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וירא את המקום מרחוק

And (he) perceived the place from afar. (22:4)

In Perek Aleph of Mesillas Yesharim, the Ramchal writes: “From this we learn that the primary purpose of man’s existence in this world is solely to do mitzvos, to serve Hashem, and to overcome tribulations.” I have always felt that when we add the verse, Zachreinu l’Chaim, during the Aseres Y’mei Teshuvah, the word l’maancha, for Your sake, is its most defining point. We pray for life. For what reason should we live? Hashem owes us nothing. It is almost insolent to ask for life unless one has a lofty purpose in living. L’maancha is that lofty purpose. We live…

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וה' אמר המכסה אני מאברהם אשר אני עושה ואברהם היו יהיה לגוי גדול ועצום

Shall I conceal from Avraham what I am about to do, and Avraham will surely become a great and mighty nation? (17:18)

Hashem’s apparent deliberation concerning whether or not to share His plans about the destruction of Sodom with Avraham Avinu begs elucidation. The very statement implies that He had a legitimate reason to conceal this information from Avraham. Nonetheless, Hashem decided to share the information with Avraham (regardless). The Patriarch was destined to be the progenitor of a great nation. Thus, he should be made aware of the impending destruction. Obviously, something is happening of which the reader is not aware. Rashi explains that this is a rhetorical question, which should be read in astonishment. Nonetheless, it still does not clarify…

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ויאמר ד' אל אברהם למה זה צחקה שרה... היפלא מד' דבר

Then Hashem said to Avraham, “Why is it that Sarah laughed?”… Is there anything beyond Hashem?” (18:13,14)

Sarah Imeinu wondered how a woman of her age could possibly conceive and bear a child. Hashem’s response is one that should be on our lips all of the time. Indeed, it should be the Jew’s mantra: Ha’yipalei mei Hashem davar? “Is there anything beyond Hashem?” Nothing is beyond Hashem’s capabilities. The Midrash cites a meaningful mashal, parable. A man carrying two links of a metal chain that had snapped came to the blacksmith shop. “Can you possibly repair my chain?” The blacksmith looked at the man somewhat incredulously and asked, “If I can fashion a new chain from raw…

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ויאמר מהרי שלש סאים קמח סלת לושי ועשי עוגות

And he said, “Hurry! Three se’ahs of meal, fine flour! (18:6)

Kemach is meal; solas is fine flour. They are not the same. The Talmud Bava Metziah 87a wonders how we reconcile these contrasting “flours” in the same cakes. They explain that Avraham Avinu asked for fine flour. Sarah Imeinu responded with inferior flour. Chazal conclude from here, that we may derive that a woman is stingier than a man toward guests. Anyone who studies Torah understands that this dialogue between Avraham and Sarah contains more than meets the eye. Especially noteworthy is the fact that Hashem had earlier instructed Avraham to listen to Sarah, because she was greater than him…

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