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ויזכר אלקים את אברהם וישלח את לוט מתוך ההפיכה

Hashem remembered Avraham; so He sent Lot from amidst the upheaval. (19:29)

Avraham Avinu was a baal chesed, master of kindness. Indeed, the Torah goes to great lengths in describing his devotion to the wayfarer, and how he exerted himself to make sure that whoever came into his home had a pleasureful and satisfying experience. Lot, Avraham’s nephew, also acted with chesed. He moved to Sodom and became a distinguished member of this ignominious community. He moved there because he was into money and everything one can achieve with material bounty. He did, however, retain some of the good qualities that he learned under the influence of his uncle. When the Angels…

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כי ידעתיו למען אשר יצוה את בניו ואת ביתו אחריו

For I have loved him because he commands his children and his household after him. (18:19)

Chinuch ha’banim, educating our children, inculcating them with the moral/ethical values of our Torah expounded by Chazal, is the primary role with which parents are charged. Hashem says that He loves Avraham Avinu because he places education uppermost in his mind. Everything that Avraham did contained an educational aspect. He lived to serve Hashem. We can perform no greater service to the Almighty than one which imbues others and brings them closer to serving Hashem. We can derive a number of lessons from this pasuk. First, one is not included under the rubric of a yarei Hashem, G-d-fearing Jew, unless…

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וישא עיניו וירא והנה שלשה אנשים נצבים עליו

He lifted his eyes and saw: And behold! Three men were standing over him. (18:2)

If Lot had learned one thing from his uncle, Avraham Avinu, it was to adhere meticulously to the mitzvah of hachnosas orchim, hospitality to wayfarers – and anyone in need of a bed or a meal. Hachnosas orchim is just one of the many activities that fall under the rubric of chesed. Avraham was the amud ha’chesed, pillar of loving-kindness. Avraham devoted himself to it to the point of self-sacrifice. Chesed also gave him the opportunity to reach out to the pagan world spiritually and to teach the pagans about Hashem. Chazal laud Avraham for his extraordinary dedication to serving…

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ויהי אחר הדברים האלה והאלקים נסה את אברהם

And it happened after these things that Hashem tested Avraham. (22:1)

Our Patriarch, Avraham Avinu, had been tested ten times by Hashem as a means of confirming his commitment and as a vehicle for proclaiming to the world his abiding devotion to Hashem. Hashem was now asking him to sacrifice his only son, whom he loved with a love that went beyond words. Actually, Avraham had already proven his commitment to Hashem, when he relinquished his life as he was prepared to die in the fiery cauldron of Uhr Kasdim. How often did Avraham have to prove his willingness to sacrifice on behalf of Hashem? Mesiras nefesh, self-sacrifice, is a spiritual…

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ותאמר לאברהם גרש האמה הזאת ואת בנה כי לא יירש בן האמה הזאת עם בני עם יצחק

So she said to Avraham, “Drive out this slavewoman with her son, for the son of that slavewoman shall not inherit with my son, with Yitzchak!” (21:10)

The Chazon Ish, zl, teaches that distancing a boy from yeshivah, sending him away, is a dinei nefashos, life and death, issue. A yeshivah that sends a student away due to its inability to deal with him is similar to a hospital who refuses to treat a patient whose illness is advanced. A maggid shiur in Yeshivas Porat Yosef approached Horav Yehudah Tzadaka, zl, Rosh Yeshivah, with a request that a certain student be asked to leave the yeshivah. Rav Tzadaka asked the rebbe, “Did you pray for him? Did you fast for him? First pray and fast for him…

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כי ידעתיו למען אשר יצוה את בניו ואת ביתו אחריו ושמרו דרך ד'

For I have loved him, because he commands his children and his household after him that they keep the way of Hashem. (18:19)

The literal translation of yedaativ (reference to knowledge) is, “I know him.” Understandably, when one loves and cares for someone, he seeks to bring him close and know him better. Hashem loved Avraham because he did not keep His teachings to himself. When one believes in something, he wants to shout it from the rooftops, to reach out to whomever he can, so that he can share these verities with him. Interestingly, Avraham Avinu performed many mitzvos for which he achieved singular distinction. In addition, he kept the entire Torah even prior to its being given to Klal Yisrael. Yet,…

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וישא עיניו וירא והנה שלשה אנשים נצבים עליו

He lifted his eyes and saw: And behold! Three men were standing over him. (18:2)

Rashi explains that it was necessary to send three angels in the image of men because an angel performs only one mission. Thus, one angel came to heal Avraham Avinu; the second came to inform Sarah Imeinu of the impending birth of her son; the third came to destroy Sodom. Raphael, the angel who healed Avraham, went on to Sodom to save Lot form the conflagration that would destroy the city. The question is obvious: If an angel performs only one mission (at a time), and Rapahel had gone on to destroy Sodom to save Lot, would it not have been…

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וירא אליו ד' באלני ממרא והוא ישב פתח האהל כחם היום

Hashem appeared to him in the plains of Mamre, while he was sitting at the entrance of the tent in the heat of the day. (18:1)

It was three days after Avraham Avinu’s bris milah, circumcision. The third day is the most painful. Yet, our Patriarch was sitting at the entrance of his tent during an unusually warm time of the day. Chazal teach that Hashem removed the sun from its protective casing in order to make it more powerful (and hotter), so that wayfarers would not travel. Thus, they would not inconvenience Avraham (by not creating an opportunity for him to serve them). When Hashem saw that Avraham was actually pained by not having the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvah of hachnosas orchim, welcoming guests,…

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ויהי אחר הדברים האלה והאלקים נסה את אברהם

And it happened after these things that Hashem tested Avraham. (22:1)

Our Patriarch, Avraham Avinu, had been tested ten times by Hashem as a means of confirming his commitment and as a vehicle for proclaiming to the world his abiding devotion to Hashem. Hashem was now asking him to sacrifice his only son, whom he loved with a love that went beyond words. Actually, Avraham had already proven his commitment to Hashem, when he relinquished his life as he was prepared to die in the fiery cauldron of Uhr Kasdim. How often did Avraham have to prove his willingness to sacrifice on behalf of Hashem? Mesiras nefesh, self-sacrifice, is a spiritual…

Continue Reading

ותאמר לאברהם גרש האמה הזאת ואת בנה כי לא יירש בן האמה הזאת עם בני עם יצחק

So she said to Avraham, “Drive out this slavewoman with her son, for the son of that slavewoman shall not inherit with my son, with Yitzchak!” (21:10)

The Chazon Ish, zl, teaches that distancing a boy from yeshivah, sending him away, is a dinei nefashos, life and death, issue. A yeshivah that sends a student away due to its inability to deal with him is similar to a hospital who refuses to treat a patient whose illness is advanced. A maggid shiur in Yeshivas Porat Yosef approached Horav Yehudah Tzadaka, zl, Rosh Yeshivah, with a request that a certain student be asked to leave the yeshivah. Rav Tzadaka asked the rebbe, “Did you pray for him? Did you fast for him? First pray and fast for him…

Continue Reading

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