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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 12, v. 2: "V'e'es'cho l'goy godol vaavo'rech'cho vaagadloh shmecho ve'h'yei brochoh" - And I will make you into a large nation and I will bless you and I will enlarge your name and you will have the power of blessing" - The Holy Zohar writes that these are four expressions of benefit that Avrohom would merit by leaving his birthplace and go to the Holy Land. This might well be "maa'seh ovos simon labonim" for the four expressions of redemption when the bnei Yisroel would later leave Egypt and begin their trek to the Holy Land. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 12, v. 4: "Va'yeilech Avrom kaasher di'ber eilov Hashem" - And Avrom went AS Hashem spoke to him - Medrash Hagodol applies the verse "Chashti v'lo hismahmohti lishmore mitzvosecho" (T'hilim 119:60), - I have been expeditious and have not tarried to guard Your precepts. It seems that Medrash Hagodol understands the word "kaasher" of our verse, not to be translated AS, but rather, AT THE TIME THAT. Avrohom did not have a lengthy farewell, but immediately set out on his way. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 16, v. 2: "Atzorani Hashem mi'le'des" - Hashem has held me back from giving birth - The gemara Y'vomos says that Hashem did not readily allow our Patriarchs to have children so that they pray to Him for children. The prayers of the righteous are very dear to Hashem. Perhaps Soroh was alluding to this. We find that Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says on "ba'yom hashmini atzerres" (Bmidbar 29:35 ), a day of congregating to pray to Hashem. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 16, v. 2: "Ulai ibo'neh mi'menoh" - Perhaps I will build from her - When Rochel offered Yaakov her maidservant Bilhoh she did not say "perhaps," but rather, confidently stated that she would build from Bilhoh, "V'ibo'neh gam onochi mi'menoh" (30:3).

1) Rochel clearly stated that when a child would be born to Bilhoh, she Rochel, would bring up the child, and this is considered as if the child was her own. Soroh had no intention of bringing up Hogor's child. She only hoped that through the merit of giving Hogor to Avrohom to procreate she would bear a child as well, but this result was in doubt, hence "ulai." (Haa'meik Dovor)

2) Soroh had some doubt about Hogor's righteousness and the resultant blessing of bearing a child, while Rochel was sure of Bilhoh's righteousness. (Shaa'rei Aharon)

3) Avrohom had never sired a child before, so Soroh was in doubt. Yaakov had already sired several children. (Shaa'rei Aharon)

Ch. 16, v. 2: "Ulai ibo'neh mi'menoh" - Perhaps I will build from her - This is Rashi's translation of "ibo'neh." Ibn Ezra sources this word from "ben," a son. Perhaps I will merit to bear a son by giving Hogor to you for procreation.

Ch. 16, v. 3: "Lo l'ishoh" - To him as a wife - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel writes that Soroh first gave her a writ of emancipation.

Haa'meik Dovor notes the seemingly superfluous word "lo." He explains that although Soroh freed Hogor, it was only in relation to allowing her to be an actual wife for Avrohom, but Soroh still retained Hogor as her maidservant, hence "lo." (This quasi-emancipation is a novel status.)

The Sforno in verse 6 clearly states that Hogor was still Soroh's maidservant.

Ch. 16, v. 4: "Va'yovo el Hogor vatahar" - And he came to Hogor and she conceived - Rashi (M.R. 45:4) says that she became pregnant through their first union. How do we derive this from these words? Wherever the verse tells us that someone had a union with a woman and that she conceived the verse ends with their union and the next verse tells of her pregnancy. Our verse relates this in one go without cantillation indicating a break. This teaches us that Hogor conceived immediately. We find the same when Yehudoh had relations with Tomor (38:18), where she also conceived from their first/only encounter. Rashi himself hints at this being the source of this point of information by introducing his comment with the lengthy "Va'yovo el Hogor vatahar," when it would have sufficed to only write the word "vatahar" of our verse. He does this to show from where this point of information is culled. (Rabbi Volf Hildesheimer)

Ch. 16, v. 8: "Ei mi'zeh vos v'onoh seileichi" - From where have you come and where are you going - These are not two straightforward questions, but rather, a strong admonition. Look at what you have done. You have left the presence and home of the holy Avrohom and have gone to defiled "chutz lo'oretz!" Hogor responded that she had no interest in leaving the pure environment, but simply had to run away and distance herself from Avrom's home because she was escaping the mistreatment of Soroh. (Sforno)

Ch. 16, v. 12: "Perre odom" - An unruly human - Unruly by virtue of his mother, and human by virtue of his father. (Sforno)

Ch. 16, v. 12: "Yodo vakole v'yad kole bo" - His hand in everyone and everyone's hand in him - "Yad" is translated as "bordering." His lands will be large and their borders will come in contact with those of many other people. This is "yodo vakole." "Yad kole bo" means that there will be border disputes everywhere. (Ponim Yofos)

Alternatively, "yodo vakole" means that he will have his hand in interfering with everyone's life. Although Yishmo'eil lives in the Arabian lands, his impact is felt everywhere through terrorism. "Yad kole bo" refers to everyone's need for his oil. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 17, v. 1: "Ve'h'yei somim" - And be complete - This does not mean that mankind was created physically imperfect. Rather, this is a spiritual, character completion. (Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim)

Ch. 17, v. 1: "Ve'h'yei somim" - And be complete - Just as a person who is missing an organ is considered blemished, so too, one who has an extra organ, such as a sixth finger, is also considered blemished. By removing the excess through the circumcision process Avrohom will change himself from a blemished person, a "baal moom," to a "tomim," a complete person. (Rabbi Binyomin Diskin)

Ch. 17, v. 20: "UlYishmo'eil shmaticho" - And to Yishmo'eil I have heard you - Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer ch. #32 writes that this is a prophecy that Yishmo'eil will bring great anguish upon the bnei Yisroel and they will cry out to Hashem for help. "Shmaticho" is a promise that Hashem will hearken to their prayers. (See Eitz Hadaas Tov on T'hilim #124)

Ch. 17, v. 21: "V'es brisi okim eis Yitzchok" - And My covenant I shall establish with Yitzchok - The four letters of the word "OKIM," Alef-Kuf-Yud-Mem, are an acronym for "Asher Ki'deish Y'did Mi'be'ten," referring to Yitzchok. This is why these words are recited at the circumcision ritual. Rabbeinu Tam posits that "y'did" refers to Avrohom himself. "V'chok bisheiro som" refers to Yitzchok, and "V'tze'etzo'ov chosam b'ose bris kodesh" refers to Yaakov, as grandchildren are called "tze'etzo'im." Hence, according to Rabbeinu Tam all three Patriarchs are mentioned at a circumcision. (Abudraham)

Ch. 17, v. 26: "Nimol Avrohom vYishmo'eil bno" - Avrohom and his son Yishmo'eil were circumcised - Who was their Mohel? Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer says that it was Shem ben Noach. Ramban says that Avrohom was his own Mohel.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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