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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 12, v. 2: "Ve'h'yei brochoh" - And you will be the source of blessing - Rashi explains that Hashem placed the power of blessing into Avrohom's hand. The M.R. says that when Avrohom attempted to sacrifice his son Yitazchok he had the status of a Kohein Godol. Where do we find that he was given this position? Since Avrohom was given the power to bless this is akin to being a Kohein, as Kohanim were to be given the mitzvoh of blessing the bnei Yisroel. As Avrohom was the primary spiritual leader of the world, he was in turn not obly a Kohein, but even the Kohein Godol. (This last point is added to explain why he had precedence over Shem.) (Tzofnas Paa'nei'ach)

Ch. 12, v. 3: "V'niv'r'chu v'cho kole mish'p'chos ho'adomoh" - And all the families of the earth will bless themselves through you - The Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim 3:29 writes that beyond a doubt when Avrohom espoused Monotheism, which ran contrary to the thinking of all others, he was met with derision and curses. Nevertheless, this is the proper path to take, as one is required to endure all these for the sake of spreading the belief in the true and only G-d. This is why the verse says that all who curse you, I will curse. It is obvious that cursing Avrohom would take place.

The Abarbanel adds that likewise, "v'niv'r'chu v'cho KOLE mish'p'chos ho'adomoh" also would take place. Indeed, the majority of the world has embraced the concept of monotheism, the belief therein was pioneered by Avrohom at a time when it was denied by the masses.

It is appropriate to add that the Rambam hilchos avodoh zoroh chapter #1 writes, "At the age of 40 years Avrohom recognized his Creator. He had confrontations and debates with those who opposed his ideology. He broke graven images and began to notify all in a loud voice of his belief." The Raava"d raises the point that Avrohom was not unique in this, as there were also Shem and Eiver. The Kesef Mishneh says that Shem and Eiver only taught those who came to them, while Avrohom spread the word to all. The Migdal Oze says that only Avrohom risked his life for this cause.

Ch. 12, v. 4: "Va'yeilech Avrom kaasher DI'BER eilov Hashem" - And Avrom went just as Hashem spoke to him - In verse 1 we find, "VaYOMER Hashem el Avrom." Why the change from "amiroh" to "dibur"? "Amiroh" is a term for gentleness. Hashem told him to travel and that it would be for his great benefit. Our verse tells us that Avrohom did Hashem's bidding not because of the benefits, but as if the fulfillment of the command would bring only difficulties in its wake, "kaasher DI'BER," he also fully complied. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

Ch. 12, v. 8: "Va'yeit oholO" - And he pitched his tent - "OholO" is spelled with the letter Hei at the end to indicate that Avrohom pitched Soroh's tent ahead of his (Rashi, M.R. 39:15). Avrohom taught men and they converted to belief in Hashem, while Soroh did this for the women. This is why Soroh's tent, Soroh's "Bais Yaakov," came ahead of Avrohom's. It is more important to teach women the right path than it is to teach men, as they have the greater influence upon the next generation. We find the same by the teaching of the Torah, first "Koh somar l'veis Yaakov," and only afterwards, "v'sa'geid livnei Yisroel" (Shmos 19:3). (Yalkut Chamishoi)

Ch. 12, v. 9: "Holoch v'noso'a" - Continuously traveling - The word "holoch" with the letter Vov appears 4 times in the Torah, all in Breishis, here, "holoch v'go'deil (26:13), holoch voshov(8:3), holoch v'chossore" (8:5). We can connect these verses as follows: If one is "holoch v'noso'a," he goes and travels through this world, without feeling it has permanence, then "holoch v'godol," he will proceed to grow greater. If however, he is "holoch voshov," he goes and settles here, then he will be "holoch v'chosor," he will proceed to become spiritually smaller. (Ginzei Ha'melech)

CHASIDIC - Ch. 12, v. 11: "Hi'nei noh yodati ki ishoh y'fas ma'reh ot" - Thoughts of the beauty of his wife were beyond Avrohom. It was only now, when they came close to Egypt, the "ervas ho'oretz," a country that reeked of immorality, and had a negative influence upon Avrohom, causing him to take note of his wife's physical beauty, that he told her it was necessary to take steps to safeguard her from the Egyptians. (The Holy Besh"t)

Ch. 12, v. 15: "Vatukach ho'ishoh beis Paroh" - And the woman was taken to the house of Paroh - The Ramban states the axiom, "maa'sei ovos simon labonim," that which happened to the Patriarchs portends what will take place with the descendants. He adds that this is not to be taken in a general manner, but that it will be fulfilled to the last detail, "lo nofal dovor." It is obvious that we see from this tale that just as Avrohom descended to Egypt and left with great wealth, so too, the bnei Yisroel will do so in the future. Perhaps we can say that just as Soroh taken from her husband, so too, the bnei Yisroel would be forced to separate from their wives, and just as she was not touched by Paroh, so too, the bnos Yisroel would not be misused by the Egyptians, save one woman who brought it upon herself.

Ch. 14, v. 14: "Shmonoh ossor ushlosh mei'os" - Three-hundred and eighteen - Rashi (gemara N'dorim 32a) says that this refers to Eliezer, Avrohom's slave, whose name has the numerical value of 318. This is a most difficult explanation of our verse, as the verse expresses itself in the plural form, "chanichOV, y'lidEI." This is especially puzzling in understanding Rashi, who has set out to explain the Torah in a straightforward "pshuto shel mikra" manner (Breishis 3:8).

Rabbeinu explains that the intention of the gemara is that Avrohom started out with 318 warriors, but they all deserted him, leaving him with only Eliezer.

CHASIDIC - Ch. 14, v. 15: "Va'yeicho'leik a'lei'hem layloh" - The word "va'yeicho'leik can be split (as is the translation of the word itself) into two, "vai," and "yeicho'leik." Woe is to him whose allegiance is split. "A'lei'hem layloh," for them it is night. (Elef Hamo'gein)

Ch. 14, v. 22,23: "Harimosi yodi, Im michut v'ad sroch naal" - I have raised my hand, If from a thread to a shoelace - The man responsible for the financial wellbeing of a Torah institute came to the Holy Admor of Satmar and told him that although he has always refrained from receiving financial aid for his school from the government of his country, which would likely intervene in the curriculum to the spiritual detriment of the institute, it was in such dire straits that he feared he would succumb to the temptation. The Holy Admor advised that he pray to Hashem to withstand this test, just as we find that Avrohom was tested with the king of S'dom's offer and prayed to Hashem to pass the test and decline. This is the intention of "harimosi yodi," which Targum Onkelos explains is lifting his hand in prayer, "a'reimas y'dai bitzlo." (Olomos Shechorvu)

Ch. 14, v. 24: "Bilodai rak asher ochlu han'orim" - It is beyond me only what the youths have consumed - Although Avrohom was stringent with himself to go beyond the letter of the law and not benefit from the spoils of war, he was not stringent with his youths. (Rada"k)

However, he did not allow them to go overboard, and limited what they would receive.

Ch. 15, v. 8: "Bamoh eida ki iroshenoh" - With what shall I know that I will inherit it - The Holy Zohar writes that the merit of circumcision is so great that it gives one the right to live in Eretz Yisroel. He says that this is the merit of some of the bnei Yishmo'eil who reside there.

This is alluded to in the word "eida," whose numerical value is 75, the same as "miloh." (Nirreh li)

Ch. 15, v. 13: "Ki geir y'h'yeh zaracho vaavodum v'inu osom" - Your children will be alien and they will enslave and pain them - "Zaracho" refers to the tribe of Levi, which will only be subjected to being aliens, while "osom" refers to the other tribes, which will suffer from "vaavodum v'inu." (Chein Tov)

Ch. 15, v. 15: "V'atoh tovo el avoshecho b'sholom" - And you will come to your forefathers in peace - The M.R. 38:12 derives from these words that Terach, Avrohom's father, repented. How is this conclusive? Perhaps Terach would not repent, but the merits of Avrohom would protect Terach in his judgment in the world-to-come, as per the gemara Sanhedrin 104a, "A son's good deeds are a merit for his father."

The answer is that the verse says "avosecho," in the plural, not "ovicho." This means that not only Terach, but also his father will have peace in the world-to-come. This can only be explained if we say that Terach will repent and this good deed will be a merit for his father. (Nachal K'dumim)

Ch. 16, v. 2: "Ulay ibo'neh mi'menoh" - Perhaps I will build through her - How would Soroh build a family through Hogor's having children?

1) Soroh would bring them up and instill her values in them.

2) In the merit of bringing up another's child Soroh would merit to have a child of her own.

3) When a woman nurtures and brings up a child it activates her hormones and she more easily will become pregnant. (Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel)



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

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