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כי עתה ידעתי כי ירא אלקים אתה

For I know that you are a G-d-fearing man. (22:12)

This was the tenth test, following after nine tests which all had successful outcomes. Yet, only now, after the Akeidas Yitzchak, did Hashem ratify Avraham Avinu’s commitment as a yarei Shomayim, G-d-fearing. If this is the case, what is the meaning of yerei Elokim, G-d-fearing? Does committing to the Akeidah manifest a greater sense of fearing G-d than walking into a fiery cauldron? Horav Nachum Breslover, zl, teaches that one who does not possess an azus d’kedushah, a sense of resolute holiness, who is undaunted by those who stand in the way of his observance, who can transcend the taunts…

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קח נא את בנך את יחידך אשר אהבת את יצחק

Please take your son, your only one, whom you love, Yitzchak. (22:2)

In the preface to his commentary to Meseches Shabbos, Minchas Asher, Horav Asher Weiss, Shlita, writes that in the above pasuk, Hashem is spelling out to Avraham Avinu the principals upon – and manner in which – the Akeidas Yitzchak should be executed. He focuses on what many of us conceive as being the state of mind that permeated the two giants who took part in the Akeidah. Avraham and Yitzchak must have been on such an incredibly lofty spiritual plane, completely divested of any physical, mundane emotions which would have run contrary to Hashem’s command to them. Throughout the…

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ויזכר אלקים את אברהם וישלח את לוט מתוך ההפכה

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

Lot was spared twice. First, he was taken captive by the four kings. From their perspective, he had a birds-eye view of Hashem’s miracles, as Avraham Avinu with his makeshift army was able to vanquish the four mighty, bloodthirsty kings. Avraham came either with his trusted servant and student, Eliezer, or he rounded up 318 of his students and went to war. In any event, it was clearly a miracle in the merit of Avraham. One would think that someone with a modicum of intelligence would realize this and repent. Not Lot. Forget about his sense of hakoras hatov, gratitude…

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חלילה לך מעשות כדבר הזה להמית צדיק עם רשע והיה כצדיק כרשע חלילה לך השופט כל הארץ לא יעשה משפט

It would be a sacrilege to You to do such a thing, to bring death upon the righteous along with the wicked; so the righteous will be like the wicked. It would be a sacrilege to You! Shall the Judge of all the earth not do justice?” (18:25)

Certainly, everyone at one point or another has wondered about the continued good fortune of the hypocrite, a person who is a self-professed tzaddik, publicly acting like a righteous, virtuous Jew, while covertly carrying out activities that are ethically and morally depraved. He is living a life of sham and piety. His only concern is about putting on a good show so that he can fool people. In the privacy of his mind and behind closed doors, he is a different person. He has no problem cheating others – regardless of their financial standing or positions in the community –…

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ותצחק שרה בקרבה לאמר אחרי בלותי היתה לי עדנה ואדני זקן.

And Sarah laughed at herself, saying, “After I have withered shall I again have delicate skin? And my husband is old!” (18:12)

Is it possible that Sarah Imeinu questioned Hashem’s ability to produce a miracle? Certainly not! She simply did not believe that this was a Divine message. It was the courteous wish of a guest who was just being nice. Sarah had long passed her childbearing age. It would take nothing less than a miracle for her to give birth to a child. Had she known the true identity of these travelers, she would not have been so quick to laugh. Horav Mordechai Eliyahu, zl, has a different approach to the entire parsha, which I feel portrays Sarah in a positive…

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