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by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek


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Parashas Lech Lecha (71)

Abraham, Sarah and Lot traveled through the Land of Canaan. They acquired wealth in the process.

Genesis 13:5

And Lot who went with Abram had flocks and cattle and tents.


Who went with Abram: Rashi: What caused him to have this? His going together with Abram.


A Question: On what basis does Rashi conclude that this was the reason Lot also had possessions ?

What's bothering Rashi?

Your Answer:


An Answer: The words "who went with Abram" are unnecessary, they are redundant. We certainly know that Lot went with Abram. The section begins by telling us that Lot went with Abram ( See verse 12:4).

The fact that the words are repeated here unnecessarily alerts the Torah commentator to find a reason why the Torah did mention them.

This is what was bothering Rashi?

How does his comment explain matters?

Your Answer:


An Answer: Rashi tells us that these words explain a causal relationship. The fact that Lot went with Abram was the reason he became wealthy.

It is interesting to note that after Lot had his wealth he agreed to leave Abraham and go to live in Sodom. It is also interesting to see Abraham's relationship to Lot. After Lot was captured Abraham went out of his way to save him. In short Abraham related to Lot as a person with no ulterior motives in mind. Lot, on the other, hand saw Abraham as a potential source of wealth but did not recognize his greatness.

The Lesson: Commentators, Rashi foremost among them, are sensitive to redundant words or phrases in the Torah. Since the basic assumption is that there are no unnecessary words in the Torah, when we see something that appears unnecessary we search for its message. The rule is "Seek and you shall find."!

Shabbat Shalom
Avigdor Bonchek

"What's Bothering Rashi?" is produced by the Institute for the Study of Rashi and Early Commentaries. The five volume set of "What's Bothering Rashi?" is available at all Judaica bookstores.

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