(18:1) “Vayereh Aylav Hashem-And Hashem appeared to him.”
In last week’s parsha we are exposed to the transformation of Avram into Avraham through the many tests he had to go through. Parsha’s Vayeireh on the other hand is the parsha of Revelation. Not just for Avraham but for every generation that followed. However even though there is revelation perhaps the greatest test of all is found at the end of this parsha, the Akeidah. This would seem to be a contradiction since there can be no test of faith if there is revelation? When one knows what is happening there can be no Nisoyon. A test of faith is always done in darkness. Yet in Parshas’ Vayeireh there is tremendous concealment. “Vayar es Hamokom M’rachok-he saw the place from a far.” This means that he felt that the Mokom-Hashem was distant from him. He felt that Hashem had forsaken him. How do we understand how this concealment can appear here in this parsha of revelation?
We begin with the visit to Avraham by the three malachim. This in itself is a great revelation. Each is an independent agent with a mission all his own. We are told that one came to bring the news of the birth of Yitzchok, another came to heal Avraham after his Milah, and the third came to overturn Sodom. However although on one level this was personal news for Avraham, it serves as predictions for the future of the Jewish people as well. The angel that brought news of the birth of Yitzchok was a metaphor to the birth of Moshiach. The angel that came to destroy Sodom is really saying that there will come a day when all evil will be destroyed from the world. And the Angel that came to save Lote brings the message that the seeds of Moshiach will not die.
(18:1) “Vayereh Aylav Hashem B’aylonei Mamre-And Hashem appeared to him in Aylonei Mamre.” Rashi says that Hashem came to Avraham to be Mivakeh Choleh (visit the sick.) Since this was the third day after his circumcision, Hashem was visiting him. First of all how did Rashi know this? It could be since the previous parsha was talking about Avraham’s Mila we can deduce from the closeness of the topics, that the reason he appeared to him was due to the Bris Milah.
The Sifsey Chachomim says that Rashi learnt it from the fact that the posuk should have read “Vayereh Hashem el Avraham.” instead of “Vayereh Aylav Hashem”. Since it doesn’t tell us whom He appeared to, we must look back to see what was said in the previous parsha.
The Kli Yakar says that the reason it doesn’t mention Avraham’s name is because his name and his essence were opposite. The name Avraham comes from Av Hamon Goyim- a father to a multitude of nations. But Avraham considered himself like the dust of the earth (18:27) “V’anochi Afar V’aifer.” His essence was the most humble of all. The Torah is coming to teach us that the reason Hashem appeared to him was not because of the fact that he was a father of many nations, which the name Avraham implies, but rather it was due to his humbleness.
The Ohr Hachaim asks why does the Torah reverse the order in this posuk? It should have read “Vayereh Hashem Aylav” not “Vayereh Aylav Hashem.” This comes to teach us that first Avraham had to make himself a proper receptacle for Hashem to appear to him. This was accomplished through the act of Milah. This is why the posuk reads “Vayereh Aylav Hashem.” That it was upon him that Hashem appeared. In Kabbalistic terms, Avraham had now become the carrier of the Shechina. This wording makes us aware of the difference between the revelation and the one who reveals Himself. It is because of this that Avraham’s future visions are never again introduced with the word Vayereh. From here on the word Vayomer is used.
The Baal Haturim says “Vayereh Aylav” in Gematria equals “Zeh B’kovod Milah Nigleh Aylav” (in honor of the Milah he was revealed to him.) “Vayereh Aylav Hashem B’Aylonei” equals in Gematria “L’vaker Choleh” (to visit the sick.) “Yoshev Pesach H’ohel equals in Gematria “L’Hachnis es HaOrchim”(to welcome guests).
(18:1) “V'hu Yoshev Pesach H’ohel K’chom Hayom-He was sitting at the entrance to the tent in the heat of the day.” Rashi explains that Hashem wished to save Avraham the burden of having to host passersby. He therefore took the sun out of its sheath (Chama M’nartika) making it so hot in order for there to be no travelers visiting him.
We find a similar expression regarding the Succah of the future. When the nations of the world will complain that had they been given the Torah, they too would have earned the World to Come. Hashem will then give them one mitzvah, the Succah. He will then remove the sun from its sheath causing them to flee from the Mizvah is of Succah. Even though discomfort exempts a person from that mitzvah, the fact that they will kick the door as they leave will show their disdain for doing the will of Hashem. This highlights the difference between a Jew and a gentile. Here Avraham, on the third and most painful day after circumcision, is standing at the doorway searching for a way to do Hashem’s will. He is looking for travelers to give his hospitality to. The words “Chama M’nartika-the sun from its Sheath” is amazingly equal to (868) “Achsanios Avraham Avinu-The hospitality of Avraham our Father.”
(18:1) “V'hu Yoshev Pesach H’ohel K’chom Hayom-He was sitting at the entrance to the tent in the heat of the day.” The Baal Haturim writes that this is what Chazal is referring to when it says that Avraham sits at the entrance to Gehenom and does not let those who have been circumcised to enter. Except for those who knowingly had relations with a gentile woman or who had tried to undo their circumcision. How can it be that Avraham is able to rescue Benei Yisroel from Gehenom? If Hashem decrees this punishment for someone how can Avraham stand in the way? What it means is that the tremendous merit that Avraham acquired from performing the Milah transcends into his descendants. A Bris is a covenant that bonds two people together through the fruits of their union. That is exactly why the Bris is performed on that part of the body. Benei Yisroel are the fruits of the Avos. The covenant between Avraham and Hashem was so intense that he would not let a Jew go into that dimension of punishment, even if he deserved it, because he wouldn’t do it to Avraham Avinu. Because hurting the child would be like hurting the parent.
(18:1) “V'hu Yoshev Pesach H’ohel K’chom Hayom-He was sitting at the entrance to the tent in the heat of the day.” Hashem had made the day hot so as to save Avraham from having to receive guests. But when Hashem saw how distressed this made him he sent the three malachim. The question is if Hashem wanted to permit Avraham to feed guests why did he send Angels that could not really eat? He could have made the day cooler so that real travelers would come that could eat? This would seem more logical than wasting Avraham’s efforts preparing a meal for Angels who would only pretend to eat! This incident teaches us about the nature of chessed. Contrary to what we may think, Hachnosos Orchim is not so much a mitzvah for the guests or the poor person. Rather it is a mitzvah for the benefit of the host! The mitzvah is directed to the giver, not the receiver. Hashem has many ways of feeding the poor. If someone needs money Hashem will ensure that they are taken care of. The only question is who will have the merit of providing the mitzvah. This is why the premiere chapter of Hachnosos Orchim in the Torah is told about people who did not even need it. The lesson is that the host should always remember that he is the one who needs the mitzvah. Ultimately he is doing the favor for himself.
It say's Avraham went from standing before Hashem to go greet the guests that were coming. And from this we learn that it is greater to do chesed than be mekabel the Shechina. Why is doing one mitzvah more important than standing before Hashem? It would seem that doing what Hashem commands is more important than just speaking to him. Avraham understood that doing this mitzvah was the will of Hashem.
The World to Come is a place in which we anticipate conducting our entire existence in the receiving mode. While such an existence might appear to be somewhat parasitic at first glance, this is not really so. Being offered life in the receiving mode in the World to Come is no more than just compensation for spending our lives in this world entirely in the giving mode [as far as our Divine service is concerned]. The Talmud (Kiddushin, 39b) informs us that there is absolutely no reward for the performance of Mitzvos in this world. Yet adherence to Mitzvos takes concentration and effort and often requires a great deal of self-sacrifice. In broad terms, in this World we give and Hashem receives, whereas in the next World the roles are reversed; Hashem gives and we receive. Our world pursues self-fulfillment, in the erroneous belief that nothing higher is available. Avraham was experiencing the ultimate in self-fulfillment - communion with God - and yet he voluntarily abandoned it. He was looking for a way not to fulfill himself, but the very opposite. He was looking for a way to give his very self to Hashem. In the entire universe only human beings are capable of making the choice to give themselves away. When man gives himself to God, God's response is to give Himself to man. The World to Come is the place where the two givers get together and celebrate the love they have developed by giving everything they had away to each other.(R.Noson Weisz)
(18:2) “Vayar V’hinei Shelosha Anoshim Nitzovim Aylav-He saw three men coming towards him.” Rashi says that these were really Malachim. That one came to bring the news of Yitzchok’s birth, one came to heal Avraham and the third came to destroy Sodom. Why was it necessary to have the third angel visit Avraham? His mission was in Sodom what connection is there to Avraham’s bris milah? The Vishnitze Rebbe answers as follows. The bris that Avraham performed took place on Yom Kippur. We know that there is a relationship between time, person and place. There is a common thread between all three of them. They all come together at their apex. On Yom Kippur, the holiest day, the Kohen Gaddol, the holiest person goes into the holiest place, the Kodesh Hakodoshim. After Adom’s sin the presence of Hashem was concealed. This was manifested in the foreskin of man. The Orlah as it is referred to in Hebrew comes from the words Rah Lah- evil is there. Just as there is an orlah in man there is a corresponding orlah in place as well. Sodom was the Orlah of Eretz Yisroel. By Avraham performing the bris milah he ignited the spiritual energy needed to destroy Sodom. To do the bris milah of Eretz Yisroel. This is why the third malach had to visit Avraham just then.
Alternatively I heard from R.Pelcovitz Z’tl the following. We know that each malach is created for a specific mission. No two malachim have the same task to complete. Why then did the malach that was sent to destroy Sodom come to Avraham’s home? When Hashem created man he consulted his ministering angels. They argued that man should not be created. One said he will rebel against his creator, another said he will be cruel to his fellow man. While they argued Hashem went ahead and created man. Now that the destruction of Sodom was at hand the ministering angels could say that they were correct. Man should not have been created. Therefore Hashem sent the destroying angel to Avraham’s home first to see what a human can become. To see the Chesed of Avraham that maintains the world.
If Hashem wanted Avraham to be able to preform acts of Chesed why send the Angels who have no need for acts of Chesed? They didn’t even eat the elaborate food prepared for them? The answer must be that the acts of Chesed are really for the benefit of Avraham. The one doing the Chesed benefits more than the receiver of that Chesed. This lesson is is brought here in particular as the paramount example of Chesed.
(18:4) “V’Hshoanu Tachas H’eitz-Recline yourselves under THE tree.” Avraham would ask the guests to sit beneath a special tree. If the tree would spread out its branches and accept them he would know that they can be brought under the protection of the Shechina.
The gematria of the words “V’Heshanu Tachas H’eitz-Recline yourselves under the tree.” equals Avraham, Yitzchok, Yakov, Moshe, Aaron, Yosef, Dovid all of the Ushpizin we welcome on Succos. The idea is that since offering shade, Avraham merited that his descendants would in the future receive shade while in the Midbar. Succos is the culmination of all of the achievements attained by each of these great ancestors. This ability to discern worthy or unworthy guests was put into the mitzvah of Succah. For we know in the future the nations of the world will be given one mitzvah to perform when they complain about not having been given the Torah. That will be the mitzvah of Succos. because it is the one mitzvah that can discern the good from the bad. Perhaps this is why the word "H'Eitz-THE TREE" is used. The first time we find the use of the word is by Eitz Hadas TOV V'RAH. The tree of knowledge of Good and Bad.
We know from Avraham’s behavior that hospitality takes priority over the Divine Presence, but how did he know? Avraham knew the Hashem caused the heat to be unbearable so that no guests would come to trouble him. But, if one is forbidden to depart from the Shechinah in order to give hospitality to travelers, then the heat was unnecessary! From this Avraham understood that hospitality took precedence even over being in the presence of the Shechinah. (Rav Yakov Shimshon of Shpetivka)
(18:10) V'Sarah Shomas Pesach H'Ohel V'hu Acharov-Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent and he was behind.” The promise of a son is revealed to Sarah but she appears to laugh at the news. Why would Sarah discount what the messengers related? The Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that when the posuk says “He was behind” it is referring to Yishmael. Yishmael was very displeased at the news of Yitzchok's birth. This would mean that he no longer would be the sole heir of Avraham. Sarah feared that he would interfere by giving the news an Ayin Hora, she therefore appeared to be mocking the news, as if to say how farfetched the idea was. When Avraham confronted her she had regretted giving the appearance of someone who doubted Hashem, but Avraham told her that it was not enough to regret out of fear but she should rather have laughed as he did out of love.
The Sifsei Kohen writes that although Sarah was an even greater prophetess than Avraham, here since she regained her menstrual cycle she became Tamei and lost her prophecy.
(18:11) “V’Avraham V’Sarah Zikainim-Avraham and Sarah were old.”Avraham prayed that he age and instituted the concept of appearing old into the world. Up until that time people would mistake parents with their children. Yitzchok instituted suffering, and Yakov prayed for sickness. All were to prepare one for the final days of life.
(18:19) “Ki Yodativ L’maan Asher Yitzav es Bonov v’es Beiso Acharav V’Shomu Derech Hashem-For I have loved him, because he commands his children and his household after him that they keep the way of Hashem.” Teaching your children carries even more weight that your own mitzvos. Rashi says that one who raises a righteous son is as if he did not die.
(18:24) “Ulaye Yeish Chamishim Tzaddikim B’toch H’iyur-Perhaps there are fifty righteous people in the city.” Why did Avraham himself save Lote in last weeks parsha when he was captured by the four kings and yet here where there was much less of a risk to his safety, Malachim are used? Perhaps we can say that in parshas Lech Lecha it was Avram not Avraham. It was before he had Bris Milah. Now being in a much more elevated state, Hahsem did not wish to send him to a place as deprived as Sodom. (Nireh Li)
How could it be that Avraham did not know what type of people lived in Sodom? Why was he entreating Hashem to save a city that was capable of perpetrating such cruelty?
The Ariza'l say's in parshas Toldos (25:28) “Vaye'hav Yitzchok es Esav ki Tzayid Befiv.” Esav had within him the seeds of two future Amoroim. That's why it say's by Yitzchok's love for him that he was constantly “Tzayid Bepiv.” The plain meaning being that he always hunted for delicacies to feed his father. But according to the Arizal, Esav had within him the power of two souls. That of Shemaya and Avtaliyon. Future converts who later went on to teach Hillel. Esav was able to conjure up the seeds of these future converts that he was carrying. So when he spoke to his father he would sound like the righteous son. Now the meaning of Tzayid Befiv is that he entrapped him with his speech.
In parshas Shemos (2:12) It says regarding Moshe “Vayifen Koh V’koh Vayar ki Aine Ish-He turned this way and that and saw there was no man.” Before killing the Mitzri he looked into the future to see if any converts were destined to come from him.
When Avraham was praying that Hashem spare the cities he knew they were not worthy of being saved. But he was asking on behalf of the Sodomites who might be carriers of future converts. We see that this is often the case when someone is spared his rightful punishment perhaps due to some future seed that he is carrying. This could also explain why when Avraham was pleading to save Sodom the posuk uses the word Bikirbom (within them). Will you save the city if there are fifty righteous people within them?
The Gemarah in Nidarim tells us that one of the reasons Klal Yisroel needed to be enslaved in Egypt was because of a failing in Avraham. After Avraham defeated the four kings he refused to take even a shoestring from the King of Sodom. The King only wanted the kidnapped people returned but Avraham could have converted many pagans to monotheism. Because of this missed opportunity the Jewish people were destined themselves to become pagans. This sheds new light on Avraham’s motives for beseeching Hashem to spare Sodom. He understood that because he had not taken the initiative to put the subjects of Sodom under his tutelage, his descendants were destined to go to Egypt. However if there was a way that he could correct his failing by preventing the destruction of Sodom, there might be a chance that they would do teshuva and Yisroel would not have to go to Egypt. If on the other hand Sodom was destroyed then Avraham’s failing could never be corrected.
The Gemarah in Brachos says we learn from here that Avraham instituted the Shacharis prayer. The question is why learn it from a place where the prayer was not answered. It must be that Avraham was also praying for the future doros of Klal Yisroel.
Here too, Lot was carrying the seeds of Moshiach. That is why he was able to look at these Malachim and press them to enter his home. The posuk says (19:3) Vayiftzar bom ma'od (He pressed them excessively). Lote normally would not have gone to all this trouble for strangers. If he had he would not have lasted very long in Sodom. But he had the seeds of Dovid Hamelech in him. So when the Malachim came to him, Hashem drew from the spark of Dovid and caused Lote to press them to come to his home. In the words: “Vayiftzar bom Ma'od.” The word bom are the initials of Bezechus Mah.(in what merit) The word Ma'od are the initials Matzasi es Dovid (I have found Dovid).
(19:1) “V’Lot Yoshev B'shar -Sedom-And Lote sat at the gates of Sedom.” Why does it say that Lote sat (yoshev) at the gates of Sodom? And if he knew what type of people were living there how could he invite strangers to his home?
The Bochor Shor suggests that Lot resided in a secluded place outside Sodom near the gate. That is how he was bold enough to defy the city ordinance against inviting strangers and offer the angels lodging. According to this interpretation Yoshev would mean dwelled.
But perhaps we can suggest that in his own way, Lote thought he could make a difference. True he was attracted to the loose morality of the place, but he accepted the role of Judge over them. he was carrying the seeds of Moshiach the ultimate world changer within him.
According to the Be'ar Mayim Chaim Avraham should have known that there were no righteous people living in Sodom. We see in the posuk (19:4) when the people of the city surrounded the house it says “Anshe Iyur Anshe Sedom” (people of the city, people of Sodom). Why this repetition? To let us know that this wasn't just some group of terrorists who were ambushing Lot's house, but rather this was the towns people this was the people of Sodom. This is how they all behaved.
This entire incident seems out of place. Why does the Torah need to relate that Lote invited the two Malachim to a meal with him? Also why was there such a need to escape from Sodom when it was these messengers of Hashem that were there to overturn the city? Could they not have just come in remove Lote and his family and then destroy the city?
The reason that the Torah had to relate the fact that Lot invited these guests was so that he should exhibit some of the traits that he first learned while in the company of Avraham and perhaps show that he deserved being saved. And the reason why the Malachim could wait no longer to overturn the city was because this final act of cruelty, on the part of the Sodomites, put them over the top. It was Avraham who returned the captives of Sodom to the King. And yet here we see the tremendous evil that was displayed when the entire townspeople came to the door of Lot and threatened to harm them because of the guests that they had invited.
Hashem had waited nearly two thousand years before bringing the flood to destroy the world. And yet here was a city that had to be destroyed after only fifty two years? The nature of the evil that was Sodom was so great that it's destruction would not wait. The Chazal say that the world was created through Chesed and so the lack of Chesed destroys the world. From the beginning of man, the universe was being gradually torn apart until Avraham came upon the scene with his tremendous Midah of Chesed. His efforts were the beginning of a chain of events that would gradually mend this rift in the cosmos. But here the cruel inhabitants of Sodom threatened this Chesed.
Interestingly we see that Sodom was not destroyed because it contained wicked people, but rather because there were not even ten righteous people living there.
(19:16) “Bechemlas Hashem Olav-In Hashem's mercy on him.” Why in the middle of describing how the Malachim were saving Lot, do the words “Bechemlas Hashem Olav” appear? We have already been told that one of the Malachim were sent to save Lot. The word Bechemlas equals 480 in gematria, the same as the word Benosav (his daughters). Lot was saved because of the daughters that were to give birth to two nations Moav and Amon.
Why does it say that the two Malachim grabbed Lot and his wife and two daughters each by the hand and pulled them out of Sodom. But we've learned that a Malach can only do one mission at a time? And since one Malach came to destroy Sodom and one to save Lot how could they both do both missions?
One answer is that since Sodom couldn't be destroyed until Lot was out. Saving Lot thus became part of his mission.
The Malach that came to tell Sarah the news of Yitzchok's birth also came to save Lot. The reason for Lot being saved was because he was carrying the seeds of Rus and Nami, the forerunners of Amon and Moav. The reason they were permitted into Klal Yisroel, even though the men weren't, was because when Benei Yisroel came to them in the desert the men would not greet them with food and water. So they were punished for that. But there was no such custom by the women. Therefore the women were permitted to convert. Now here when the Malach asked as to the whereabouts of Sarah, he was told that she is in the tent. In other words she as a woman, did not go out to greet the guests. Now the halacha became clear. The men were banned from joining Klal Yisroel but not the women. That's how the same Malach now was able to save Lot. (Chidushei Harim)
(19:26) “Vatabet Ishto Maiacharav-And his wife looked behind him.” Rashi writes that she looked “M’achrav shel Lot-Behind Lot.” What does this mean? What difference does it make who was behind her? The point is she looked where she wasn’t supposed to? We learned in Bamidbar that Korach made the mistake of thinking that he was beyond reproach due to the fact that he saw tremendous descendants were destined to come from him. Lot’s wife thought the same thing. She looked “M’achrav shel Lot- Beyond Lot” meaning what descendants were to come out from him. What she saw was the forerunners of Moshiach, Rus. Lot’s wife figured that because her husband would have such great children, she could do whatever she wanted and would be saved. What she didn’t see is that she would be cut out of the picture and the children would come from her daughter’s relationship with Lot himself.
(19:33) “Vatishkenaoh es-Avivhen B’layla Hu-And they made their father drink wine that night.” We don’t usually find the term B’layla Hu mentioned in the Torah rather it would say B’layla Ha-Hu? Here it comes as a hint to this night being singled out as special. Until the arrival of Moshiach Hashem’s name and his throne are incomplete. Ki Yad al Kes Koh Hashem, as it were, made an oath with his hand on his throne. The word for Hashem is missing two letters “Vav-Hey” and His throne is missing the “Aleph” this spells the word “Hu” as in B’layla Hu. On this night there began the events, which would ultimately lead to the restoration of Hashem’s name and his throne.
(19:36) “Vataharenah Shinei Benos-Lot Meyavihen-Both daughters of Lot became pregnant from their father.” The Midrash say's that the seeds of Moshiach were founded here by the incident of the daughters of Lot. The question is how can this be? How can the future savior of humanity have his origins in an incestuous union? The Ohr Hachaim explains that the there had to be a drop of impure blood, of non-Jewish blood, in order for him to understand in some measure and to share their weakness. This double influence would enable him to lead them back to Hashem.
The Shearis Menachem notes that the gematria, numerical equivalent, of the words, "me'avinu zera," offspring through our father, coincides with Dovid ben Yishai, also 386. Lot's daughter said, V'nichyeh, "We will live," our only hope for life, the essence of our life, is that this endeavor will sow the seed for Dovid ben Yishai.
(20:16) "U'L'Sarah Omar...Kesus Aynayim L'Chol Asher Itoch-And to Sarah he said..it is for you a covering of the eyes to all that are with you." Avimelech was cursing Sarah with this statement for her son Yitzchok, would later become blind.
(21:6) "Vatomer Sarah Tzchok Asa Li Elokim Kol Hashomeah Yitzchak Li-And Sarah said Hashem has made laughter for me, everyone who hears will laugh on my account." Yitzchok was named even before he was born and Avraham already conveyed the name to him. But here we find Sarah trying to be included in this naming? She was attempting to correct her previous sin of laughing at the news she would have a child in her old age.
(21:17) “Ki Shomah Elokim el-Kol Hanaar Basher hu Shom-For Hashem heard the voice of the lad in the place where he is.”
When Avraham cast out Ishmael it says that Hashem should judge him by where he is now (Basher hu Shom). Therefore he should be saved since now he's a tzaddik. But we learned part of the reason he was cast out was because he tried to kill Yitzchok and did Avodah Zoroh. So how can we call him a tzadik?
Rashi says that his future generations will kill Avraham’s descendants. But Ishmael will do teshuvah in his lifetime so the meaning is don't judge him on his future descendants but judge him by what he is in his life.
The Chasam Sofer has a different explanation. He writes that as long as Yishmael was in Avraham’s house he was judged as an adult, since he was above the age of thirteen. After he was expelled he fell under the category of a gentile who was judged as an adult only after the age of one hundred. So now the words (21:17) “Basher hu Shom-The place where he is” now has the meaning of a minor since he left Avraham’s house. Therefore he is judged as a Tzaddik because he wasn't yet responsible for his sins.
(20:2) “Voyomer Avraham el-Sarah Ishto, Achosy He-And Avraham said to Sarah his wife, you are my sister.” Avraham once again claims that Sarah is his sister. Even though this didn't work in Mitzraim?
Since Avraham traveled to many places he would always say that Sarah was his sister. Usually it worked because the people would try to befriend him to win him over. But if he said she was his wife they would more than likely kill him and commit one sin rather than take her and constantly sin. But the one person whom such a ploy would not work on was the king who could take any woman without being concerned about wooing her brother.
(21:1) “Va'Hashem Pokad es Sarah-And Hashem remembered Sarah.” When Sarah became pregnant and gave birth, all the other barren women became pregnant and gave birth too. The Ba'al ha'Turim however, points out that the numerical value of “Va'Hashem Pokad es Sarah” is equivalent to that of 'Af Kol Akoros Pokad' - He also remembered all the barren women.
The reason Hashem orchestrated the events this way is because Sarah could not attain real simcha as long as there were other women with her condition suffering.
(21:7) “Heinikoh Bonim Soroh-Sarah nursed children.” Rashi explains that when the nursing wives came with their children, they said that Sarah was too old to have given birth and must have taken in a child from the street. To lay these claims to rest Sarah nursed each of their children, hence the plural “Bonim”.
The Gemarrah relates how Rebbi Yehudah HaNasi’s mother once nursed Antoninus, and this brought out an emotion in him to be understanding to the Jewish people. Here too the fact that Sarah nursed many children had a later effect on their lives. Psikta Rabosi d’Rebbi Kahana in the name of R.Chilkioh cites that there were two groups of women who gave their children to Sarah. Those who didn’t believe she had given birth and those who just took up her offer to nurse. Rabbi Levy said both groups benefited. Any person who would in the future be elevated to a position of prominence would be a descendant of a child that nursed from Sarah. While the children who were given to Sarah to nurse not as a test, ALL converted.
(21:6) “Vatomer Sarah Tzchok Asa Li Elokim-Sarah said Elokim has given me laughter.” The reason for Yitzchok's name was because of the Tzchok (laughter). Avraham fell on his face and rejoiced. Really his name should have been Yischak. Tzchok is a loshon of laughter at something that is not believed. But Tzchok is a loshen of Simcha which is what Avraham had. The reason why he's called Yitzchok is that by right his name should have been Yischok but Hashem changed the Shin to a Tzadik. This was in order to hint in his name to the Tzadik = (90) years which was Sarah’s age when she gave birth to him. Just as the Kuf (=100) in his name was the age of Avraham. (The Yud was for the tenth of the Nisyonos ,the Ches for the Milah) So when Sarah said “Tzchok Asa Li Elokim.” that the letter Sin was changed to a Tzadik for her. That now everyone who hears that his name is Yitzchok and not Yischok will know that it was for Sarah's sake to remember Sarah's age.
The Chasam Sofer says that really Yitzchok's name should have been Tzchok. The name Yitzchok implies future laughter. He answers that the Yud of his name represents the Akaida. Since this had not yet occurred the term for future laughter was more appropriate. Another answer he gives is that as Rashi say's many women in that time conceived when Yitzchok was born. So it comes out that nine months later there would be laughter, thus the use of the future tense in his name.
Why was there such a blessing of Simcha for the other women of that time? Sarah was the one who needed a child. Why was there this universal blessing? A true Simcha cannot be enjoyed as long as there is suffering being experienced by others. Sarah’s nature was such that she would not have had complete joy knowing how others were in pain. That's why it also says that many people were healed on that day.
Directly following the naming of Yitzchok we find the expulsion of Yishmael. It says that Sarah saw Yishamael being Metzachek with Yitzchok. Rashi says that the word Metzachek has three meanings. It means idolatry, murder and arayos. This word Metzachek has a connection to all of those meanings. The question is how can Yitzchok's name be rooted in these three grave sins? What connection is there between Yitzchok and Avodah Zoro, Murder and Arayos?
The answer is that these three cardinal sins are the only three things a person must give up his life for ( Yeharag Ve'al Yaver). The difference between the word Yitzchok and tzachok is the letter yud, which is the letter of Yitzchok's name that represents the tenth and final test, the Akeida. Yitzchok's whole life was a sacrifice to Hashem. His very essence was to give up his life for Hashem. This needed to be implanted to the very core of the Jewish nation, of the first born Jew.
Avraham foresaw that the mountain on which he tied Yitzchok would be the future site of the Beis Hamikdosh and the heart of the holy city. He therefore called it Hashem Yireh meaning Hashem will look down from this place and shower the world with goodness. Shaim-Noach's son called it Shalaim. Hashem said if I name the place Yireh Shaim will complain. If I call it Shalaim Avraham will have a right to complain. Therefore I will combine the two names and call it Yerushalayim. The Mizbe'ach on Har Habayis was in the same place as the one built by Adam and later demolished by the flood. It was rebuilt by Noach and destroyed in the dispersal by the Dor Haflaga. Here Avraham once again erected it. It is parallel to the heavenly Kisay Hakovod.
(22:1) “Vayihe Achar Hadivorim H'ayleh V'Elokim Nisa es-Avraham-And it was after these events that Hashem tested Avraham.” By the Akeida Hashem asked Avraham to please do this test. To pass it would mean that all the previous tests really meant something. They would have Mamoshes (substance). Which is spelled Mem Mem Shin. These letters stand for Milah, Mokom- Place, and Shabbos. Mem-milah, Mem-mokom, Shin- Shabbos. The Akeidah expressed each of these. Milah / the Shecting of Yitzchok, Mokom/ the place of the future Mizbayach, Shabbos/ the Neshama Yeserah a person gets on Shabbos like the new Neshamah Yitzchok got after the Akeidah, which would now enable him to have children.
(22:5) “V’ani V’hanar Nailcha Ad-Koh-I and the lad will go Yonder.” When Avraham told Ishmael and Eliezer to wait with the donkeys he uses the word koh (place). He and the boy would go Ad Koh. The Midrash notes this rare usage of the word Koh and interprets it as an allusion to a previous use of the word. (15:5) “Koh Yihyeh Zaracha-So shall be your seed.” which began with the same word. Hashem is promising Avraham's descendants will be as numerous as the stars. So he is saying let’s go see what will be with that promise of Yitzchok's descendants. When Sarah told Avraham to expel Hagar and Yishmael, it troubled him greatly. His characteristic was mainly Chesed. To do this to a member of his own family was a tremendous test for him. Hashem spoke to him and said (21:12) “Al Yirah B’eynecha al-Hanar-Ki B’Yitzchok Yikarai Lecha Zorah-Do not become distressed over the lad, because through Yitzchak will your seed continue.” Actually there never would have been any descendants of Avraham had they not gone through with this test. According to the Ohr H’Chaim originally Yitzchok was born with a female Neshama and could not have had children. According to the Chidah this was due to the fact that Sarah laughed at the news of her giving birth. At the time of the Akeida Yitzchok’s female Neshama left him and was replaced with a Neshama of a male. So it comes out that had they not gone through with this test there never would have been any descendants of Avraham. The words “V’Elokim Nisa es-Avraham-Hashem tested Avraham” equal 878 in gematria. The same value as the words “Ki B’Yitzchok Yikara Lecha Zorah-Through Yitzchok will your seed continue.” (Kolel)
(22:5) “V’ani V’hanar Nailcha Ad-Koh-I and the lad will go Yonder.” We find that Yitzchok here is called “H’Nar” even though he was 37 years old at this point? Perhaps we can say that since every place in the Torah that the word Naarah is written it is always spelled without the letter “Hey” at the end. At this point Yitzchok had not yet received his male Neshama therefore the word can correctly be read as Naarah and be referring to the female Yitzchok. (Nireh Li)
Why was it that Yitzchok had to go through this transformation of souls? It could be that since Yitzchok was the first child born of two Jewish parents, and this was the formation of the Jewish nation, there had to be a rectification of the first man. The first man was created both male and female. Therefore the rectification of man had to have also once been both male and female. (Nireh Li)
(21:12) “Ki B’Yitzchok Yikarai Lecha Zorah-because through Yitzchak will your seed continue.” The word B’Yitzchok can be understood as two Yitzchaks. The one before the Akeidah and the one after. The one before became Rivka, the one after was now able to father children.
(22:13) “Vayikach es-Ho’Ayil Valehu Tachas Benoe-And he took the ram and brought it up as an offering instead of his son.” Often we find when the word tachas is used in a posuk that we look to the letters underneath the word that follows. Like the phrase “Ayin Tachas Ayin-An eye for an eye.” The letters that follow after the letters of the word Ayin spell Kesef-Money, meaning that we don’t actually take an eye but rather the value of an eye. Perhaps here too we can look at the letters that follow (Tachas) in the word Benoe. They equal 70 in gematria, the same numerical value as Adom V’Chava.
(22:7) “Vayomer Yitzchok el-Avraham-Aviv, Vayomer Hineini Beni-Yitzchok said to Avraham-father, and he said Here I am my son.” It seems odd that after traveling for three days Yitzchok should now say “father” and Avraham answers “here I am my son”? The Oznayim L’Torah writes that after gathering the wood and the flame for the sacrifice, Yitzchok suddenly begins to notice something strange. There is no animal here to offer. He looks to his father in what is the only exchange recorded in the Torah between these two patriarchs, and he says “father” are you still the father who loves me? Avraham replies, “Here I am MY SON” you are still a son to me. I still love you but Hashem will provide for the sacrifice and they both went together. They were together on this mission.
The Zohar writes the Yitzchok was asking if Avraham still had the Midah of Rachamim. To which Avraham replied Hineini Beni-Now I have taken on the Midah of my son that of Din.
(22:12) “Vayomer Al Tishlach Yodcha-And He said “Do not touch the Lad.” Who said? Hashem told Avraham to bring Yitzchok up as an offering, now an angel comes and tells him to desist? Whom should he listen to, Hashem or the angel? How ever R.Avraham Davis, in the Metzuda Chumash inserts in brackets “He [G-D] said” based on a Midrash.
(22:13) “Vayisa Avraham es-Aynov Vayar V’henei-Ayil Achar Nechaz Basavach- Avraham lifted his eyes and behold, he saw a ram afterwards caught in the thicket.” It would seem that the word Achar (afterward) in this posuk is extra? The Shelah writes that on the sixth day of creation all of the animals were created. But this ram was one of the ten things created erev Shabbos right before nightfall. So this ram was created after/Achar all the other animals. It was created after the chet of Adam. Avraham knew that this ram was unique and therefore offered it in place of his son. How did Avraham know this? This ram had no belly button; it was not born from a womb, but rather created by Hashem.
(22:13) “Vayisa Avraham es-Aynov Vayar V’henei-Ayil Achar Nechaz Basavach- Avraham lifted his eyes and behold, he saw a ram afterwards caught in the thicket.” When we have the word Acher in a verse we may look to the letters that follow. In this case if we look at the letters Acher/following the word Savach we come up with the word Eigel. In the future Klkal Yisroel will get caught up with the sin of the Eigel and the merits of the Akeidaˆ will be able to rescue them. (Pardes Yosef)
The Mishneh in Avos tells us that this Ram was one of the ten things created right before Shabbos. The left horn was made into a shofar that was used for Matan Torah.(Rashi Shemos 19:13) The right horn will be the shofar used to herald the coming of Moshiach. (Pirkei D’Rebbe Eliezer 31) These two monumental events in human history are both tied to the Akeidah. What is so special about this ram that it necessitated being created at the dawn of time? Also why was it necessary at all? Avraham was to be tested to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son, he passed that test. But we see that as soon as the Malach told Avraham not to kill Yitzchok he said, “I have come for nothing! Let me at least make a wound.” We learn from here how every human action has two phases. First there is the thought, the conceptual stage, and then the action. The first stage is the abstract, spiritual stage, the potential to become a reality. Then there is the action, the physical manifestation of the potential into reality. This is man’s mission in the world, to bring the spiritual into the physical. By Hashem these acts occur simultaneously. Hashem’s thoughts become reality at the same moment. But there are ten exceptions to this rule. The ten things that were created erev Shabbos were suspended as potential until the time where they would be needed and transformed into a state of actuality. There was a potential for a Matan Torah, there is a potential for Moshiach to come. Avraham wanted to give a reality to the potential he had of being willing to sacrifice his son. He wished to at least make a wound to concretize that potential. All of these ten things were created to enable man to ultimately return to the source, to the spiritual. The Sefas Emes writes that the Ten Mamorous was uttered at the beginning of creation; the ten things created Erev Shabbos completed the creation. The physical world was brought into being at the start but there had to be a spiritual connection to the source. Shabbos was the goal of creation. Therefore at the onset of the first Shabbos of creation the connections to the spiritual world had to be set in order to ultimately bring the world back to its source, to its purpose. This is what Avraham hoped to accomplish through the sacrifice of this ram.
The Akeidah is depicted as the apex of the ten trials that Avraham faced. Why is it any greater than his willingness to give up his life when Nimrod threw him into the furnace? In the sefer Panim Yafes it talks about the contradictions that Avraham faced. On the one hand Hashem promised him that through Yitzchak his seed would continue. But on the other hand, here he is asked to sacrifice his only heir? A major contradiction! Yet Avraham never second guessed Hashem’s word. We see this theme throughout the ten trials. Hashem said “Lech Lecha” leave your home and family and then he causes a famine, which forces Avraham to go down to Egypt. But Avraham never questions Hashem’s motives. This is the essence of what serving Hashem is. This is the Tikun of the Chet of Adom, for he too was faced with a dilemma, but unlike Avraham he did second-guess Hashem. Avraham’s ten trials proved that his descendants are worthy to carry on his mission of correcting Adom’s sin.
(22:20) “Vayehe Acharei Hadevorim Ha’Ayleh- After these events.” It’s interesting to note that immediately after the incident of the Akeida, of Yitzchok losing his female neshama, the birth of Rivka is brought into the picture. It could be that this was the Neshama that left Yitzchok at the Akeida. The number of words in the entire parsha of the Akeida equals 307 the same as the numerical value of the name Rivka.
(22:20) “Vayehe Acharei Hadevorim Ha’Ayleh- After these events.” We find these words at the end of this week’s parsha. The word Vayehe always denotes some form of sadness. They go on to record the birth of Nachor’s children. At the time of Yitzchok’s birth we have learned that many women that could not previously conceive became pregnant. At this crossroads of Jewish history, at the birth of the first child born from two Jewish parents, the first link in a chain that would lead mankind back to Adom before the Chet a tremendous element of Kiddusha was being introduced into the world. To counterbalance this event there had to be an element of Tumeh introduced into the world at the same time. The posuk says that Nachaor’s wife Milka gave birth to Kimuel. The name means Kimu-El, to rise up against Hashem. The Midrash relates that this birth produced Billem.