil, as per the verse "Yishma Keil v'yaa'neim" (T'hilim 55:20). See the words of Rabbi Chaim Vi'tal in Eitz Hadaas Tov on T'hilim chapter 124. It is an eye-opener on current events!
Ch. 16, v. 19,20,21: "Es haKeini etc." - The Keini etc. - These three verses list the 10 lands promised to Avrohom as an inheritance to his descendants. Rashi rites that although 10 lands were promised to the bnei Yisroel, they only inherited 7, and the three mentioned in verse 19 were occupied by Edom, Amon, and Moav. These three lands will be rightfully inherited by the bnei Yisroel in the future.
One of the lands mentioned here, R'foim, is mentioned in parshas Dvorim (2:20 and 3:13). On 2:20 Rashi says that although the verse says that it was CONSIDERED the land of R'foim, it was not the land given to Avrohom. On 3:13 Rashi writes that the area of Boshon etc., which the verse says is CALLED R'foim is the land that was given to Avrohom. What point is Rashi making in these two verses? Rabbi Y.Z. Brisker says that both these areas were the inheritance of the 2 and ½ tribes, as per the end of parshas Matos. Once they lived there did these areas have the status of Eretz Yisroel? He says that the areas promised to Avrohom did, and the areas that were not promised to him didn't.
This might give us a new understanding of the words of the gemara Yerushalmi Bikurim 1:8. The gemara says that if the requirement for bringing bikurim is from "eretz zovas cholov udvosh" (Dvorim 26:9), then the half of Menasheh in Trans-Jordan does not bring bikurim, but if the stress is on "v'ho'adomoh asher NOSATOH li" (verse 10), then they do bring bikurim. Simply, this is to be understood as the land "that You gave me" because Menasheh did not request it. This would pose a problem for the commentators who say that Menasheh requested a parcel of land in the Trans-Jordan just as Reuvein and Gad did, just that it wasn't mentioned in the verse as they were a small number of people. However, with the insight of Rabbi Y.Z. Brisker "that You gave me" means the land that was promised by Hashem to Avrohom. However, it wasn't "zovas cholov udash." There is a strong indication to this from verse 3, "el ho'oretz asher nishba Hashem laavoseinu lo'seis lonu."
Without going too deeply into a field in which I have a very limited grasp, as per responsa Chasam Sofer, "ein li eisek b'nistoros," there is a concept of 7 sfiros and 10 sfiros. The 7 are "chessed, g'vuroh, tiferres, hode, netzach, y'sode, malchus." There are also 3 higher sfiros, also called "keser malchus," of "chochmoh, binoh, daas." The seven lower sfiros are attributes that express themselves in our actions, while the three upper sfiros are in the realm of thought. The Agro D'kalo writes that each of these traits can be used for good or otherwise. Each of the kings of the 7 nations embodied one of these traits in a most negative manner. For example, the trait of "chessed," kindness, can obviously used for good. However, when misplaced and not controlled it can be most devastating, as when one feels a great affinity for his sister to the point that he has physical relations with her, as this is called "chessed" (Vayikro 20:17). The names of the 7 nations correspond to the sfiros, as "Canaan" comes from the word form "hachno'oh," subordination, connected to giving of oneself for another, i.e. "chessed." "Chiti," meaning fear, corresponds to "g'vuroh," etc. The bnei Yisroel were required to sanctify these traits. With this spiritual power in all 7 traits they were able to vanquish the 7 nations. In truth, the 7 nations had a stronger negative power than the bnei Yisroel reached in purity, and this is why the verse says, "And Hashem will chase away all of these nations from in front of you" (Dvorim 11:23). The bnei Yisroel did not have the power to do this on their own. This is alluded to in Rashi who says on the words "vaazumim mi'kem," that you are strong but they are stronger than you. However, regarding the three higher traits, the ones that are in the realm of thought, which correspond to the nations of Keini, Knizi, and Kadmoni, the bnei Yisroel did not excel, and in turn were unable to overpower them. This will have to wait for the future, bb"o.
Ch. 17, v. 15, 16: "Va'tei'led Hogor .. asher yoldoh Hogor, b'le'des Hogor" - And Hogor gave birth .. that Hogor gave birth, when Hogor gave birth - There seems to be redundancy in mentioning that Hogor gave birth to Yishmo'eil. Perhaps this is to stress that although Avrohom sired him, nevertheless, Hashem distances Yishmo'eil from Avrohom and drives into us the point that Hogor was his mother.
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