Torah Teaser – Parshat Vayeira Questions & Answers – November 17 2116-5777

Did Avrohom Bring Yitzchok For a Korban? We all understand Akeidas Yitzchok to be a test for Avrohom that was called off at the last moment. Rav Elyashiv says that this understanding falls short of the Mesiras Nefesh of the Akeida. He explains that the Akeida actually happened. “True,” he says, “Yitzchok’s neck was not cut, however, he already forfeited his life and the Mesiras Nefesh was complete. It is like a lost object after all hope is lost. It no longer belongs to the owner even if it is completely intact.” Rav Elyashiv proves this delicate point from the words of the pasuk (Vayeira 22:16) where the Malach tells Avrohom that he will be blessed, “Yaan Asher Asisa Es HaDavar HaZeh,” because you “did” the Akeida and not because you were “ready” to do it. Also, it says that Avrohom lifted his head and saw, ‘Ayil Acher Neechaz BaSvach; Another ram in the bushes.” Rav Elyashiv says that this means in addition to his son whom he just slaughtered. “Therefore,” says Rav Elyashiv,”when Yitzchok left the Akeida he was no longer the old Yitzchok, rather he was a newborn person.” Rav Elyashiv proves this from the words of the Malach who tells Avrohom, “Al Tishlach Yadcha El HaNaar; Do not touch the child.” In this case we see the Malach did not call him Yitzchok, but opted for the word child as he was newly reborn and had no name yet.
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The Daughters of the Tzaddik of Sidom Immediately after the destruction of Sidom the Torah tells us the the story of how Lot’s daughters got him drunk and had children with him. The Chasam Sofer says that the Torah does this to give us a taste of the immorality of the people of Sidom. For those who may feel that the punishment of the people of Sidom was too harsh, the Torah shows us what terribly immoral acts Lot and his daughters, who were the “tzaddikim” of Sidom, were capable of plotting. We can only imagine what the Reshaim of Sidom were capable of.
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The Daughters of the Tzaddik of Sidom Immediately after the destruction of Sidom the Torah tells us the the story of how Lot’s daughters got him drunk and had children with him. The Chasam Sofer says that the Torah does this to give us a taste of the immorality of the people of Sidom. For those who may feel that the punishment of the people of Sidom was too harsh, the Torah shows us what terribly immoral acts Lot and his daughters, who were the “tzaddikim” of Sidom, were capable of plotting. We can only imagine what the Reshaim of Sidom were capable of.
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The Greatness of Avrohom’s Chesed We are taught that Avrohom was the epitome of Chesed. Yet the stories in the Torah about him are rather few and far between. The highlight is how he ran out to fetch guests on a hot day while he was recovering from his Bris. The Mashgiach Rav Gedalia Eiseman zt”l asks what is so super special about this story. Sure it was a great act of Chesed but wherein lies the greatness? ? After Avrohom runs out to bring in the three travelers he makes his pitch for them to come to his house to eat and rest. Their response to him is “Vayoimru Kein Taaseh Kaasher Dibarta” (Vayeira 18:5), Yes, you will do as you offered. What did the Malachim mean by this? Rav Gedalia explains that when we do Chesed we feel very good about ourselves and we often over extend ourselves in an effort to please our beneficiaries. But all this usually comes with one condition, we are the generous giver and they are appreciative recipient. As soon as the recipient begins to demand, the Chesed becomes less appealing to us and we let them know subtly or not so subtly who the boss is. Not so was Avrohom. He offered the Malachim a little bread and rest. They crudely responded that Avrohom should doas he offered. Yet instead of getting turned off by their response, Avrohom did the opposite. “Vayimaher” he ran to serve them and gave them far more than he promised! That is the epitome of Chesed for Chesed sake and not kindness as a way of making ourselves feel good and mighty to those who need us.

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