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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 12, v. 1: "El ho'oretz asher a'reko" - Rashi explains that Hashem did not disclose the intended destination to Avrom so as to give him reward for each time He spoke to him, "al kol dibur v'dibur." Where were there additional messages to Avrom regarding his travels? Rabbi Yonoson Eibeschitz in Tiferes Yonoson answers that as Avrom set out on his trek, at every possible intersection or choice of path, Hashem spoke to him, telling him to go to the right, left, or forward. Thus, had Hashem at the outset told him his destination, only one communication would have sufficed. But by not disclosing the destination, Hashem spoke to Avrom numerous times, allowing him to receive a reward for complying with each bit of directional guidance, the ultimate celestial "triptik."

The Mahari"l Diskin says that he received no further communique, but his purity of heart and sanctity brought his body to be drawn to the Holy Land. This does explain the term "al kol p'sioh uf'sioh," that Avrom received a reward for each "footstep" (M.R. 39:1), but not the expression "al kol dibur v'dibur" (M.R. 39:9).

The Baal Haturim points out that the word "a'reko" has the numerical value of 222, the same as "bo'anonim," - with clouds, to indicate that Hashem sent clouds ahead of Avrom to guide him to the intended destination.

Ch. 12, v. 3: "Vaavorchoh m'vorachecho" - On the words in Bmidbar 6:27, "vaani avoracheim," Rashi brings two opinions. One is that Hashem is saying that when the Kohanim bless the bnei Yisroel, Hashem will agree with the Kohanim and He will give His blessing to the bnei Yisroel. In his second explanation Rashi says that Hashem will bless the Kohanim who entreat Hashem to bless the bnei Yisroel. On the words "Vaavorchoh m'vorachecho" of our verse, Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that Hashem will bless the Kohanim who spread their hands in prayer and bless the bnei Yisroel, seeming to go along with the second explanation of Rashi on "vaani avoracheim."

Ch. 12, v. 7: "Va'yei'ro Hashem el Avrom .. laShem hanir'eh eilov" - In verse 1 we find that Hashem addressed Avrom, but no mention that Hashem "appeared" to Avrom, a higher level of communication. Only when Avrom entered the Holy Land did Hashem appear to him in a higher level. This is the intention of the words "el ho'oretz asher A'REKO," - to the land where I will APPEAR to you, not only speak to you. (Yismach Moshe)

Ch. 13, v. 7,8: "Va'y'hi riv bein ro'ei miknei Avrom u'vein ro'ei miknei Lote, Al noh s'hi m'rivoh beini u'vei'necho u'vein ro'ai u'vein ro'echo" - Verse 7 tells us of an argument between the shepherds of Avrom and those of Lote. Verse 8 involves Avrom and Lote in the argument as well. The Holy Admor of Satmar explains that Lote was willing to allow his shepherds to steal to increase his wealth. However, he did this covertly, having his shepherds do the "dirty work," and he seemed to be an honest individual. Avrohom responded by telling Lote that he fully understood his intention of being a silent partner in crime. Since they were relatives (Rashi's first explanation of "achim anochnu") people would assume that Avrom also condoned such behaviour. He therefore told Lote that they must part ways, thus showing all clearly that Avrom was an honest individual.

Ch. 13, v. 8: "Al noh s'hi m'rivoh beini u'vei'necho .. ki anoshim achim anochnu" - Rashi (M.R. 41:6) says that "achim" means that they were identical in appearance. The Chasam Sofer asks, "Why is this a reason for their argument to come to an end? If they were of different appearance from each other would it then be appropriate to continue bickering?" He answers that once the shepherds of Avrom realized that Lote's shepherds would not comply with their requests to not graze in the fields belonging to others, they rightfully could have stopped reminding them that they should not steal. However, as is known from the gemara B.M. 87a, people did not show exterior signs of aging until the end of Avrohom's life. Thus when the owners of fields who saw Lote's shepherds allowing Lote's sheep to graze in their fields would meet Avrom, and thinking that he was Lote, as their appearance was identical, including the appearance of being of similar age, they would give Avrom a tongue lashing. This was an ongoing occurrence. This continual nuisance pushed Avrom into complaining to Lote. Thus their identical appearance pushed Avrom into arguing with Lote, and Avrom told him, "Let there not be ongoing quibbling between us BECAUSE we are of similar appearance.

Ch. 13, v. 14: "VaShem omar el Avrom acha'rei hipo'reid Lote mei'imo" - Rashi points out that as long as the "rosho" (Lote) was with Avrom, the DIBUR, the word of Hashem, was removed from Avrom. Why doesn't Rashi simply say that Hashem's Holy Spirit (shechinoh) was removed? Rabbi Ovadioh of Bartenura asks, "Since Rashi (Breishis 19:24) explains that the term 'VaShem' always refers to Hashem and His celestial court, how do we apply this to our verse?" He answers that the medrash says that the angels said to Hashem that when Avrohom would go out to do battle against the four kings who captured Lote, Avrohom should die by the sword because of his associating with Lote. Hashem responded that Avrohom should be free of the death penalty and should be inscribed for life. This was the judgement of Hashem and His celestial court. It is obvious that the claim of the angels lasted only as long as Avrohom associated with Lote, but once Lote left Avrohom and went his own way, there was no complaint from the angels. We can now interpret our Rashi to say that as long as Avrom was together with Lote, the DIBUR, a term used for strict ruling, separated from Avrom, meaning that there was a claim that Avrom should be punished but Hashem overruled it. However, once Lote left, "Vashem OMAR, a term used for talking with mercy, because at that point there were no more accusations against Avrom. (Rabbi Y.D. Babad of Busk)

Ch. 13, v. 14: "VaShem omar el Avrom acha'rei hipo'reid Lote mei'IMO" - In 12:4 we find "Va'yei'lech ITO Lote," and yet shortly thereafter, "Va'yei'ro Hashem el Avrom va'yomer" (12:7). If as Rashi says, Hashem did not communicate with Avrom as long as he associated with Lote, how do we explain the words in 12:7? Perhaps we can say that Avrom's affiliation with Lote in 12:4 was an ITO relationship. This means that they were together, but not united in mind and soul. This limited relationship was not an impediment to Hashem's communicating with Avrom. Later, this developed into an IMO relationship, united in purpose, (This nuance of difference is pointed out by the Riv"o Baal Tosfos in his commentary on Rashi Breishis 37:18, on the words "Va'yisnaklu OSO l'hamiso," where Rashi says, "K'mo ITO IMO, klomar EILOV." As well, much has been written about this in Sedrah Selections parshas Bolok 5758) as pointed out in our verse, "acha'rei hipo'reid Lote mei'IMO," that Lote left an IMO relationship.

This change took place when they returned to Eretz Yisroel from Egypt, as is written in 13:1, "Va'yaal Avrom miMitzrayim .. v'Lote IMO." At this point they were not only together in their travels and residence, but also emotionally close. Perhaps this was the result of Lote's cooperation in not revealing that Sorai was Avrom's wife (see Rashi on Breishis 19:29). It was only when they were in close association that Hashem separated Himself from Avrom.

Ch. 14, v. 19,20: "Boruch Avrom, U'voruch Keil Elyone" - The gemara N'dorim 32b says that since Malki Tzedek blessed Avrom before he blessed Hashem, he lost the opportunity of Kehunoh, priesthood, coming directly from him, and it was given instead to Avrom, as indicated by the words in T'hilim 110:4, "Attoh Chohein l'olom al divrosi Malki Tzedek." Rashi on that verse explains this to mean leadership to guide the world. There is a practical application of this concept. When one has a glass of wine or whiskey upon which he is about to make a "brochoh" and also wants to bless someone with a "l'chaim," he should not say "l'chaim" and then make the "brochoh,' but rather, make the "brochoh," sip a bit and then give the "l'chaim" blessing. That way he has blessed Hashem first.

However, the Nachalas Yaakov, the Lisser Rov, qualifies this. The gemara Shabbos 67b states that Rabbi Akiva would say, "'Wine and life' to the mouth of the Rabbis, 'life and wine' to the mouths of the Rabbis and their students." He understands this to mean that when one is among Rabbis who are his equals he would say WINE first, i.e. the blessing over wine first, and then bless the Rabbis with LIFE. When there are Rabbis and students present, the students should say the blessing of LIFE first to their Rabbis, out of deference to their great stature, and (the blessing over) WINE afterwards.

Ch. 14, v. 23: "Im michut v'ad sroch naal" - The gemara Chulin 89a says that in the merit of Avrom's saying "michut," - even a thread, the bnei Yisroel merited to have the mitzvoh of tzitzis threads on their four-cornered garments, and in the merit of his saying "v'ad sroch naal," - even a leather shoe string, they merited to have the mitzvoh of binding their tefillin with leather straps, "r'tzu'os." The basic halacha is that one should put on his talis before donning his tefillin. However, because of the rule of "ein maavirin al mitzvos," - one may not pass up a mitzvoh that he wants to do that is close at hand to do a mitzvoh that is at a distance, if one's tefillin are closer at hand than his talis, he should bind his tefillin upon himself before his talis, which is further away. However, some halachic authorities, among them Rabbeinu Yosef Chaim, say that one should always put his talis on first, so that he is an "ish mitzuyotz," a "tzitzis" donned person, who puts on his tefillin. The Malbim explains that this is why halachic authorities apply the rule of "maalin bakodesh" to explain why the talis should always be put on first. In any case, there might be an allusion to this halachic opinion in our verse, by virtue of its mentioning "chut" = "tzitzis" before "sroch naal" = tefillin.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha

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