by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YEIRO 5775 BS"DCh. 18, v. 3: "V'hi'nei shloshoh anoshim" - And behold three men - Each had a separate task to do. Although an angel is capable of doing numerous things, Hashem sends an angel to do only one thing. Why is this so? Rabbi Yaakov of Vienna writes that since Hashem has many angels He does not act as if He is on a tight budget, "ein aniyus bimkome ashirus."
Ch. 18, v. 3: "V'hi'nei shloshoh anoshim" - And behold three men - One's task was to destroy S'dome and its environs (Rashi). How can this be? The verse clearly says in parshas Nitzovim, "Asher hofach Hashem b'apo uvachamoso," that Hashem Himself did this. Rabbeinu Bachyei answers that "b'apo uvachamoso" is through the sending of an angel.
Ch. 18, v. 3: "V'hi'nei shloshoh anoshim" - And behold three men - Michoel came to herald in the news of Soroh's bearing a son, Refoel came to heal Avrohom, and Gavriel came to destroy S'dome. After healing Avrohom, Refoel went to save Lote from the destruction of S'dome. Why isn't this considered a second task for an angel in one dispatch? Had Lote been killed it would have had an adverse affect on Avrohom's health, so both acts are considered one.
Ch. 19, v. 1: "Va'yar Lote va'yokom likrosom" - And Lote saw and stood up in front of them - Why when the angels appeared to Avrohom does the verse say that he ran towards them and not here? The angels appeared to Avrohom by day and he saw them at a distance, hence he ran towards them. Here the angels came in the evening and Lote took no note of them until they were right in front of him, so there was no need to run towards them. (Rabbeinu Bachyei) We might make the same point, but not base it on the day/night difference. Avrohom was proactively looking for guests and thus saw them at a distance, while they appeared to Lote unexpectedly, and he only noticed them when they stood right in front of him. (n.l.)
Ch. 20, v. 11: "Ein yiras Elokim bamokome ha'zeh" - There is no fear of G-d in this place - Even though the nations of the world were circumspect when it came to adultery, as mentioned in Rashi in a few places, the people had no fear of Hashem, only fear of punishment. (Pri Tzadik)
Ch. 20, v. 13: "Va'y'hi kaasherhisu osi Elokim/elohim" - And it was when Hashem/false gods caused me to wander/attempted to lead me on a bad path - The gemara Yerushalmi Megiloh offers two opinions regarding the word Elokim/elohim. One is that it is holy and one is that it is secular. The flow of words in the verse would have to be understood in a manner that makes it flow properly.
Ch. 20, v. 17: "Va'yispa'leil Avrohom el hoElokim va'y'ra'pei Elokim es Avimelech" - And Avrohom prayed to G-d and G-d healed Avimelech - One of the nastiest things a person can do is take away someone's wife against his will. This happened to Avrohom, and nevertheless he prayed to Hashem to heal the perpetrator. This is quite a lesson for us to be forgiving and even caring for the welfare of someone who sinned grievously against us. (Medrash Hagodol)
Ch. 21, v. 20: "Va'y'hi ro'veh kashos" - And he was a bow shooter - In the war of 5638 between the Turks and the Russians, the Turks excelled at warfare by bow and arrow, while the Russians excelled at hand to hand combat with a sword. The Holy Chofetz Chaim explains that many of the Turks are descendants of Yishmoel, hence their power of shooting arrows, while the Russians descend from Eisov, who lives by the sword, "V'al char'b'cho tichyeh."
Ch. 21, v. 22: "Elokim itcho b'chol asher atoh o'seh" - Hashem is with you in all that you do - Everything that you do is done with the intention of fulfilling Hashem's wishes. (Toldos Yaakov Yoseif)
Ch. 21, v. 23: "K'chesed asher osisi imcho" - As the kindness I have done to you - Avimelech is telling Avrohom that just as he did not chase Avrohom away, correspondingly he asks Avrohom to swear to him to not chase away Avimelech or his descendants. He asked for this because he knew that Hashem promised Avrohom that his descendants would own and control Eretz Yisroel. (Rabbi Yoseif Bchor Shor)
Ch. 21, v. 25: "Asher gozlu avdei Avimelech" - That the servants of Avimelech stole - Avrohom criticized Avimelech, "V'hochiach Avrohom es Avimelech." Given that Avimelech was not the thief himself, why did Avrohom criticize him? He should have only reported the theft. This is likely in response to Avimelech's stating that there was no need for Avrohom to use a subterfuge to protect Soroh, as the laws of the country were upstanding and the people would never do anything wrong. On the coattails of this Avrohom criticized Avimelech, saying that he was living in dream land. A king has to be in touch with his people. (n.l.)
Ch. 21, v. 25: "Asher gozlu avdei Avimelech" - That the servants of Avimelech stole - Avrohom did not mention that he was the victim of the theft, only that they stole. (N'tzi"v)
In the light of the previous offering this is very well understood.
Ch. 21, v. 27: "Va'yikach Avrohom tzone uvokor" - And Avrohom took sheep and cattle - In verse 30 he gave Avimelech seven sheep. These of our verse were for the covenant they made and the sheep were a living testimony. The medrash says that Avrohom's descendants, the bnei Yisroel, were later punished for the giving of the seven sheep. Why was there no issue with the animals given in our verse? Avimelech had given Avrohom many gifts including sheep and cattle. Of these Avrohom gave back to Avimelech, but the seven sheep were Avrohom's and he should not have given them. (Mahari"l Diskin)
You might wonder, as I did, how are seven sheep a testimony? They die after a while. The Medrash Hagodol answers that they stipulated between them that these seven sheep not be integrated into Avimelech's flocks, and when one would die Avimelech should replace it with another sheep.
Ch. 21, v. 27: "Va'yich'r'su shneihem bris" - And both of them cut a covenant - Avrohom's making a covenant with Avimelech to secure some level of safety for his descendants in the area of Plishtim cost his descendants dearly. It was for this reason that the bnei Yisroel could not go through the direct way of the land Plishtim to Eretz Yisroel after the exodus from Egypt. (Rabbi Chaim Vi'tal in Eitz Hadaas Tov)
Ch. 21, v. 30: "Chofarti" - I have dug - What is the difference between "chafiroh" and "krioh?" The Rok'ei'ach explains that "chafiroh" is used for digging into earth that is soft.
Ch. 21, v. 33: "Eishel" - The three letters of this word are an acronym for "Achiloh, SH'sioh, Linoh." Avrohom rectified the sins of those who sinned in these realms. Odom, primary man, sinned by eating form a forbidden tree, Noach behaved improperly by drinking copious amounts of wine, and the people of S'dom sinned by not offering proper sleeping accommodations. (GR"A)
Ch. 22, v. 11: "Avrohom Avrohom" - There is a dividing "psik" between the two words. This is because there were two Avrohoms, one before the test of the "akeidoh" and one afterwards. The same is true where Yaakov and Shmuel were called twice. This is not the explanation by "Moshe Mosheh." (Holy Zohar)
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