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כי שמע אלקים אל קול הנער באשר הוא שם

For G-d has heeded the cry of the youth as he is, there. (21:17)

Avraham Avinu had a son, Yishmael, who deviated from the derech, path, which his father had surely encouraged him to follow. Likewise, Yitzchak Avinu had a son, Eisav, who paved for himself a path to infamy. Two sons – two reshaim, wicked men; yet, Yishmael repented, while Eisav died as he had lived – a rasha. One might suggest that Yishmael was made of finer spiritual material, better middos, character traits. This is not true. The angel told Hagar that her son would be a pera adam, a wild man, similar to a wild donkey– his hand in everything and…

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ויתפלל אברהם אל האלקים וירפא אלקים את אבימלך... וד' פקד את שרה

Avraham prayed to G-d, and G-d healed Avimelech… Hashem remembered Sarah. (20:17) (21:1)

Rashi notes the juxtaposition of Sarah Imeinu’s conception and giving birth to Yitzchak Avinu upon Avraham Avinu’s prayer on behalf of Avimelech. He explains that the Torah put this passage (Sarah’s conception and giving birth) next to the incident of Avimelech to teach that whoever seeks mercy by praying for his friend, while he himself (the individual praying) needs that same thing (for which he is praying on behalf of his friend), he (the one praying), is answered first. Avimelech was in need – Avraham prayed for him; thus, he was answered by Hashem – before Avimelech. Imagine two people…

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ויגש אברהם ויאמר האף תספה צדיק עם רשע

Avraham came forward and said, “Will You even obliterate righteous with wicked?” (18:23)

Avraham Avinu took the decree to obliterate Sodom seriously. Indeed, Rashi teaches that the word vayigash, “and (Avraham) came forward,” has three connotations – each one apparently applying to our Patriarch. We find “coming forward” used with regard: to war; to conciliation; and to prayer. Avraham undertook all of these approaches. He spoke strongly, arguing forcefully to establish his point; he appealed to Hashem to have mercy; and he prayed. He did all of this for the people of Sodom! Why? These were the most reprehensible people of the time. They made life miserable for anyone who had the misfortune…

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כי ידעתיו למען אשר יצוה את בניו ואת ביתו אחריו ושמרו דרך ד' - המכסה אני מאברהם את אשר אני עשה

Shall I conceal from Avraham what I do? (18:17) – 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 Torah relates that Hashem sent angels to Avraham Avinu to inform him of the Almighty’s plan to destroy Sodom. Why were they sent to tell Avraham about the impending destruction? The Torah explains, Ki yedativ, “Because I have loved him,” means because he [Avraham] teaches his offspring about Hashem, thereby encouraging them to observe His mitzvos. The reasoning begs elucidation. What relationship exists between the fact that he has dedicated his life to educating his children and the fact that Angels were sent to inform him of the impending destruction of Sodom? The sons of the Chasam Sofer, zl,…

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