The Jewish Eye
Akeidas Yitzchok Was Not A Command, It Was A Favor To Hashem
Akeidas Yitzchok is considered possibly the most heroic act ever performed for Hashem's sake. What was so heroic? That he Avrohom listened to Hashem? Isn't it a given to all believers that Hashem knows what he is doing? Just because Hashem promised Avrohom that he will give birth to a great nation and then told him to kill Yitzchok should Avrohom doubt Hashem? Of course not.
The Ran in his Drasha 6 says that the Akeida was not a command. Hashem asked Avrohom to do him a favor and be Mochel him the promise of making him the father of a great nation. He in essence asked Avrohom to give up the future of Klal Yisroel. He did not command him he just asked him. Avrohom would not have been punished had he said no and insisted that Hashem keep his promise. That is the great zechus of the Akeida. Avrohom without any threat of reprisal willingly gave up the future of the Jewish people simply because Hashem asked him to without any justification whatsoever. That is why is is considered a greater sacrifice for Avrohom than for Yitzchok who was eager to give up his life for Hashem.
Why Was The Generous Avrohom Frugal When It Came To The Water?
"Yukach Na Miat Mayim ViRachatzu Raglaychem" ‘Let some water be brought and wash your feet". Why did Avraham suddenly get cheap on the water? When it came to serving the guests he seemed to give them an enormous amount of food (a complete tongue for each guest). Why only a bit of water to wash their feet?
The Meforshim answer, the pasuk says, "Yukach Na" - "Let it be taken" - which Rashi explains to mean - "Al Yidei Shliach" - by means of a messenger. Since it was another person who would be carrying the water, Avraham was sensitive not to make him carry such a heavy load and therefore only offered the guests "a bit of water". Eventhough he was busy with the Mitzvah of Hachnosas Orchim - Avraham teaches us that one cannot be "Frum on Yenim's Cheshbon"
Rav Pam - Your Spouse Doesn't Want To Hear The Truth
Toward the beginning of the parsha, the visiting Malachim delivered the message from Hashem to Avraham: "I will surely return to you at this time next year, and behold Sarah your wife will have a son. Avraham and Sarah were old and that the manner of women had ceased to be with Sarah." [Bereshis 18:10-11] Then in the next pasuk, Sarah asks: "After I have withered I shall again have smooth skin? And my husband is an old man." In other words, Sarah wonders how is it possible for her to conceive, when she is already past her years of childbearing. In addition, her husband was an old man as well.
However, when Hashem went back to Avraham and admonished Sarah for laughing, Hashem only mentioned her argument that she was old to Avraham. Hashem does not reveal to Avraham that Sarah had also doubted the news because "her husband was an old man." Rashi learns from this - based on Chazal - that one change the truth to preserve peace (between husband and wife).
Rav Pam asks the following question: Avraham Avinu was in fact 99 years old. Everyone knew that he was an old man. It was obvious to him that he was an old man. It would have not at all been news to Avraham that Sarah was surprised that she would conceive, because - among other reasons - her husband was old. Would Avraham really have been upset if he had heard the "full truth" from the Hashem?
Rav Pam explains that we see from here, that the whole world can recognize and tell a person that he is old, but he cannot hear that piece of news from his wife! The reverse is true as well. A woman can have gray hair. She can be a grandmother. But if her husband should tell her, "You know, you are getting up there in years." - it would hurt her immensely. Spouses are more sensitive to each other, and therefore care must be taken.
Meat That Was Not Fleishig!
"VaYikach Chemah ViChalav Uven HaBakar Asher Asah"; "And Avraham took cream and milk and the calf which he made and placed these before them etc. and they ate." The Meforshim ask, how did Avraham serve his guests Basar ViChalav (milk and meat together)?
Some explain, the pasuk says, the milk products were served first (Chemah ViChalav Uven HaBakar) and therefore was not in the Issur of Basar ViChalav. Others learn, they held like the opinion in the Gemara that if one does Kinuach and Hadacha (a thorough rinsing of ones mouth) he may eat meat immediately after milk.
The Malbim offers a different answer. He takes note that the pasuk says, "Uven HaBakar Asher Asah' - the calf which he made. Avraham created a calf with the Sefer HaYitzirah and served this calf to the guests. Since it was a man made calf, it was not in the Issur of of Basar ViChalav.
Too Much Food Works!
"VaYikach Ben Bakar Rach VaTov"; "Then Avraham ran to the cattle and took a calf, tender and good" Rashi explains that "a calf, tender and good" - teaches us that Avraham took 3 bulls in order to serve each guest a complete tongue with mustard. The Meforshim ask, isn't a complete tongue an overkill to serve to 1 person. 1 tongue can serve a large family, why did Avraham serve it to each guest?
R' Chaim Brim explains, when one has guests, he is faced with a dilemma. On one hand, he wants to serve his guest enough food that he won't have to be embarrassed and ask for more. On the other hand, he doesn't want his guest to be embarrassed and have to leave over. The way to avoid this embarrassment is, to serve so much food that it's impossible for 1 person to eat. He therefore will not have to ask for more, and also will not be embarrassed by leaving over. This we see from Avraham, who served his guests a complete tongue in order that they should not be ashamed to leave over.
Ramban - Do You Need To Take Seriously Every Quack That Claims To Know The Future?
Three Arabs travelers show up at Avrohom and Sara's tent on a very hot sunny day. Avrohom gives then the royal treatment. They are fed fresh tongue and other delicacies. The service is top notch as the 99 year old man his wife and their entire staff are running around to supply everything they could ask for and more. After resting and eating, one the Arabs pipes up and says to Avrohom whose wife has not had a child and is 89 years old, "You know, next year I am going to back around this way again and I guarantee you that your wife will have a baby son." This is pretty funny. Why was Sara taken to task for laughing at this very laughable scene?
The Ramban asks this question and answers that the pasuk says that Sara laughed "Bikirba" deep inside. Meaning she mocked the entire notion that such a thing was possible. She rejected, not the Arab's prophesy which would have been acceptable, rather she rejected the possibility that such a thing could happen. What she should have done, says the Ramban, was believe that it could happen and raise a tefila to Hashem by saying, Amein Kein Yehi Ratzon.
The Baalei Mussar say that everything you see and every word you hear is meant to be seen and heard by you and its all for a reason. The messenger is not the main part, the message is. Ignoring all the circumstances surrounding the message you must ask yourself what is the underlying message and how should I respond?
Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz - Sedom Was Rotten Beyond Cosmic Circumstances
You cannot harm me or even upset me in any way unless it was declared from Shamayim that I should be harmed for whatever reason Hashem wants me to be harmed. The reason why you would be punished if you chose to harm me even though I am deserving of it is because no one asked you to do it. Hashem can find other messengers. On the other hand your punishment will be minimized because the fact is you haven't harmed someone that was innocent.
Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz explains that Hashem wanted to test the people of Sedom to see how mean and vicious they really were. So He sent the two Malachim to Sedom to see how they would be treated. As Malachim they had not done anything wrong nor did their mazal require them to be hurt. Nevertheless the people of Sedom tried to harm them. At that point Hashem declared that Sedom must be destroyed since they are rotten to the core.
This is the meaning of the Pasuk (18:21) "Eirda Na V'Ereh Hakitzakasa Hab'ah Eilai Asu Kalah"; I will send down Malachim. If they are tortured then I will destroy Sedom completely. If not I will merely punish them for their sins but let them live.
Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz - Akeidas Yitzchok, Terach, and Iyov
After the Akeida the Torah starts to tell us the story of Nachor's family. More troubling than the juxtaposition of the parshios, asks Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz, are the words "Vayehi Achar Hadevarim Ha'Eilah"; as if there were some great connection between the Akeida and Nachor's family tree.
He answers that at the mefarshim say that at the end of Terach's life he did teshuva. However he still needed a "Tikun". The tikun for his neshama was Akeidas Yitzchok. However he still needed a tikun for his "Guf"; his body. This came via another one of his other grandsons, Iyov whose physical suffering new no bounds. Who was Iyov he was none other than Utz the son of Nachor. Therefore the Torah tells us after Terach's neshama received its tikun at the akeida, Utz or Iyov was born and Terach's tikun was completed with Iyov's suffering.
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