Vayera | וירא | “He appeared ” – Experiences the revelation of the Shekhina/Holy Divine Presence
–Avraham Avinu had a special tree that enabled him to identify who was attached to Hakodosh Baruch Hu, and who was attached to Avodah Zarah
–The singularity of Avraham’s self-sacrifice, and consequently, his descendants comes to light in the Akeida. It is the sound of joy followed by the sound of pain, followed by the sound of joy.
The fourth reading from the book of Genesis is named Vayera (וירא). Vayeira, Vayera, or Va-yera (וירא — Hebrew for “and He appeared,” the first word in the parshah is the fourth weekly torah portion in the annual cycle of Torah reading. And it describes how the YHWH appeared to Abraham one day as he sat in the heat of the day and outside his tent.
- Abraham welcomes three visitors ( i.e angels ), who announce that Sarah will soon have a son. -Genesis 18:1-15
- Dialogue between G-d and Avraham concerning the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. -Genesis 18:17-33
- Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah;Lot’s home is attacked by the people of Sodom and his wife is turned into a pillar of salt. -Genesis 19:1-29
- Lot impregnates his daughters, and they bear children who become the founders of the nations Moab and Ammon. -Genesis 19:30-38
- Avraham, Sarah and Avimelekh, King of Gerar; the ruse that Sarah is his sister. -Genesis 20:1-18
- Isaac is born, circumcised, and weaned. Hagar and her son, Ishmael, are sent away; an angel saves their lives. – Genesis 21:1-21
- G-d tests Abraham, instructing him to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah. The Akeida ( Binding of Issac) – Genesis 22:1-19
And Hashem APPEARED unto him in the terebinth trees of Mamre; and he sat in the entrance of the ohel (tent) in the heat of the day – Genesis 18: 1
…Now He appeared to him because He wished to reveal the Crown of holiness [circumcision], and the Holy One wanted to produce holy seed [Isaac] from him. Although holiness does not dwell upon a person while he is uncircumcised, now that he was ninety-nine years old, and would soon produce holy offspring, G-d wanted Abram himself to be holy, prior to producing holy offspring. -Zohar I, 95a
G-d appeared to Abraham while “he was sitting (yoshev) at the entrance to his tent during the hottest part of the day” -Genesis 18:1.
The word yoSheV implies waiting a very long time, as in “You dwelled (veteiShVu) in Kadesh many days” -Deuteronomy 1:46 ; Abraham was not just physically sitting – he was waiting and waiting for a spiritual success,“During the hottest part of the day” – all the while, his physical desires were burning passionately within him and achieving for the spiritual success.
Rabbi Leazar ben Menahem taught that the opening words of Genesis 18:1, “And the Lord appeared,” indicated G-d’s proximity to Abraham. Rabbi Leazar taught that the words of Proverbs 15:29, “The Lord is far from the wicked,” refer to the prophets of other nations. But the continuation of Proverbs 15:29, “He hears the prayer of the righteous,” refers to the prophets of Israel. G-d appears to nations other that Israel only as one who comes from a distance, as Isaiah 39:3 says, “They came from a far country to me.” But in connection with the prophets of Israel, Genesis 18:1 says, “And the Lord appeared,” and Leviticus 1:1 says, “And the Lord called,” implying from the immediate vicinity. Rabbi Haninah compared the difference between the prophets of Israel and the prophets of other nations to a king who was with his friend in a chamber (separated by a curtain). Whenever the King desired to speak to his friend, he folded up the curtain and spoke to him. (But G-d speaks to the prophets of other nations without folding back the curtain.) The Rabbis compared it to a king who has a wife and a concubine; to his wife he goes openly, but to his concubine he repairs with stealth. Similarly, G-d appears to non-Jews only at night, as Numbers 22:20 says, “And G-d came to Balaam at night,” and Genesis 31:24 says, “And G-d came to Laban the Aramean in a dream of the night.” (Genesis Rabbah 52:5.)
… because you yourselves well know that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When people are saying, “Everything is so peaceful and secure,” then destruction will suddenly come upon them, the way labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there is no way they will escape. But you, brothers, are not in the dark, so that the Day should take you by surprise like a thief; for you are all people who belong to the light, who belong to the day ( i.e righteous souls of israel ). We don’t belong to the night or to darkness, so let’s not be asleep, like the rest are; on the contrary, let us stay alert and sober. People who sleep, sleep at night; and people who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us stay sober, putting on trust and love as a breastplate and the hope of being delivered as a helmet -1 Thessalonians 5:2-10
That HaShem “appeared” to Abraham is a profound thing. The words of Rabbi Shaul in the book of Apostles : ….Now unto the king eternal, immortal, invisible, to G-d who alone is wise, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. -1 Timothy 1:17
The Traditional Approach – Three Angels
When Avraham experiences the revelation of the Shekhina, it says: “And he raised his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him.”
Explaining the three words, “behold, three men,” in the verse, Rashi writes: One [man] to bring the news [of Isaac’s birth] to Sarah, and one to destroy Sodom, and one to heal Abraham, because one angel does not perform two missions. This is understood because throughout the entire narrative, scripture refers to them in the plural: “they ate,” “they said to him.” But, when the news ( of Isaac’s impending birth ) was given it says: “He said: ‘I will surely return to you.’” And when Sodom was destroyed, it says: “For I will not be able to do anything” and “I will not destroy.” And Raphael, who healed Abraham, went from there to save Lot. This is also in accordance with the verse: “It came to pass that when they took them outside, he ( the angel ) said, ‘Flee for your life.’” From all of this it is apparent that only one ( of the angles ) acted as a deliverer.
Zohar writings: The verse, “And, lo, three men,” refers to the three angels messengers who clothe themselves with air and come down to this world in a human image. And they were three, just as there are three above, NAMELY CHESED, GVURAH, AND TIFERET OF ZEIR ANPIN. The rainbow, THE NUKVA, appears only in three colors, white, red, and green.
Therefore, it is written, “appeared to him,” becuase the appearance of the Shechinah is SEEN by these three colors. So, “And Hashem appeared” means that the Shechinah was revealed to him. And this revelation was made by the appearance of the three Colors, of which the verse concludes, “And, lo, three men stood by him” namely Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.
Abraham encounters three angels who come in the form of men. It is taught that every angel sent by G-d is given but “one assignment.” Here, one angel (Michael, usually linked to Israel) gives news to Sarah. All the abundance and the blessings of the right side are handed over to him. Another (Gabriel, an angel associated with judgement) goes forward to destroy Sodom and Gemmorah. , As Judgements come from the left side. And the execution is done by the Angel of Death, The King’s chief baker, who executes the sentences that are passed under Gabriel’s rule. Gabriel goes on his mission to the holy Neshamah, while the Angel of Death goes on his mission to the Nefesh of the Evil Inclination.The third (Raphael, an angel of healing) heals/comforts Abraham and as a second part of this assignment, later rescue Lot.
According to the Rambam, in light of the Midrash, does. He writes in his the Mishnah Torah [Hilchot Yisoday Hatorah] Chapter 2:3 regarding the third type of creation: “Creations which have form, but no physical matter at all; for example, the angels, for the angels do not possess bodies or corporeal being, but rather are forms which are separate from each other.” In other words, since angels do take on a physical appearance in any way there is no way to understand what happened to Abraham here as an experience of the corporeal world.
(The angels ) went to Sodom and Abraham remained standing before the Lord” – Rabbi Simon says: “This is a correction of the scribes (tikkun soferim), for the presence of G-d was waiting for Abraham.
“….And he lifted his eyes and he saw, and behold there were three men standing beside him and he saw and he ran towards them…… -Bereishit 18:2
G-d is “visiting” Abraham (in a vision) because Abraham was recuperating from his circumcision. Abraham sees potential guests, and therefore, breaks off his vision with G-d to tend to his potential guests. This reading thus exemplifies the performance of two mitzvot – Visiting the sick and welcoming guests.
In the midst of conversing with G-d, Avraham sees three men approaching and runs to welcome them to his home. The Gemara (Shabbos 127a) learns from Avraham’s behavior that hospitality to guests is greater than receiving the Shechina, the Divine Presence.
This is the tenet that our patriarch Avraham established and the path of kindness that he followed. He would feed wayfarers, provide them with drink, and accompany them. Showing hospitality for guests surpasses receiving the Shechina, the Divine Presence, as is written: “And he saw and behold there were three men.” –Rambam, Hilchos Avel 14:2
Therefore it must be, concluded Avraham, that welcoming guests is greater than receiving the Shechina! So when three men approached during G-d’s visit, “and he saw and he ran toward them…”
G-d took the sun out of its sheath so as not to trouble him with wayfarers, but since He saw that he was troubled that no wayfarers were coming, He brought the angels to him in the likeness of men. -Rashi
Rashi that explained that Avrohom made sure that his guests wash their feet so as not to bring Avodah Zarah into his “house”. However, had the Posuk referred to Avrohom’s house it would not have said, “And recline beneath the Eitz,” rather it would have said, “and recline inside the house.”
Rav Mordechai Gifter zt”l brings in his sefer, Pirkei Moed, that it was the extra care and love that Avraham showed through this act that caused the extra care and love that Hashem showed us in the desert with the Clouds of Glory.
Zohar writings: When ABRAHAM saw The THREE ANGELS join one another, he saw the Shechinah in Her own colors. And he knelt, Because the ANGELS are the THREE COLORS OF ZEIR ANPIN IN WHICH THE SHECHINAH CLOTHES HERSELF, As it is written, “…and knelt himself toward the ground.” This is similar to what is described of Jacob, of whom it is written, “…and Yisrael knelt himself upon the bed’s head” (Beresheet 47:31). That is HE BOWED to the Shechinah, which is called the bed’s head. So here, as well, he bowed to the Shechinah.
As the Shechinah departed, it is written, “and Elohim went up from Abraham” (Beresheet 17:22). So Michael immediately departed with Her, as it is written, “And there came two angels to Sodom…” (Beresheet 19:1). At the beginning, it is written three, but now it reads “two angels.” FROM THIS, WE CONCLUDE THAT THE ANGEL Michael, who is to the right, also departed as the Shechinah rose. And only two angels remained.
We find the interesting information in the book of Judges 13th chapter. The angel seen by Manoach, who descended and was enclothed by air, is Uriel. He did not come with those angels of Abraham, but came down on his own to inform Manoach, who is a descendant of Dan, THAT HE SHALL HAVE A SON
Because MANOACH is not as important a man as Abraham, it is not written that he (the angel) ate. Rather, it is written, “Though you detain me, I will not eat of your bread…” (Shoftim 13:16) and “For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven…that the angel of Hashem ascended in the flame of the altar…” Here, however, it is written, “and Elohim went up from Abraham”; IT IS NOT WRITTEN THAT THE ANGELS DEPARTED FROM ABRAHAM. THIS IS because Michael left WITH ELOHIM, while Raphael and Gabriel remained. – Zohar
In the chapter of Genesis 18 and in verse 4:, the three men sit under “the tree.” The Hebrew text has the definitive article “the” as if it were a special tree. Hebraic tradition says that Abraham would always plant a special tree wherever he lived and that those sitting under this tree would cause its branches to spread out (if they were righteous people) or shrivel (if they were idolators). This special tree is also linked to the “Tree of Life,” and by inviting people to sit under it, Abraham was encouraging them to “rest in G-d’s shade” and not that of idols.
The one having an ear let him hear what the Ruach Hakodesh says to the Kehillot; To the one who wins the nitzachon (victory) I will give to him to eat of the Etz HaChayyim (Tree of Life), which is in the Gan-Eden of Hashem – Revelation 2 : 7
Avrahom’s tree was very special. This tree let Avrahom know the level of his guests in regards to Ruchniyos. With this tool, Avrohom was able to devise a personalized plan for each of his guests on how to bring them closer to Hashem. Mishlei 3:18 “בה למחזיקים היא חיים עץ” – “It is a tree of life to those who grasp it.” If one grasps the tree of life, he recognizes that Hakodosh Boruch Hu sustains the tree of life, and then he will be Zoche to be protected and be given life by Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
Numbers 10: 8 – 12
II Kings 4 : 1-37
Judges 13: 17 – 19
Luke 2 : 1 -38
Revelation 2 : 7
In this Torah portion, three guests arrive at Abraham and Sarah’s tent. They inform Abraham that G-d will give the elderly Sarah a child. The prophesy comes true and they name their son Isaac. HaShem tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham obliges but is told that it was a test of faith and offers a ram to sacrifice instead. The faith in G-dly revelation through prophecy that was inspired by Avraham’s confidence in the command of the Akeida earned the place of the Akeida the designation as the seat of G-d’s future revelation and manifestation.
Isaac On the Mount:
Our sages taught that Isaac intuited that he would be the sacrifice. He asked his father about the sheep and Abraham replied, “G-d chose you to be His sacrifice.” Isaac’s response was a Jewish classic. “If G-d chose me, my soul belongs to Him, yet I cry for my blood.” Thus they went, this one to slaughter and this one to be slaughtered.
What did Isaac mean with the words, my soul belongs to G-d, but I cry for my blood? : One explanation is that he was willing to die for G-d, but he was bothered that he would no longer be able to offer his steady diet of daily sacrifices. “My soul belongs to G-d,” if he wants it, it is his. “But I cry for my blood.” it pains me that my blood will no longer flow because my death will end the thousand small sacrifices I make for G-d daily.
Akeida-Binding of Yitzchak
The story of how Abraham was tested by G-d to bind his beloved son Issac and offer him as a sacrifice on mount moriah. At the final moment g-d stopped avraham from going through with the sacrifice and provided a substitute ( i.e offered a ram to sacrifice instead).
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. -Genesis 22:13
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 120b – Straightway, however, ABRAHAM LIFTED UP HIS EYES AND LOOKED AND BEHELD BEHIND HIM A RAM……. We have been taught that that ram was created at twilight (on the sixth day of Creation), and he was of the first year, as it is written, “one he-lamb of the first year” (Num. VII, 63), thus being according to requirement. But if so, how could he have been created at twilight? The truth is that from that time it was pre-ordained that that ram should be at hand at the moment when Abraham should require it. The same applies to all those things said to have come into being “at twilight”, which in reality means that they were then predestined to appear at the requisite moment. R. Judah further discoursed on the verse: In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them (Is. LXIII, 9). He said: ‘This is the translation of the k’ri, hut according to the k’thib we should translate, “He was not afflicted.” The lesson to be derived from this variation is that Israel’s affliction reaches the Holy One even in the place above which is beyond affliction or perturbation. “And the angel of his presence saved them.” If He is together with them in their affliction, how can it be said that He saves them? Observe, however, that it is not written, “He saves them”, but “he saved them”, that is, He determined in advance to partake in their sufferings. For whenever Israel is in exile the Shekinah accompanies them, as it is written, “Then the Lord thy God will return (v’-shab) with thy captivity” (Deut. XXX, 3). According to another explanation, “The angel of his presence” signifies the Shekinah, which accompanies them in exile. Hence in the Scripture the words “and I have remembered my covenant” (Ex. VI, 5) are immediately followed by “and now, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me; moreover, I have seen” (Ex. III, 9). It is also written, “And God remembered his covenant” (Ibid. II, 24), referring to the Shekinah, “with Abraham” (Ibid.), symbolic of South-west, “with Isaac” (Ibid.), symbolic of North-west, “and with Jacob” (Ibid.), symbolising the complete and perfect union. The Holy One, blessed be He, will one day send forth a voice to proclaim to the world the words, “For he said, Surely, they are my people, children that will not deal falsely; so he was their saviour” (Is. LXIII, 8). Blessed be the Lord for evermore, Amen.
By trusting, Avraham, when he was put to the test, offered up Yitz’chak as a sacrifice. Yes, he offered up his only son, he who had received the promises, to whom it had been said, “What is called your ‘seed’ will be in Yitz’chak.” For he had concluded that G-d could even raise people from the dead! And, figuratively speaking, he did so receive him. – Hebrews 11:17-19
The Mishnah taught that Abraham suffered ten trials and withstood them all. –Avot 5:3.
and ye shall have tribulation ten days, become thou faithful unto death, and I will give to thee the crown of the life. –Revelation 2 : 10
And it came to pass after these words that G-d did tempt Abraham(Genesis 22:1). What is the meaning of after? Rabbi Johanan said in the name of Rabbi Jose ben Zimra: After the words of Satan. It is written: ‘And the child grew up and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned’ (Genesis 21:8). Satan said to the Holy One, blessed be He: ‘Sovereign of the Universe! Thou didst give a son to this old man at the age of a hundred, yet of all the banquet he prepared he did not sacrifice to Thee a single turtle-dove or pigeon!” G-d replied: ‘Did he not do all this in honour of his son! Yet were I to tell him to sacrifice that son to Me he would do so at once.’ … On the way (as Abraham was leading Isaac to be sacrificed) Satan confronted him and said to him: ‘If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved?… Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands. Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees. But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest” ( Job 4:2-5) (i.e., Abraham is being asked to commit a wrong against which his whole teaching has hitherto been directed ). Abraham replied: “I will walk in my integrity’(Psalm 26:2). Satan said to him: ‘Should not thy fear be thy confidence?’ ( Job 4:6). He replied: ‘Remember, I pray thee, whoever perished being innocent?” ( Job 4:6). Seeing that Abraham would not listen to him, Satan said to him: ‘Now a thing was secretly brought to me’ ( Job 4:12). I have heard from behind the Veil ‘the lamb, for a burnt offering’ (Genesis 22:7) ‘but not Isaac for a burnt offering.’ Abraham replied: ‘It is the punishment of a liar that he is not believed even when he tells the truth.’ In the parallel passage in the Midrash (Genesis Rabbah 56:4) Satan says to Abraham: ‘Tomorrow He will condemn thee as a murderer but Abraham replies: ‘Nevertheless!’
In the words of the Rambam (Moreh Nevuchim 3:24): “[The Akeidah] informs us the extent of love and awe of G-d… The angel, therefore, said to him [Avraham], ‘For now I know that you fear G-d’ ( Gen 22:12). That is, from this action, for which you deserve to be truly called a G-d fearing man, all people shall learn how far we must go in the fear of G-d.”
Talmudic passage (Taanit 4a) it is stated explicitly that G-d never intended Abraham to kill his son any more than G-d wishes Baal worshippers to carry out human sacrifices. In a comment to Jeremiah’s fierce castigation of the people for burning their sons in fire as burnt offerings for Baal ‘which I commanded not, nor spoke it, neither came it into My mind’ ( Jeremiah 19:5), this passage elaborates: ‘”which I commanded not” refers to the sacrifice of the son of Mesha, the king of Moab (II Kings 3:27); “nor spoke it” refers to the daughter of Jephtah ( Judges 11:31); “neither came it into My mind” refers to the sacrifice of Isaac, son of Abraham’. Similarly, a rabbinic midrash (Genesis Rabbah 56:8) describes Abraham, after the angel had told him in the name of G-d to spare Isaac, puzzled by the contradictory statements: ‘Recently Thou didst tell me (Genesis 21:12): “In Isaac shall seed be called to thee,” and later Thou didst say (Genesis 22:5): “Take now thy son.” And now Thou tellest me to stay my hand!’ G-d is made to reply in the words of Psalm 79 verse 35: ‘My covenant will I not profane, nor alter that which is gone out of My lips.’ ‘When I told thee: “Take thy son,” I was not altering that which went out from My lips [i.e., the promise that Abraham would have descendants through Isaac]. I did not tell thee: “Slay him” but bring him up [i.e., take him to the mountain and make him ready to be sacrificed]. Thou didst bring him up. Now take him down again.
According to R. Leiner, the trial of the Akedah was to discern the true meaning of G-d’s word and gain an appreciation of G-d’s rules of moral conduct. Avraham achieved this as an independent autonomous individual when he ultimately realized that G-d did not demand the sacrifice of Yitzhak and knew that he could not ignore the ethical norm NOT to kill his son.
Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk, a contemporary of the Maggid of Mezeritch, asserted that Avraham knew that Yitzhak would survive and realised from the outset that G-d did not want him to kill his son. The challenge to Avraham was to act as if he would, on the assumption that it was not an authentic request by G-d.
“…Please take your son, your only son, who you love, Yitzchak, and go away to the land of Moriah and bring him up there for a burnt offering…” – (Bereishit 22:2)
Chassidus explains that they drew their strength from Avraham, who “opened the channels of self-sacrifice”, enabling his descendants to access the supernatural ability to part with one’s very existence for the sanctification of G-d’s name.
“…..And Avraham named that place – “G-d shall see”, so it is said to this day: on the mountain, G-d will be seen….” – Bereishit 22:14
Avraham’s prayers were granted. The location of the Akeida, the Binding of Yitzchak, was chosen by G-d as the place of the mizbei’ach, the altar in the Beis Hamikdash. The Beis Hamikdash would be designated as both the epicenter of Divine worship, “a House for G-d, prepared for sacrifices to be offered within,” as well as, “where we celebrate three times a year (Rambam, Beis Habechirah 1:1)” – where G-d would be seen, perceived by all the pilgrims to Jerusalem for the holidays.
Yitzchak and Moshiach:
Yitzchak, more so than the other Patriarchs is connected to the era of our redemption. Yitzchak means he will laugh and Mashiach is the ultimate cause for laughter and joy. Yitzchak is a statement of fact, he will laugh, which indicates a total faith in the coming of Mashiach.
Akedah – Joy and PAIN
The Akedah promises that joy is followed by pain, which in turn is followed by joy. This theme is actually reflected in the sounds of the shofar itself. The shofar is also connected to Akeidah with the binding of Issac ( Genesis 22: 1- 19).
In the Torah there are two main terms for the sound of the shofar—the tekiah and the teruah. Rav Moshe Avigdor Amiel points out that when the Torah refers to the tekiah it calls it a blast of joy. The Torah says (Numbers 10:10): On the day of your great rejoicing, on your festivals, you should blast the shofar—the sound of the tekiah.
On the other hand, in the Torah, the teruah—the other sound of the shofar—is associated with great sadness. Says the Torah (Numbers 10:9), when the enemy attacks you, when you are in great pain (a play on the word tsar), you should blast the shofar—the sound of the teruah.
Every shofar blast that we make on Rosh Hashanah is a tekiah followed by a teruah followed by a tekiah. It is the sound of joy followed by the sound of pain, followed by the sound of joy.
A shofar blast will also herald of the coming of Messiah. In the book of revelation we find that the coming of Messiah reflects the concepts of trumpet sounds and judgements ( i.e related to YOM Kippur and also to establish the coming Kingdom of G-d ; do teshuva to escape from the wrath of the Judgement) which comes upon the earth.
The first appearance of Messiah was related with SIN ( i.e Passover LAMB ) and Second appearance of Messiah is related for the salvation of the twelve tribes of Israel under the divine mandate of Mashiach ben Yosef.
so Messiah was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for him he will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. –Hebrews 9:28
Lot – Moabites:
“When G-d destroyed the cities of the plain, G-d remembered Avraham and sent Lot from amidst the upheaval…” (Genesis 19:29).
And he condemned the cities of S’dom and ‘Amora, reducing them to ashes and ruin, as a warning to those in the future who would live ungodly lives; but he rescued Lot, a righteous man who was distressed by the debauchery of those unprincipled people; -II Peter 2:6-7
On that day, if someone is on the roof with his belongings in his house, he must not go down to take them away. Similarly, if someone is in the field, he must not turn back – remember Lot’s wife! Whoever aims at preserving his own life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will stay alive. – Luke 17:31-33
Ruth is a Moabite – a descendant of Moab. The son of Lot by one of Lot’s own daughters. After Lot and his family were rescued from the city, they found shelter in a cave. the eldest daughter of Lot thought the entire world had been destroyed. She felt that she, her sister and her father were the world’s only survivors. She devised a plan to preserve humanity: To conceive children by their drunken father. So they get Lot drunk, sleep with him, and one of them gives birth to Moab- Ruth’s ancestor.
Thus Genesis says: “They thought that the entire world had been destroyed, as in the Generation of the Flood (Gen. Rabbah 51:8)” -Rashi on Genesis 19.
“Thus both of Lot’s daughters were with child by their father. The firstborn bore a son, and named him Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day. . .”
“Her intent was pure and lofty, and all that she did was lesheim Shamayim — for the sake of Heaven — to make possible the emergence of Mashiach. According to the Midrash Rabbah (Bereishit 49:8) this is evident from the way she expressed herself to her sister. “Our father is old, come let us give our father wine and lay with him that we may give life to zara — offspring — through our father.” The Midrash notes, “It is not written, ‘that we may give life to bein — a child — through our father,’ rather, ‘that we may give life to zara — a seed (offspring) through our father,’ that is to say, the offspring that comes from a different source, which is the King Mashiach.” -on Megillat Ruth: Chapter 3, R’ Moshe Bogomilsky, Chabad.org
Said Rabbi Yochonon: What is the meaning of this Possuk, “The paths of HaShem [along which people are to walk] are straight: the righteous will walk along them but the wicked [on those very same paths] will stumble on them” (Hoshea, 14 :10) ? Here, with Lot and his daughters, you have an example: The two daughters of Lot, who intended to do their deed for the sake of Heaven — they are an example of “the righteous will walk along them.” But their dissolute father, who knew what was happening and while they meant well, he, to the contrary, intended to commit incest, is an example of “but the wicked [on those very same paths, in the very same act] will stumble on them.” -Yalkut Shimoni to Sidra Vayayroh, Chapter 86.
Lot’s daughters notes the genealogical importance of the sons that were born, as expressed in their names: “he is the father of the Moabites of today” (Gen. 19:37); “he is the father of the Ammonites of today” (Gen. 19:38). The name of the elder daughter’s son, Moab, is vested in the immediate setting of his family background, while the son of the younger daughter is called Ben-ammi after the nation that would descend from him, Ammon.
Weinfeld notes what Lot’s daughter’s, Tamar, and Ruth all had in common: “All these women contributed to the birth of David. Had there not been born a nation of Moab, there would not have been the birth of Ruth, from whom Obed, the father of Jesse, father of David, descended; and had it not been for Tamar, there would not have been the birth of Perez, from whom Boaz, father of Obed, descended.
Haftarat Vayera – ‘And He Appeared’ – II Kings 4:1-37
There are two accounts in this week’s haftarah portion: the account of the widow and the oil that did not run out, and the account of the miraculous birth, death, and resurrection of the woman from Shunem.
The Shunammite woman is convinced that Elisha was a true prophet. She and her husband prepared a place in their home for the prophet to stay whenever he was in the area. Considering her faith and her good deeds, Elisha wants in some way to repay her.
And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there. Then he said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite woman.” When he had called her, she stood before him. And he said to him, “Say now to her, ‘Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?’” She answered, “I dwell among my own people.” So he said, “What then is to be done for her?” And Gehazi answered, “Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old.” So he said, “Call her.” When he had called her, she stood in the doorway. Then he said, “About this time next year you shall embrace a son.” And she said, “No, my lord. Man of G-d, do not lie to your maidservant!” But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her. – II Kings 11-17
The G-d of Israel likes miraculous births doesn’t He? Like Sarah, like Rebekah, like Hannah, like Miriam. G-d must have delighted in promising these pious women that they would have a son. G-d promises and it is made visible in the parsha of Vayera. All those women gave birth. In this case, the prophet Elisha prophesies, and HaShem carries out His plan. The Shunammite woman gives birth.
And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers. And he said to his father, “My head, my head!” So he said to a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of G-d, shut the door upon him, and went out. Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of G-d and come back.”
When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to HaShem. And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite woman.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out. – II Kings 4:18-22; 33-37
Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of G-d and come back.” So he said, “Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.” And she said, “It is well.” – II Kings 4:22-23
And so she departed, and went to the man of G-d at Mount Carmel. So it was, when the man of G-d saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunammite woman! Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’” And she answered, “It is well.” -II Kings 4:25-26
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that G-d was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. -Hebrews 11:17-19
Rabbi Yehuda said: when the knife touched Isaac’s neck, his soul flew out of his body. When the Voice emerged from between the cherubim and commanded, “Do not send your hand to hurt the youth, ” his soul returned to his body, and Isaac stood up on his feet, and realized that so too would the dead be eventually resurrected. He declared, “Blessed are you O G-d, who resurrects the dead.”
Pirkei d’ R’Eliezer
For Abraham, it was just as if Isaac had died. He was committed when the knife was raised. His faith, thus tested, was made visible in that moment. Of course, Messiah is pictured in the birth and offering of Isaac.
UNIVERSAL TORAH: VAYEIRA – by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum
Torah Reading: Gen. 18.1-22.24. Haftara II Kings 4.1-37 (Sephardi ritual: II Kings 4.1-23).
G-d’s Covenant with Abraham, marked by the sign of circumcision, brought Abraham to an entirely new level, making him worthy of fathering Isaac, the descendants of whose son Jacob have been the guardians of G-d’s Torah and a “light to the nations” throughout history. While the Covenant is a unique bond between G-d and the Children of Israel, it is of significance for the entire world, and our parshah, which shows Abraham recovering from his circumcision and the ensuing events, is replete with teachings that apply to all humanity.
The simple, beautiful narrative of Abraham’s hospitality to seeming wayfarers with which the parshah begins is in counterpoint with the later accounts of the “hospitality” of the Sodomites and of Avimelech king of Gerar.
Hospitality — treating strangers and visitors kindly — is one of the foundations of a civilized world and a defining trait of true Bney Adam. For man’s existential situation on this earth is that he himself is but a stranger subject to the mercy of G-d. As Abraham says before G-d, the BAAL HABAYIT (“Owner of the House”) in our parshah: “I am dust and ashes” (Gen. 18:27). Abraham says to the children of Ches (Gen. 23:4): “I am a stranger and a resident with you.” I. with you. we are all in the same situation! Essentially we are all visitors on G-d’s earth, and He provides for all of us.
Through the simple human act of showing hospitality to strangers and visitors even under difficult circumstances (Abraham was in the wilderness — we are not talking about “entertaining” friends for dinner) man imitates his Maker, the Owner of the House. Man himself becomes the “host”, providing his guests not only with their physical needs but also with spiritual nourishment. Abraham gave his visitors the waters of spirituality with which to “wash their feet” of false ideas. He brought them in to “rest under the tree” — the Tree of Life. These are the ways of peace. When we sit down to talk peacefully with visitors and strangers about Torah and the purpose of life, this brings the Divine Presence to dwell with us. Pursuing such ways of peace made Abraham worthy of miracles — the miracle of the birth of Isaac, a worthy successor.
THE WAY OF G-D
G-d Himself testifies of Abraham that “he will instruct his sons and his house after him and they will guard the way of HaShem to practice righteousness and justice.” (Gen. 18:19). The sign of the covenant is inscribed upon man’s organ of procreation in order to teach him that he must elevate his sexual power above the pursuit of selfish gratification. He is to dedicate his strength to the breeding and raising of future generations who will be G-d’s torch-bearers in the world, practicing righteousness and justice. The purpose of the commandment to procreate, which was given to Adam, is to fill the world with sons and daughters who are true Bney Adam having TZURAT ADAM, the “essential form” of Adam not merely physically but spiritually. Only when the world will be filled with people who possess this form will it be possible to say that the world is truly civilized. (Likutey Moharan II:7).
It was because of Abraham’s merit that G-d revealed to him the imminent destruction of Sodom, leading to Abraham’s bold effort to save the place through prayer. Abraham clearly saw himself as the Baal HaBayis — “house-owner” — of the whole of the land he had been promised by G-d. Abraham took responsibility for the land and its problems, including it’s moral problems (such as the degenerate civilization of Sodom). Abraham hoped there might be enough Tzaddikim to save Sodom. The boldness of his prayers contain a lesson for all of us to be bold and persistent in our prayers. Yet we must also accept that not all our prayers can be answered in the way we might think we want them answered. In the case of Sodom, the Defense (Abraham) could not prevail, and the Accuser went to destroy the place. Yet the DefenderR#8217;s prayers did accomplish something: the salvage of Abraham’s nephew Lot and his family from the catastrophe that befell Sodom.
THE DESTRUCTION OF SODOM
Abraham’s virtue as guardian of G-d’s Covenant shines out in contrast to the wickedness of his generation in a “civilization” run amok. Those who are familiar with the stark, eerie desert mountain landscape of the YAM HAMELACH (“Salt” or “Dead Sea”) area with its unique climate and colors may try to imagine it as the setting for one of the most sophisticated “civilizations” that ever was. For prior to the raining down of G-d’s anger on Sodom and the neighboring towns in the form of fire and brimstone, that same area was once luxuriantly fertile “like G-d’s garden” (Gen. 13:10). The desolate desert areas around the Yam HaMelach are gaunt, testimony to the fact that unless man repents, sin leads to destruction. Human immorality can destroy not only man himself but the very physical environment around him. (The same lesson is implicit later on in our Parshah in the illness that afflicted Avimelech and his household when he kidnapped Sarah.)
The destruction of the civilization of Sodom was an historical and ecological disaster that was deeply etched into the consciousness of antiquity. Numerous passages in the book of Job and elsewhere in the Bible contain allusions to the immorality and subsequent destruction of Sodom. The Midrash is rich in tales of Eliezer’s encounters with the inhabitants of Sodom and of their ways. Eliezer as the son of Nimrod was, like the inhabitants of Sodom, descended from Ham, except that Eliezer submitted himself to the slavery decreed upon the children of Ham by attaching himself to Abraham. The inhabitants of Sodom, on the other hand, were so enslaved to human perversity that there was no remedy except to destroy them.
The inhabitants of Sodom enjoyed a fabulous, green watered spa in what is the world’s lowest point. They turned “G-d’s garden” into a center devoted purely to the worship of self to the exclusion of all others. This finds its ultimate expression in sodomy, which was the sin of Ham when he uncovered his father’s nakedness (see Rashi on Gen. 9:22). Sodomy is an extreme violation of the Covenant, whcih decrees that human sexuality is to be elevated to serve as the bond that brings husband and wife together in procreating and raising holy souls. Instead of this, sodomy degrades and abuses man’s highest creative power, his seed, throwing it into the very gutter, the part of the body designed to expel poisonous waste and filth. Sodomy degrades both the passive partner, who is subjugated and used, and the active partner, who is turned into a selfish, lustful animal.
Gang-rape of two apparent visiting strangers was the Sodomites idea of a “gay” evening. [“Gay” sex was also one of the things to which Ishmael later tried to submit Isaac — see Rashi on Gen. 21:9 — the other two being idolatry and murder.]
That Lot had chosen to live in a place with such moral standards and that he had, moreover, been appointed by them to be their judge (Rashi, Gen. 19:1) testifies to the weak flaw in the character of this classic waverer dressed up in the guise of liberalism. Lot’s father Haran had wavered between Abraham and Nimrod when the latter threw Abraham into the fiery furnace. Only when Abraham emerged unscathed did Haran agree to be thrown in — and died. The mountain of Abraham’s virtue seemed to Lot so high that it appeared unattainable. Lot preferred the less spiritually demanding, more materially indulgent surroundings of Sodom. Yet even in Sodom, a spark of Lot’s inherited moral decency remained: even he could not stand it when the locals demanded to rape his very guests — though he was prepared to throw them his own virgin daughters instead.
The Sodomites typify methodical human nastiness in the guise of rights and laws. MIDAS SODOM — characteristically Sodomite traits — are typified in many places in the Talmud, such as in the concept of refusing a person some benefit even when one has nothing to loose, or “mine is mine and yours is yours” (Avos 5:10). The Sodomites rebelled against the law of G-d, making up their own merciless laws, rebelling against any effort to reform them, as when they reminded Lot that he was a stranger: “Shall someone come to dwell and make judgements?” (Gen. 19:9). Sodom was the very opposite of the civilization that Abraham sought to create, where residents invite strangers in and sit together to talk peace. In Sodom unwary strangers were grabbed and lynched. There was no remedy for the Sodomites except to overthrow and destroy their entire civilization.
The mystery of the story of Sodom is that out of the wreckage was salvaged Mashiach. For Lot the waverer was made up of two sides: the side that wanted to do good and the side that wavered. Lot’s daughters did not waver. When they believed that the entire world was destroyed, they took responsibility to repopulate it even if it meant doing the unspeakable. Out of this holy intention was born the nation of Moab, from whom emerged the holy spark of the soul of one who did not waver for a moment. This was Ruth, who never wavered in her devotion to Naomi and her G-d, and whose great grandson was King David, Melech HaMashiach. Ruth became the archetypal Ger, the “visitor” who takes shelter under the Tree of Life.
THE KIDNAPPING OF SARAH
Sin need not lead to destruction — if the sinner repents and makes amends. Like the behavior of the Sodomites, Avimelech’s behavior in kidnapping a visiting woman he presumed to be single also fell far short of the standards of hospitality and treatment of strangers G-d wants in the world. There was no fear of G-d in Gerar — it was a place where if they had thought Abraham was Sarah’s husband, they would have killed him to get her. However, unlike the Sodomites, Avimelech was willing to accept rebuke. The story of Avimelech’s dream teaches that people of all nations may be worthy of dreams and visions from G-d. As Elijah the Prophet stated: “I testify that anyone, Israelite or gentile, freeman or slave, man or woman can attain holy spirit” (Tanna devei Eliyahu). We must be willing to hear and heed the voice of G-d’s rebuke, and to see the hand of G-d in the things that afflict us in this world, just as Avimelech learned that the mysterious disease afflicting his entire household was caused by immorality.
Abraham’s prayer for Avimelech’s healing is the first recorded prayer for healing in the Torah, teaching us the power of altruistic prayer to bring healing and rectification (Likutey Moharan II:1, see Wings of the Sun.)
The reward for Abraham’s acceptance of the Covenant was the miraculous birth of a son born in purity — a worthy successor. Abraham’s uniqueness lay in his originality: he rebelled against his childhood homeland culture to become a Baal Teshuvah. On the other hand, Isaac’s uniqueness, as the second generation, one “born into” the faith, lay in his willingness to submit to a discipline imposed upon him from childhood without rebelling. Only through such submission can the faith survive and be transmitted from generation to generation.
The mountain where Abraham and Isaac performed the supreme act of submission, each in his own way, is none other than Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The Torah testifies in our parshah that this is the mountain where G-d will be seen and revealed (Gen. 22:14).
Shabbat Shalom! – Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
We will see that the children of Israel return to Most High and Torah of Mashiach, And will hug in the Holy Land, and by obeying and listening the “VOICE of Most Ancient Holy One of Israel”, will bring offerings in a righteous way on the holy mountain and also bring the Ark of the covenant with pure heart in the right place ( i.e In Har HaBayit, on the foundation Stone) .
We will Welcome the son of David on Mount Zion, Jerusalem.
[ Ha Khadosh Baruch Hu – Baruch HaBa B’Shem Adonai ] – Gaddi, President, BeitYisrael International.
Gaddi – President
A Servant of Most Ancient Holy one of Israel and Disciple of Yeshua HaMashiach
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