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“On the third day, Avraham raised his eyes and perceived the place from afar. And Avraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here by yourselves with the donkey.'” (22:4,5)

Chazal tell us that when Avraham approached the mountain, he saw a cloud hovering over it. He immediately recognized this as a signal of Hashem’s Presence. He asked Yitzchak, “My son, do you see what I see?” “Yes, Father,” he responded. This served as an indication that Yitzchak had achieved the degree of spiritual perception making him worthy to serve as a korban. Avraham subsequently turned to his two young men and questioned them concerning what they had seen. Their response was negative. They saw nothing. Hence, Avraham told them, “The donkey sees nothing ,and you see nothing. Stay here…

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“And Hashem said, “Because the outcry of Sodom and Amorah has become great and because their sin has been very grave.” (18:20)

The sin of Sodom is viewed as the standard of evil. The people exemplify iniquity in its most depraved form. The manner in which the Sodomite acted represents a character trait which Chazal term as middas Sodom; it has its own unique element of evil. Let us focus on their sin and attempt to come to terms with the question, “What was so terrible about the sins of Sodom that has rendered its citizens the eternal symbols of corruption?” The Navi Yechezkel says, regarding the sin of Sodom (Yechezkel 16:49), “Behold this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom; she…

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

This pasuk expresses the reason that Hashem “loved” Avraham, as well as suggesting the probable reason that Hashem chose Avraham to become the first Patriarch. Avraham did what a father is supposed to do. He taught his children, conveying to them the heritage as he received it — without adding his personal agenda. One’s real perspective on life is reflected in what he teaches his children. Avraham transmitted his monotheistic values, his belief in Hashem, exemplified by his unique chesed, kindness, to his children — all to be handed down throughout the generations. Avraham Avinu was also the first gadol,…

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“And Sarah laughed at herself saying, ‘After I have withered shall I again have delicate skin? And my husband is old!’ And Hashem said to Avraham, ‘Why is it that Sarah laughed?'” (18:12,13)

Why did Hashem question Avraham concerning Sarah’s behavior? Why did Hashem not speak directly to Sarah? Indeed, her level of prophecy was even higher than that of Avraham. One would assume that if Sarah had laughed, she should have to answer for it herself; not through her husband as the intermediary. Kehillas Yitzchak cites Horav Yisrael Salanter, zl, who clarifies this issue with an analogy. If one were to enter the kitchen of someone’s home and find that the maid or cook is not particular about the laws of kashrus, he would conclude that the master of the house himself…

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