by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS LECH L'CHO 5772 BS"D
Ch. 12, v. 1: "Lech l'cho" - Go for yourself - Rashi comments, "L'haanos'cho ultovos'cho," for your pleasure and for your benefit. There are many things that bring a person pleasure, but at the same time they might not be beneficial. Sometimes they are even detrimental. Rashi is commenting here that Avrohom was promised that it would be both pleasurable and beneficial. (Likutei Bossor Likutei)
Ch. 12, v. 1: "Lech l'cho mei'artz'cho umimolad't'cho umi'beis ovicho" - Go for your benefit from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's home - From a geographic point of view these places should be reversed, starting from his father's home, etc. However, if the intention of these words is that Avrohom is being told to forsake his previous life and forget it, then the order is well understood. (Shaar Bas Rabim)
Ch. 12, v. 3: "Vaavorcho m'vorachecho umka'lelcho o'ore" - And I will bless your blesserS and your curser I will curse - By the blessing we find a plural form, numerous blessers, and by the curse we find it in singular. This is well understood in light of Hashem's response. He says that He will bless the blesserS. When people see that he who blessed Avrohom receives bountiful reward, he will emulate him and also bless Avrohom, hence the plural. However, when someone will curse Avrohom and be repaid in kind people will see the terrible results and refrain from cursing, hence we remain with a single curser. (Meshech Chochmoh)
What will be the response to one who does not bless nor curse Avrohom? The end of the verse says that he will be blessed through Avrohom, "V'niv'r'chu v'cho kol Mishkon'p'chos ho'adomoh." The one who does bless Avrohom has the added advantage that he will be blessed directly from Hashem. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
Ch. 12, v. 4: "Va'yeilech Avrom kaasher di'beir eilov Hashem" - And Avrom went just as Hashem had spoken to him - The Ksav sofer translates "kaasher" differently. Avrom went "just when" Hashem had spoken t him. Notwithstanding having lived in his homeland all his years, he did not hesitate and immediately acted.
Ch. 12, v. 13: "Imri na achosi at l'maan yeetav li baavu'reich v'choysoh nafshi biglo'leich" - Please say that you are my sister so that by your virtue it will be good for me and on your account my soul will remain alive - The verse in Mishlei 15:27 says, "Sonei matonos yichyeh," - one who abhors presents will live. If so, why would Avrohom want presents? We see earlier that he even turned down an offer of an unsolicited present from the king of S'dom. Another obvious difficulty is that if they were to give him presents it preempts any thoughts of their killing him, as why would they give him presents and then kill him. If so, why did he add this as another benefit since it is self-understood?
Another difficulty is that since he was concerned for his life considerations of receiving presents seem insignificant. When Avrohom requested that his wife state that she is his sister what was his intention? If he wanted her to announce this before being asked what their relationship was, then it would be highly suspicious. No one had as of yet asked either of them anything and she would announce to person after person that they are brother and sister. People would wonder and likely conclude that it was a ploy to keep them from killing him, as he was truly her husband. Then his life would be in grave danger. If they would wait until they are asked there would be the fear that people would assume that they are husband and wife with no questions asked, and again his life would be in danger. He therefore suggested to her that she announce before being asked their relationship that she is his sister and that she would implore that he should be given donations to keep body and soul together, so destitute is he. This would result in their believing her and not rousing any suspicions. This in turn would result in his life being saved. Thus all the above-mentioned questions are beautifully resolved. (Divrei Avrohom)
Ch. 15, v. 8: "Ba'meh eida ki iroshenoh" - Through what will I know that I will inherit it - Rashi offers two explanations of these words. Either Avrohom was asking for a sign to indicate that he would inherit the land, or he asked in which merit he would inherit the land. The gemara N'dorim 32 and the Yalkut here say that because Avrohom asked for a sign it indicated that he was not totally assured that it would really happen, and in turn his descendants would suffer the hardship of going to a foreign land and being enslaved there for four-hundred years. Since Rashi says that we can interpret Avrohom's words to mean that he asked what merit he had, he did not lack in his belief in the slightest. If so, why would his descendants suffer for this? We must say that by virtue of the fact that he expressed himself in a manner that even allows for the negative interpretation there was a punishment. He should have been explicit in his words, as per the words of Pirkei Ovos, "Chachomim hizoharu v'divreichem."
Based on this we can understand the interpretation of our Rabbis on the words in Shmos 11:2, "Da'beir noh b'oznei ho'om," - PLEASE speak to the nation and ask them to ask the Egyptians for siver, gold, and clothing. Hashem is telling Moshe to beseech the nation to cooperate, lest Avrohom say that the prophecy of their being in a foreign land was fulfilled, but their leaving with great riches was not. This too is open to interpretation. Great riches can readily mean great spiritual levels, which they would indeed have through seeing further plagues and the parting of yam suf. However, there is also the simple meaning of physical riches. Avrohom justifiably has this claim because his descendants suffered exile and slavery because he said something that was open to more than one interpretation, including a negative one. In turn the promise that they would leave with great riches should also be fulfilled in both manners of understanding "great riches." (Yalkut haGeirshuni)
Ch. 16, v. 1: "Ushmoh Hogor" - And her name is Hogor - The Chizkuni says that the source for her name is that when Paroh gave Soroh his daughter he said to her, "My daughter is your reward, - agreich," hence the name Hogor.
Ch. 16, v. 9: "Shuvi el gvirteich v'hisani tachas yo'dehoh" - Return to your mistress and endure under her hands - Hogor was commanded to return and accept the dominion and mastery of her mistress. This is an allusion to the historical fact that Hogor's will not experience total emancipation. Her descendants will be subordinate to Soroh's descendants for all generations. (Ramban)
Ch. 17, v. 20: "Shneim ossor n'siim yolid" - He will sire twelve leaders - "N'siim" can be translated as "clouds" as we find, "N'siim v'ruach v'geshem ayin" (Mishlei 25:14). What is the common denominator between clouds and leaders? Clouds are made of water that is in a mist form. When there is condensation rain falls and the cloud dissipates. This is what a true leader should be. He is given a position that allows for him to amass things that are beneficial for the general populace. His responsibility is to dispense these goods to the public, just as a cloud does not keep the moisture for itself, but rather, rains it down. (Yalkut Eliezer)
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