by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VAYEIRO 5773 BS"D
Ch. 18, v. 2: “Va’yar va’yorotz lokrosom” – And he saw and he ran towards them – It seems that they did not turn their backs towards Avrohom upon passing by, as then the verse would say he ran “acha’reihem.” These visitors were angels. They sensed the presence of Hashem, Who was being “m’va’keir cho’leh.” Upon leaving they did not turn their backs on the Divine Presence. (Rabbi Shimshon Ostrapolia)
Ch. 18, v. 10: “Ko’eis chayoh” – At this time of life – Rashi says that the angel who made this pronouncement made a mark on the wall and said that when the son reaches this line, meaning it casts a light at this level, it will be exactly a year later at the same time of day, and Soroh will give birth to a son. Since the sun’s cycle is 365¼ days, how is this possible? If it was a regular 355 or so day year or a full 385 or so day year the light will not come to that exact place? The angel factored this in and placed the mark accordingly.
Ch. 18, v. 32: “Ulai yimotzun shom asoroh” – Perhaps there will be found there ten – S’dom was not far from where Avrohom resided. Righteous people would surely seek out Avrohom and study under him. If so, why was he in doubt about the presence of ten righteous people?
The people of S’dom were so terribly wicked to the point that if they were aware of a righteous person in their midst, they would have either driven him out or worse. The righteous among them would surely take all measures to hide this for fear of their safety. Hashem knows all and this is what Avrohom pleaded. Perhaps there are ten hidden righteous people who only Hashem knows are present. (Shaar Bas Rabim)
Ch. 19, v. 26: “Vata’bet ishto mei’acharov vat’hi n’tziv melach” – And his wife looked behind him and she turned into a pillar of salt – Why doesn’t the verse say that she looked behind herself, “Mei’acha’rehoh?” Factually she did look behind herself. What the verse is conveying is the reason she felt it was proper to do so. If one is not very virtuous and totally separated from the wrongdoing of his community, by viewing the community’s downfall he can visually connect himself and suffer their fate too. Lote and his wife were not totally cleansed of S’dom’s negative behaviour.
She looked in a spiritual manner behind lote, i.e. noting that among his descendants there would be Rus, the Matriarch of the Messsianic kingly line. This made her feel safe to view the city’s downfall, but she was wrong. (Rabbi Shimshon Ostrapolia)
Ch. 21, v. 19: “Va’yifkach Elokim es ei’nehoh va’tei’re b’eir moyim” – And Elokim opened her eyes and she saw a wellspring of water – There was water there the whole time, just she assumed there would be no water anywhere nearby as they were in the desert.(Sforno)
Her one and only child was dying of thirst and she was not caring enough to even try to find water. She was also not sufficiently compassionate to comfort him in his final moments as she was uncomfortable in seeing him die.
Is it any wonder then that with such an uncaring mother who did not put in much effort to save his life, nor to comfort him in what would have been his last moments on earth, that she has spawned a tribe of people that has no respect for life, not even their own and absolutely no compassion for humans?
Ch. 21, v. 24: “Va’yomer Avrohom onochi isho’vei’a” – And Avrohom said I will swear – In the word “Ish’ovei’a” there is the prefix Alef, meaning “I.” what need was there for him to add “onochi?” Anyone can swear but it takes on no severity beyond saying that what he is saying is not a lie. However, Avrohom said that he would swear to ONOCHI, to the one Who created the world. Avimelech in verse 26 said, “V’gam onochi lo shomati bilti ha’yom.” This likewise means that he told Avrohom that it was just now that he first heard the concept of swearing to ONOCHI. (Sheima Shlomo Rabbi Shlom haLevi Karliner)
Ch. 21, v. 30: “Vayomer ki es sheva kvosos tikach mi’yodi baavur ti’h’yeh li l’eidoh ki chofarti es ha’beir hazose” – And he said rather take seven sheep from my hand so that it be for me a testimony that I dug this well – How would Avimelech’s accepting this gift prove anything let alone specifically that the well was Avrohom’s?
Avrohom said that as long as these seven sheep were in his possession when they came to the well the water rose and they readily drank. Now that they would come into the possession of Avimelech, when they would come to the well, not only would the water not rise, even if it was then drawn up in pails they would not drink as they would not partake of theft. This claim was tested and the results were exactly as Avrohom said. (M.R. as explained by Y’dei Moshe)
Ch. 22, v. 10: “Va’yishlach Avrohom es yodo va’yikach es hamaachelles lishchote es bno” – And Avrohom stretched out his hand and he took the knife to slaughter his son – The M.R. 56:8 says that when this took place tears streamed from Avrohom’s eyes and his heart delighting in fulfilling Hashem’s will. What information is this medrash conveying? It tells us to not mistakenly think that to do such a brutal act, contrary to parental instinct, Avrohom must have worked strongly on his emotions to the point that he went to the mitzvoh like a zombie, having deadened his feelings. To the contrary, he was still a loving father, tears streamed from his eyes, and he still was going to the mitzvoh with joy.
Ch. 22, v. 11: "Vayikra eilov malach Hashem" – And an angel of Hashem called out to him – Why didn’t Hashem, who had originally told him to slaughter his son, personally give the command to not do so?
In 18:10 we have the angel tell Avrohom that he would return “ko’eis chayoh,” at the time of life. The medrash says that this was 37 years later to keep Yitzchok from dying, by announcing that Avrohom should not slaughter him. He simply was allowed to keep his word.
Ch. 22, v. 13: “V’hinei ayil” – And behold a ram – Why was it necessary for Hashem to orchestrate the finding of a ram on site to be used in lieu of Yitzchok? Perhaps Avrohom, during the few days it took between the command and the time of slaughtering Yitzchok, went through an extremely powerful mental exercise of accepting Hashem’s decree, visualizing what life would be like without Yitzchok, and being ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for Hashem. Having accepted all this, he went stalwartly forward to fulfill the command of Hashem. Had there only been a last second reprieve of the command and no opportunity to place all this emotion into another offering to Hashem in Yitzchok’s place, it would have been too much emotionally for Avrohom to bear. (n.l.)
Ch. 22, v. 13: “A’yil achar ne’echaz basvach b’karnov” – A ram behind him/afterwards entangled in with its horns in the thicket – What is the intention of “achar?” Pikei Ovos 5:6 says that among the ten items created on the eve of Shabbos at sunset was the ram that Avrohom would offer in the place of Yitzchok. Thus all creatures were created earlier, save this ram (see Derech Chaim Mahara”l). Avrohom sensed that this was a unique ram, that it was “achar,” created later than any other creature, and felt it was here to be used as a replacement for his son.
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