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“While he was sitting at the entrance of the tent.” (18:1)

Rashi states that Avraham Avinu sat at the entrance of the tent in order to see an “oveir v’shav” – passersby, who might be going  “back  and  forth.”  Interestingly,  Rashi  bases  his exegesis on the Midrash which uses the word, “orchim,” guests, in contrast to the phrase which Rashi selects, “oveir v’shav.” Does Rashi suggest a specific reason for deviating from the Midrashic text? Horav Mordechai HaKohen, z.l., renders his words homiletically. “Oveir” is the root of “aveirah,” sin, and “shav” is the root of “teshuvah,” repentance. Inclusive in the mitzvah of hachnasas orchim, hospitality to wayfarers, which addresses their…

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“And G-d tested Avraham…and He said, ‘Please take your son…bring him up there as an offering.’” (22:1,2)

Akeidas Yitzchak, the Binding of Yitzchak, was Avraham Avinu’s tenth trial. It is considered the zenith of his devotion to   Hashem,  the  culmination   of   his  spiritual  journey, indicating his uncompromising conviction and faith. The first trial took place in Uhr Kasdim, when Avraham was thrown into a fiery furnace. Interestingly, the Torah does not mention this supreme act of self- sacrifice. The Torah, however, dedicates an entire parsha to telling the story of the Akeidah. Every generation of Avraham’s descendants conjure up the memory of Avraham’s and Yitzchak’s devotion, but nothing is even mentioned of Uhr Kasdim. Furthermore, at Uhr…

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“And she (Hagar) departed, and strayed in the desert of Be’er Sheva.” (21:14)

  The Torah should have said, “She departed to/towards the desert of Be’er Sheva and she strayed,” for she did not stray immediately upon her entry into the desert. The sentence reads that “she departed and strayed,” implying that she did not stray only in the concrete sense: she strayed from the truth immediately upon her departure. In his commentary, Rashi suggests that Hagar shirked off the yoke of belief, exchanging it for a life of nomadic belief, straying farther and farther from the truth. We have yet to understand Rashi’s reason for saying that “straying” here does not only…

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“And the men arose from there, and they gazed toward Sodom.” (18:16)

  The Torah seems to place an emphasis upon the word “mishom,” from there, as if the place from which the men left had a special significance. Also,  Chazal teach us that the word, “vayashkifu,” and they gazed, has a negative connotation indicating the detriment of that which is being gazed upon. Why would “gazing” from Avraham’s home be the precursor of something bad? Sforno explains that in contrast to what they observed in Avraham Avinu’s home, the men viewed a negative picture from his home. Horav Sholom Shwadron, z.l., explains that the punishment one receives for transgression is commensurate…

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