CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS LECH L'CHO 5771 - BS"D
1) Ch. 12, v. 1: "Lech l'cho ...... el ho'oretz asher ar'eko" - Hashem did not advise Avrohom of his destination before the outset of his trip. Besides the obvious, that this was part of Avrohom's test, why did Hashem not disclose the destination?
Avrohom left his father Terach behind. What about his mother?
2) Ch. 12, v. 5: "Va'yikach Avrom ...... va'yeitzu lo'leches artzoh Canaan va'yovo'u artzoh Canoan" - Why mention that they left to go to the land of Canaan? Is it not sufficient to just say that they came to the land of Canaan?
3) Ch. 13, v. 8: "Al noh s'hi m'rivoh beini u'vei'necho …… ki anoshim achim anochnu" - Rashi (M.R. 41:6) says that "achim" means that they were identical in appearance. How is this a cogent reason for their argument to come to an end? If they were of different appearance from each other would it then be appropriate to continue bickering?
4) Ch. 13, v. 14: "VaShem omar el Avrom acha'rei hipo'reid Lote mei'IMO" - In 12:4 we find "Va'yei'lech ITO Lote," and yet shortly thereafter, "Va'yei'ro Hashem el Avrom va'yomer" (12:7). If as Rashi says, Hashem did not communicate with Avrom as long as he associated with Lote, how do we explain the words in 12:7?
5) Ch. 15, v. 9: "V'sor v'gozol" - Rashi translates these words as "tor u'ven yonoh." If so, how do we understand the last words of the next verse, "v'hatzipor lo vossor," in the singular form?
Rabbi Boruch Ber Liebowitz, Rosh Yeshivas Kamenitz, says that if Hashem mentioned the destination, then the command would be to go to the destination. The steps involved in walking there would only be a "hech'sher mitzvoh." Only because no destination was given, did Avrohom receive a reward for each step, as mentioned in Rashi on this verse.
The Rokei'ach says that Hashem purposely did not tell Avrohom his destination, since He told Avrohom to leave "beis ovicho," his father's home. Had Hashem told Avrohom that he was to travel to Eretz Canaan, Avrohom's father Terach would surely have wanted to come along. With an undisclosed destination Avrohom told his aging father that he might have to travel to the far end of the world, which would be beyond Terach's ability to do. As well, the Rokei'ach writes that his mother Amaslo'i (he mentions a different opinion that her name was Isro'i, see gemara B.B. 91a) also stayed behind with her husband.
The Holy Chofetz Chaim answers that the Torah says these extra words to show us a stark comparison with Avrohom's father Terach. He also set out on a trip to Canaan with his family. However, he did not have the fortitude to reach his goal, as is stated in 11:31, "Va'yeitzu itom mei'Ur Kasdim lo'leches artzoh Canaan va'yovo'u ad Choron va'yeishvu shom."
The Chasam Sofer asks this. He answers that once the shepherds of Avrom realized that Lote's shepherds would not comply with their requests to not graze in the fields belonging to others, they rightfully could have stopped reminding them that they should not steal. However, as is known from the gemara B.M. 87a, people did not show exterior signs of aging until the end of Avrohom's life. Thus when the owners of fields who saw Lote's shepherds allowing Lote's sheep to graze in their fields would meet Avrom, and thinking that he was Lote, as their appearance was identical, including the appearance of being of similar age, they would give Avrom a tongue lashing. This was an ongoing occurrence. This continual nuisance pushed Avrom into complaining to Lote. Thus their identical appearance pushed Avrom into arguing with Lote, and Avrom told him, "Let there not be ongoing quibbling between us BECAUSE we are of similar appearance."
Perhaps we can say that Avrom's affiliation with Lote in 12:4 was an ITO relationship. This means that they were together, but not united in mind and soul. This limited relationship was not an impediment to Hashem's communicating with Avrom. Later, this developed into an IMO relationship, united in purpose, (This nuance of difference is pointed out by the Riv"o Baal Tosfos in his commentary on Rashi Breishis 37:18, on the words "Va'yisnaklu OSO l'hamiso," where Rashi says, "K'mo ITO IMO, klomar EILOV." As well, much has been written about this in Sedrah Selections parshas Bolok 5758 in the name of the GR"A) as pointed out in our verse, "acha'rei hipo'reid Lote mei'IMO," that Lote left an IMO relationship.
This change took place when they returned to Eretz Yisroel from Egypt, as is written in 13:1, "Va'yaal Avrom miMitzrayim …… v'Lote IMO." At this point they were not only together in their travels and residence, but also emotionally close. Perhaps this was the result of Lote's cooperation in not revealing that Sorai was Avrom's wife (see Rashi on Breishis 19:29). It was only when they were in close association that Hashem separated Himself from Avrom.
The Ibn Ezra explains that "v'hatzipor" means the species (singular) called bird. However, Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer #28 and the lengthy "yotzros" for the shacharis service of the second day of Rosh Hashonoh which details Avrohom's ten trials, both translate "sor" as an OX, an Aramaic word, so the question is preempted. (n.l.)
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