Chayei Sarah 5782


The Guardian Angel[1]

ויאמר אברהם אל-עבדו זקן ביתו וגו’ ואשביעך וגו’ לא-תקח אשה לבני מבנות הכנעני וגו’ ויאמר אליו העבד אולי לא-תאבה האשה ללכת אחרי וגו’ ויאמר אליו אברהם וגו’ יקוק אלקי השמים וגו’ הוא ישלח מלאכו לפניך ולקחת אשה לבני משם
Avraham said to his servant, the elder of his household…I command you through an oath…do not take a wife for my son from the Canaanite women…The servant said to him: “Perhaps the woman will not want to go with me…” Avraham said to him: “…Hashem, the G-d of Heaven…will send His Angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there[2]

Avraham tasked his trusted servant Eliezer[3] to find a wife for his son Yitzchak. Avraham didn’t want Yitzchak to marry one of the local Canaanite women, so he sent Eliezer to Avraham’s homeland. Perhaps a distant relative would be better suited for his son. Eliezer was concerned his mission would prove unsuccessful, and expressed his doubts. Avraham responded that Hashem would send an Angel to help him on his mission. In the end, Eliezer successfully found a wife for Yitzchak. He met the family of Besuel and his wife, the latter being Avraham’s niece, and found that their daughter was a perfect match for Yitzchak[4]. Yet, we don’t see any mention of an Angel throughout his journey. Where was the Angel?

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Vayeira 5782


Precious time[1]

ותרא שרה את-בן-הגר המצרית אשר-ילדה לאברהם מצחק: ותאמר לאברהם גרש האמה הזאת ואת-בנה כי לא יירש בן-האמה הזאת עם-בני יצחק
Sarah saw the son of Hagar, the Egyptian, who [she] had born to Avraham, playing. [Sarah] said to Avraham: “Expel this maidservant and her son, for the son of this maidservant shall not inherit with my son Yitzchak”[2]

Reading a rudimentary translation of the Torah would yield quite a shocking result. Sarah sees Yishmael, the son of her maidservant Hagar and her husband Avraham, playing. Her response? Kick him out! How can Sarah be so harsh? She also says that Yishmael shall not inherit with Yitzchak. What does this have to do with his playing? This is why it’s so important to read the Torah in its original language.

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Lech Lecha 5782


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


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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