Points to Ponder

Vayera 5777

Let a little water be taken please (18:4) – Rashi explains that this was done via an agent. Hashem repaid this process through an agent as well when Moshe hit the rock and the water came out. The author of the Bnei Shlomo assumes that this was some form of punishment and asks why Avraham was punished.  Why did he need to pour the water himself? He explains that had Hashem given the water directly instead of via a Shaliach, then Moshe would not have hit the rock and would have led Bnei Yisrael into the land. Ergo, then Hashem would not have been able to exile them which would’ve put us into tremendous jeopardy. Using the agent allowed Avraham to protect his children.  

Do I hide from Avraham that which I do (18:18) – Why does Hashem reveal to Avraham that he intends to destroy Sodom? Rav Schachter Shlita notes that the simple understanding of the possuk was whether it was right to hide it. However, the Midrash explains that the possuk can also mean “Is it possible to hide from Avraham”. Rav Schachter explained that in the same way that Avraham was able to understand the Torah by studying the world, he would also be able to figure out what the world plan of Hashem was. And even though the people of Sodom thwarted Avraham’s efforts of Kriyah B’shem Hashem, he needed to try to act on their behalves.

And they came to his house (19:2) – Rav Dovid Soloveitchik Shlita noted that when it came to the Hachnasas Orchim of Avraham, it does not mention that he brought the Malachim to his HOUSE. Yet, in regard to Lot, the fact that it was to his house is expressed a lot. Why? Rav Dovid Soloveitchik explained that when it came to the Hachnasas Orchim in Avraham’s house, each guest was made to feel as if he owned the place. Lot’s Hachnasas Orchim, although great, did not reach THIS level.

And he delayed (19:16) – Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita notes that the Trop here is a Shalsheles  and that there are 3 other times that this note appears in the Torah. In all 4 cases the Trop denotes an extension of the issue. Here, Lot delayed longer than necessary, Eliezer davened longer than necessary and Rivka was already on her way, Yosef refused strongly to close the door on the advances of the wife of Potiphar and the Shechita at the time of the Hakamas Hamishkan was more extensive than that of the Chatas and Asham because Moshe wanted to get enough Dam for the sprinkling that needed to be done.

The older daughter had a child whom she called Moav (19:37) – Moshiach comes from Moav which means he comes from a sin situation. Peretz too, comes from Tamar which was a questionable origin.  Rav Mordechai Gifter ztl. explained that this is not haphazard. Rather, Moshiach’s job is to fix the world and make it available to Malchus Hashem. Being able to recognize that mission because it is in his own blood makes his calling more complete (This idea was often expessed by Rav Chaim Yaakov Goldvicht ztl. too).

And he said “Avraham” and he answered “Here I am” (22:1) – For the commandment of the Akaida we find Hashem calling Avraham by name. Why this time?  Rav Kook ztl. explains that by calling a person by his name, Hashem is really calling the totality of the person on a deeper level and the person needs to be present and accounted for. Rav Sabato Shlita adds that by answering Heneni, the person is answering that s/he is present to answer and fulfill the will of Hashem in all cases and at all times.

The one you love, Yitzchak (22:2) – Rashi notes that Avraham reminded Hashem that he loved BOTH of his children. The trouble is, how much love could Avraham have, if he chased Yishmael out of his home? Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel ztl, Alter of Slobodka notes that Yishmael gained a tremendous amount from the distancing from Avraham. It led to the point where they were able to reunite together. Sometimes, the proper understand of love is knowing when to place distance. At the same time, Rabbi JJ Schacter would often note that while Avraham might have separated from Yishmael, the Midrash notes that he continued to check in and visit him in order to make sure he was ok.

Haftorah:   Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl Shlita explained that the Haftorah’s story of a woman who could not have children who was blessed with one only to lose him until a second miracle was needed is odd. Unless one realizes that when a child is born, especially as a result of a miracle, then his raison d’etra needs to be for Hashem’s will. This child was born but, as the Novi notes, he went to work in the fields. This was not the ideal for which he was brought into the world. Once his life was restored, he was returned to loftier work in life and the Zohar identifies him as the Jewish Novi Habakuk.