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“And Avraham returned to his young men.” (22:19)

The Midrash notes that Yitzchak’s name is not mentioned in the description of Avraham’s return. Chazal explain that Avraham dispatched Yitzchak to the Yeshivah of Shem and Ever to study Torah. He said, “All I have accomplished, all of the wonderful things that have occurred, are only the result of my endeavors in the area of Torah and mitzvos. I, therefore, want my son to devote his life to Torah, so that Torah will remain with my descendants.” The Midrash compares this to a woman who became wealthy as a result of a certain spindle she owned which made very…

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“And she (Sarah) said to Avraham, ‘Drive out the slave-woman with her son, for the son of that slave woman shall not inherit with my son, with Yitzchak …’ And Hashem said to Avraham, ‘Whatever Sarah tells you, heed her voice.” (21:10,12)

It seems unusual that a tzaddeikes such as Sarah Imeinu would be so “mercenary” as to fear Yishmael’s inheriting Avraham’s possessions. Undoubtedly, as Rashi states, she was concerned about Yishmael’s evil influence over Yitzchak. Nonetheless, what is the meaning of Sarah’s statement, “For the son of that slave-woman shall not inherit with my son”? Horav Elyakim Schlesinger, Shlita, explains that as long as Yitzchak and Yishmael’s relationship did not involve monetary dealings, Sarah did not fear any harmful persuasion from Yishmael. Once they would begin sharing an inheritance, however, this distinction would have slowly diminished.  Suddenly, Yitzchak would have been…

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“And they made their father (Lot) drink wine on that night and the first-born went in and lay with her father.” (19:33)

Rashi notes that regarding the younger sister, the Torah simply states, “And she lay with him, the younger (sister).” He explains that the younger sister did not initiate the immoral and forbidden act, but was rather “taught” by her older sister. The Torah, therefore, is lenient in not specifying her act. The repulsive act of the first-born sister, however, who also initiated it, is explicitly noted. The Talmud in Bava Kama 38b seems to imply the opposite of what Rashi is suggesting. The Talmud states that one should make mitzvah performance his greatest priority.  Since the older daughter preceded her…

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“He took cream and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and placed these before them.” (18:8)

Rashi explains that Avraham did not serve any bread, since Sarah had become a niddah, ritually unclean on that day. Therefore, her dough was considered to be tamei, unclean. The Talmud in Bava Metzia 87a states that Avraham Avinu was careful to eat chullin, unconsecrated food, only if it was ritually clean. Consequently, he would not give the bread that had become contaminated to his three guests.  We may question the approach which caused Avraham to be so exacting with his guests. After all, according to halacha one may eat chullin that is tamei.  Avraham Avinu had accepted upon himself…

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