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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS LECH L'CHO 5774 BS"D

Ch. 12, v. 3: "Vaavorcho m'vorachecho umka'lelcho o'ore" - And I will bless your blessers and your curser I will curse - Hashem will bless those who will bless Avrohom even before they bestow their benediction. This is most advantageous. The blessing of a destitute person is limited, as it is based on his limited vision of what a blessing is. Conversely by the curse, Hashem will only bestow the curse after the person curses. This helps limit the actual curse. The worse position one is in gives him a stronger taste of bad and in turn, he can give a stronger curse. Before he receives a curse his vision of bad is also limited. (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 - Note that by the blessing the verse expresses itself in the plural form and by the curse in the singular form. Hashem told Avrohom that he would be blessed much more than cursed. (Luach Erez)

Ch. 12, v. 3: "O'ore" - I will curse - This word has a double Alef. The Torah contains words that have a double (in continuum) of every letter of the Alef-Beis except one. Our verse contains the double Alef. Please list words that contain every other letter (in the word itself and not the final letter of one word and the first letter of the next word). There is one letter does not have this doubling. There are numerous answers for some of the letters. A list will appear next week bl"n.

Ch. 12, v. 4: "Va'yeilech ito Lote v'Avrom ben chomeish shonim v'shivim shonoh b'tzeiso meiChoron" - And Lote accompanied him and Avrom was seventy-five years old when he left Choron - The Torah finds it important to point out Avrom's age when he left. This helps us understand what happens later. One example is that we find Avrohom risking his life to enter into the fray between the four and the five kings to rescue Lote. The Ramban in parshas Va'yeiro explains that he did this because Lote only went along with him because Avrohom had no children at the time and was already old. Lote wanted to be at his side in his old age. If not for this kindness, Lote would not have even been in Canaan and would not have been captured. The proper response for Avrohom was to lay his life on the line to save Lote. This is one of numerous examples of the behaviour of a "yoshor," and this is why this volume is called "sefer ha'y'shorim" in Yehoshua. (n.l.)

Alternatively, the verse is telling us that Avrom went only because Hashem told him to do so. Lote went along with him, but for a totally different reason. Avrom was already seventy-five years old and had no children. Lote went along with the hope of inheriting his uncle. (Likutei Bossor Likutei)

Ch. 12, v. 10: "Va'y'hi ro'ov ki cho'veid horo'ov" - And there was a hunger because the hunger was extreme - The seeming repetition can be explained as follows: Avrom had begun teaching Monotheism to some people who accepted it. Then the hunger came. We might think that Avrom left Canaan out of fear of retribution. He teaches a new theology and immediately there is a famine. The verse therefore spells out that he only left because of the famine and not for fear of being attacked by disgruntled adherers to his teachings. (Tiferes Y'honoson)

Ch. 12, v. 11: "Hinei noh yodati ki ishoh y'fas ma'reh ot" - Behold I have now become aware that you are an attractive woman - Commentators ask why Avrohom was not aware of this earlier. Another question that is asked is why Avrohom resorted to some level of subterfuge by asking Sorai to say that she was his sister. Why not be straightforward and rely on Hashem? Hashem created mankind with both physical and spiritual abilities. One can see something on the physical level and no more, or he can also see things spiritually. Avrohom in his single-minded pursuit of publicizing the existence of Hashem and how to serve him looked upon his wife as a powerfulpartner, "Soroh m'ga'yerres noshim." It was when he came close to Egypt, a most spiritually corrupt land that he first took note of her physical beauty. He realized that he had fallen from his previous lofty level. He therefore thought that he could no longer rely totally on his close spiritual connection with Hashem, and would now have to resort to down-to-earth physical strategies, such as having her say that she was his sister, to survive their upcoming challenge. (Machazeh Avrohom citing the Holy Ari z"l)

Ch. 14, v. 22: "Va'yomer Avrom harimosi yodi el Hashem" - And Avrom said I have raised my hand to Hashem - I have lifted my hand to Hashem, indicating that my victory was totally Hashem's doing. If so, all the spoils that I amassed came about by a miracle. I am prohibited from benefitting from a miracle. Secondly, if I do take anything you will take all attribution for yourself. Based on this explanation the question raised by the Chasam Sofer, "How was Avrom permitted to give the spoils to the king of S'dom. He would transgress the prohibition of 'V'lo sichoneim,' to not favour a non-ben Yisroel," is alleviated. Since Avrom would not have benefitted from the spoils he had no use for them and was allowed to give them to the king of S'dom. (Divrei Yoseif) This insight is most puzzling. We see that Avrom gave all living things, but took the chattel.

Ch. 15, v. 6: "V'he'e'min baShem " - And he had faith in Hashem - Avrohom not only had faith, but he also brought others to believe. This is why the word "v'he'emin" is in the causative form. (Luach Erez)

Ch. 15, v. 10: "V'es hatzipor lo vossor" - And the bird he did not divide - Our Rabbis comment: From this we derive that by a bird "oloh" offering we divide but not by a bird sin offering. This can be explained as follows: "Oloh" means elevated. When the nations of the world take note of an elevated ben Yisroel they divide, i.e. they separate him form the nation, saying that he is very wise, accomplished, but this is no indication of the bnei Yisroel as a whole. When a ben Yisroel sins, a "chatos," they do not divide, i.e. they do not say that this person is separate from the rest of the bnei Yisroel. Rather, they say that he is part and parcel of a nation of wrong-doers. (Yalkut Pninim)

Ch. 17, v. 18: "Lu Yishmo'eil yichyeh l'fo'necho" - Would but Yishmo'eil live in front of You - Rashi explains that Avrohom's prayer was that Yishmo'eil would live "b'yiros'cho," having fear of Hashem. Hashem responded that he would become a large nation, but there was no response to Avrohom's actual request. This is because "fear of Hashem" is up to the person. This is not granted, as it is a main purpose of being created. (Divrei Chaim)

Ch. 17, v. 20: "N'siim" - Princes - The word "n'siim" also means clouds. The common denominator is that just as clouds store up rain and then let them down upon the earth, which is of great benefit to the masses, so too, the leader amasses wealth and is supposed to dispense it to the masses in a beneficial manner. (Yalkut Eliezer)

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


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