Lech Lecha 5782

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Misplaced priorities[1]

ויקחו את-לוט ואת-רכשו בן-אחי אברם וילכו והוא ישב בסדם: וישב את כל-הרכש וגם את-לוט אחיו ורכשו השיב וגם את-הנשים ואת-העם
They captured Lot and his possessions, the nephew of Avram, and he [had been] dwelling in Sedom. [Avraham] rescued all the property, and he rescued Lot his nephew and his property, and the women and the people[2]

The Torah describes[3] what is likely the first world war. It was a war of four kings against five kings. Avraham’s nephew Lot got caught in the rampage. As the enemy captured the city of Sedom and all of its inhabitants, Lot and his family were kidnapped. All of his property was seized as spoils of war. When Avraham heard what had happened to his kin, he gathered his troops[4] with the intent to fight. Avraham and his measly army managed to defeat the enemy and rescue the captives. Lot was a free man and regained his stolen property.

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Noach 5782

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Noach in a fur coat[1]

אלא תולדת נח נח איש צדיק תמים היה בדרתיו את-האלקים התהלך-נח
These are the chronicles of Noach. Noach was a perfectly righteous individual in his generations[2]; Noach walked with Hashem[3]

One of the more famous comments by Rashi is at the beginning of parshas Noach. He is bothered[4] by the Torah’s qualification that Noach was perfectly righteous in his generations. What is the message being conveyed? He says that some understand it to be in his praise. Noach was so righteous in such a wicked generation. Just imagine how great he would have been had he lived amongst a generation of other righteous individuals! Others say that it’s stated to his detriment. He was only righteous because of the generation that he found himself in. Had he been in the generation of Avraham, Noach wouldn’t have been considered so special.

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