CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON PARSHAS VA'YEIRO 5775 - BS"D
1) Ch. 18, v. 2: "Shloshoh anoshim" - Three men - Rashi says that one of these three angels was sent to heal Avrohom. The gemara B.B. 16b quotes Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who says that Avrohom had a special stone that he wore on a necklace, which brought healing to anyone who would look at it. If so, why didn't he simply look at the stone?
2) Ch. 18, v. 8: "Va'yikach chemoh v'cholov u'ven habokor" - And he took butter and milk and the young calf - The gemara Yoma 38b says that Avrohom fulfilled the commandments of the Torah even before it was given, and even "eiruvei tavshilin." The question raised on this is why "eiruvei tavshilin" is singled out from among all the mitzvos.
3) Ch. 18, v. 21: "Eirdoh noh v'er'eh" - I will now descend and I will see - Rashi derives from this that when a judge is involved in ruling a possible death penalty, he must see the facts himself. This is most puzzling, as a judge may accept the words of witnesses and does not have to be an eye-witness.
4) Ch. 19, v. 25: "Va'yahafoch es he'orim ho'eil" - And He overturned these cities - We know that Hashem destroyed these communities by raining down fire, sulfur, and salt. Why was it necessary to also plow these cities under?
5) Ch. 20, v. 15: "Hi'nei artzi l'fo'necho batov b'ei'necho sheiv" - Behold my land is available to you in the area that is best in your eyes reside - Contrast this appeasing offer with Paroh's abrupt send-off, "Hi'nei ish't'cho kach vo'leich"- Here is your wife take her and go (Breishis 12:19). Why the difference in behaviour?
On Breishis 21:17 Rashi says that the prayers of a sick person for his own healing are more readily accepted by Hashem than the prayers of another. The Baal Haturim asks from the gemara Brochos 5b, which says that one who is sick needs another to help him get better, just as one who is incarcerated needs an outsider to get him out of jail. The Baal Haturim answers by differentiating between prayers, where the ill person's prayers are more readily accepted over those of another, and a manner of healing that is supernatural, an "inyan s'guli." There, an outsider is needed. Since the healing provided through this special stone was "s'guli" it is well understood why Avrohom needed an outsider, in this case an angel, to heal him. (Ramas Shmuel)
I don't fully grasp this, as the stone did heal. The fact that Avrohom had it in his possession does not make it as if the stone and the ill person are considered one.
Chatzi Menasheh answers that "eiruvei tavshilin" does not mean what we usually call "eiruvei tavshilin," a ritual that allows for preparation of foods on the eve of Shabbos that is Yom Tov for Shabbos. Rather, it means that Avrohom was careful to not mix cooked foods, milk and meat. He first gave his guests dairy products, and only afterwards meat products.
The gemara Sanhedrin 81a says that when a person has committed two crimes, each deserving the death penalty, if there is a stricter death penalty, he is given the stricter one. Tosfos asks, "Since he was already judged for one of the crimes worthy of death how are the witnesses for the second crime accepted. He is already considered dead, so the second witnesses are testifying about a "dead man," and if the witnesses were found lying in the "eidim zom'mim" manner, they would not be liable for equal retribution. This disqualifies them." Tosfos answers that the crime for the second death penalty was witnessed by the judges themselves. This requires no testimony. The verse here, "ki kovdoh m'ode" indicates that they had numerous sins, and now it had reached the point of "very serious sinning." The consideration to respond with a devastating punishment for the heavier sins is akin to one who has two death penalties, one lighter and one stricter. To punish for the stricter of the two requires that the Judge Himself be an eye-witness. (Mogein Avrohom)
The Shem miShmuel in the name of his father, the Avnei Nezer, cites a M.R. which relates a conversation in heaven before this world was created. The question was if this world and mankind should be created. There was a pro and con debate. The attribute of kindness said that mankind should be created because people will do kindness one with another. Since the cardinal sin of these communities was not doing acts of kindness, it was not enough to destroy them, they also had to be overturned, a symbol of total negation of their existence.
1) Mitzrayim was a land with the lowest of morals and Soroh was in real danger. (Rashi)
2) Avimelech had a beautiful wife, and just wanted to add Soroh to his collection. Even if Avrohom were to remain, Avimelech had a glamorous wife. Paroh was single. The presence of Avrohom with his beautiful wife while the king was single would be a great embarrassment. (Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid in the name of his father)
3) The incident with Avimelech took place in G'ror, part of Eretz Yisroel. Avrohom surely wanted to remain in Eretz Yisroel, so Avimelech offered Avrohom to live in G'ror. It was obvious to Paroh that Avrohom would not want to remain in Egypt. (Rabbeinu Nisim)
4) Paroh's telling Avrohom to leave immediately would be a forerunner for Paroh and his nation's rushing the bnei Yisroel out of Egypt, (Va'techezak Mitzrayim al ho'om l'ma'heir l'shalchom min ho'oretz" (Shmos 12:33). (Rabbeinu Tovioh)
5) Avimelech was a "chosid umose ho'olom" and wanted a righteous person to reside in his land. (Rabbeinu Tovioh)
6) Avimelech feared that the angel who appeared to him in his dream was the one who destroyed S'dom. He feared the same would happen to G'ror. He therefore wanted the merit of Avrohom to protect his land. (Toldos Yitzchok)
7) Avimelech was more refined than Paroh. He went to lengths to show that he had not defiled Soroh. If a king had a union with a woman, she would no longer be allowed to have relations with any other man, as this would be disrespectful to the king. Avimelech wanted to clearly demonstrate that he had not even touched Soroh. He therefore requested that Avrohom and Soroh remain in the land as husband and wife, and thus totally cleanse him of any negative innuendo. (Abarbanel)
8) Paroh suffered more severely from the skin affliction than did Avimelech, so he wanted to rid himself of Avrohom. (Tur)
9) Avimelech wanted to clear his country of the scourge, "Rak ein yiras Elokim bamokome ha'zeh" (verse 11). By encouraging Avrohom to stay on he was telling Avrohom that both he and his wife would be safe in this land and that indeed there is "yiras Elokim bamokome ha'zeh." (Rabbeinu Shlomo Ashtruk)
A GUTTEN SHABBOS KODESH. FEEL FREE TO DISTRIBUTE BY COPY OR ELECTRONICALLY.
FEEDBACK IS APPRECIATED. TO SUBSCRIBE, KINDLY SEND REQUEST TO: SHOLOM613@ROGERS.COM
See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh
V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights