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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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We are beginning Avrohom's odyssey of his ten tests. Why is his being ready to give up his life for belief in Hashem, being thrown into the fiery cauldron in Kasdim, and being miraculously saved, not mentioned in the Torah?

1) The Torah would then have to include his debate with Nimrod and tell us Nimrod's false blasphemy. (Ramban)

2) Since there was no command from Hashem to do so it is left out.

3) It is left for medrashim (Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer) to recount as stories about our patriarchs mentioned in the Torah have to fall into certain categories that are germane to their specific character traits. (See Haameik Dovor and Harcheiv Dovor on 12:17)

4) It never happened. (See Ibn Ezra in parshas Vayigash by the 70 people who descended to Egypt)

Ch. 12, v. 2: "Ve'he'yei brochoh" - And you will be a blessing - Rashi says that although in the first blessing of the "amidoh' all three patriarchs are mentioned, nevertheless, when we end the blessing we only mention Avrohom, "B'cho chosmin."

Our three patriarchs represent the totality of the bnei Yisroel in all generations. They represent the three pillars upon which the world stands, Torah, avodoh, g'milus chasodim (Pirkei Ovos 1:2).

Avrohom was the only patriarch who was, so to say, a baal teshuvoh, as he was raised by an irreligious father. This is "b'cho chosmin." At the end of days when this world is completed, it is the trait of Avrohom that will be most predominant, as recent history attests, with the flocking of large numbers of baalei teshuvoh to Torah-true living. (Rabbi Shimon Yehudoh haKohein Shkop)

Ch. 12, v. 3: "Umka'lelcho o'or" - And your curser I will curse - Why the change from "kloloh" to "orur?" As well, since there will be some who curse Avrohom how can our verse then go on to say, "V'niv'r'chu v'cho KOLE mish'p'chos ho'adomoh" since some will curse Avrohom?

The choice of the word "o'ore" alludes to Hashem's response. Since Avrohom was so good and so kind, why would anyone want to curse him? Obviously it is because he is not clued in to whom Avrohom really is. "O'ore" can be sourced from "ore," light. Hashem will enlighten them and they will regret their having cursed Avrohom and then they will also use Avrohom as a source for blessing their own families. (Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchov)

Ch. 12, v. 4: "Va'yeilech Avrom va'yeilech ito Lote v'Avrom ben chomeish v'shivim shonoh b'tzeiso meiChoron" -And Avrom went and Lote went with him and Avrom was seventy-five years old when he left Choron - Why doesn't the verse deal with Avrom in total and then with Lote, "Va'yeilech Avrom v'hu ben chomeish v'shivim shonoh b'tzeiso meiChoron," and then add on that Lote went with him, rather than jumping back and forth? Secondly, why is Avrom's age mentioned?

These words as they are positioned teach us that Lote went along with Avrom only because Avrom was getting on in years and Lote hoped to inherit his vast holdings. (Eshkol Anovim)

Ch. 12, v. 18,19: "Lomoh lo higadto li ki ish't'cho hee, Lomoh omarto achosi hee" - Why didn't you not tell me that she is your wife, Why did you say she is my sister - What were Paroh's two complaints? He complained that Avrom should have told him that she is a married woman, his wife. Even if Avrom were to fear that Paroh would kill him and take Sorai, had Avrom not said that she was his sister then Paroh wouldn't take her. He was a king and wouldn't take just any woman as a wife. Since Avrohom was a stately, prestigious person, if Sorai was his sister, then Paroh would take her as a wife. Avrohom exacerbated the situation by adding on that she was his sister. (Aperion)

Ch. 13, v. 8: "Al noh s'hi m'rivoh beini uveincho ki anoshim achim anachnu" - Please let there not be discord between us because we are brothers - If they were not relatives would Avrom be happy with their not living in peace one with the other?

Arguments between relatives are much more painful.

Ch. 13, v. 16: "V'samti es zaracho kaafar ho'oretz" - And I will place your descendants as the sand of the earth - In which way is this fulfilled? The nations trod upon us as one trods upon the earth. However, the sand of the earth outlasts the trodders and even covers them over. (Rambam in Igeres Teimon)

Ch. 15, v. 5: "Va'yotzei oso hachutzoh" - And He took him outside - Rashi's third explanation is that Hashem took Avrom and lifted him above the skies. Some say that Rashi says this to accommodate the word "habet," which means to view from above. The Rambam in hilchos dei'os writes that there are over 1,800 stars in the sky. Obviously in his days there was a limit to how many stars could be seen. All the more so if Avrom would view just a swath of the sky. Thus the blessing that his descendants would be as many as the stars of the sky would be a paltry blessing. This is why Hashem lifted him up above the skies, giving him a "planetarium" view of billions upon billions stars. (n.l.)

Ch. 16, v. 12: "Yodo bakole v'yad kole bo" - His hand will be in everything and the hand of all will be in him - Yishmoel would stake a claim of being the main heir of Avrohom, who was blessed with "bakole." However, in the end of days he will be overpowered by the children of Yaakov, who was blessed with "kole." (Yalkut Hadrush)

Ch. 16, v. 13: "Vatikra shem Hashem hadoveir eilehoh atoh Keil ro'i" - And she called the name of (the agent of) Hashem you are the Master of what I envision - Why did Hogor add the word "atoh" given that she was addressing the angel? Why did she respond with praise to this fourth angel and not to any of the previous three?

Although not relevant today, in earlier days, as the gemara Megiloh 3a explains, demons were common either at night or even by day in generally uninhabited areas, such as forlorn fields and deserts. Our sages advised that when one meets a person under such circumstances he should be very vigilant and not automatically assume that it is a person.

The gemara there asks why Yehoshua immediately responded to an individual who came upon him. The gemara answers that this individual spoke first and mentioned Hashem's Holy Name. We can rest assured that a being that utters Hashem's Holy Name is not a destructive demon.

The first three angels whom Hogor met did not mention Hashem's Name and she in turn was very curt with them. This fourth angel said, "Ki shoma Hashem el onyeich" soshe knew it was not a demon. She therefore stressed, "ATOH Keil ro'i," YOU, to the exclusion of the previous three, can I safely say is Hashem's messenger to me. (P'ninim Y'korim)

Ch. 17, v. 15: "Ki Soroh shmoh" - As Soroh is her name - We now have a name change for both Avrohom and Soroh. Until now they were unable to reproduce. Having a letter Hei in a name is a powerful influence to bear children, as is alluded to in the words, "HEI lochem zora." Similarly, Rochel was barren and upon her offering Yitzchok her maidservant Bilhoh she then bore children, "borrowing" a letter Hei from Bilhoh.

Ch. 17, v. 27: "Umiknas kesef mei'eis bnei neichor" - And purchased with money from a foreigner - Why does he verse find it necessary to mention "mei'eis bnei neichor?" There was no one outside of Avrohom's family who wasn't a "ben neichor?" If you were to answer that there were his students whom he taught to believe in Hashem, why would their slaves be excluded from circumcision once they belonged to Avrohom?



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

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