by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS LECH L'CHO 5768 BS"D
Ch. 12, v. 2: "Ve'h'yei brochoh" - And you will be a blessing - Rashi comments that although all the Patriarchs are included in the first blessing of the "amidoh," the closing of the blessing only contains Avrohom's name, "B'cho chosmin v'lo bo'hem." Rabbi Shimon Shkop interprets this in light of historical events that began to develop in his days. Each of our Patriarchs has a character trait in which he excelled beyond the others. Avrohom was unique in that he was brought up in a home devoid of belief in the true Hashem. He was thus a true seeker and finder of the spiritual truth, commonly known as a "baal teshuvoh." This is the intention of "b'cho chosmin." At the end of days, the "chasimoh," it will be Avrohom's trait that will bring Moshiach, the teshuvoh movement.
Ch. 12, v. 3: "Vaavorcho m'vorachecho" - And I will bless those who bless you - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that this refers to the future, when Kohanim will bless the bnei Yisroel. I will bless them. It seems to follow that his understanding of the words, "Vaani avoracheim" in Bmidbar 6:27 is that Hashem will bless the Kohanim. There are those who explain that it means, I, Hashem, will likewise bless the recipients of the Kohanim's blessing.
Ch. 12, v. 3: "Vaavorcho m'vorachecho" - And I will bless those who bless you - The Baal Haturim says that these words have the same numerical value as, "Kohanim hamvorchin bo'necho." This is off by 2. Shaa'rei Aharon suggests that the correct wording in the Baal Haturim should be "Beis (the letter Beis) Kohanim hamvorchin bo'necho" (see gemara Sotoh 38 for clarification of the significance of 2 Kohanim who bless).
This is most logical, as the Baal Haturim continues by saying that this is why "m'vorachEcho" is in the plural.
Ch. 12, v. 4: "Va'yeilech ito Lote" - And Lote went along with him - Lote was not motivated by Hashem's command to go to Eretz Yisroel. He only went to stay with Avrohom. (M.R., Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
This can be derived from the order of the words "va'yeilech ito Lote," and not "va'yeilech Lote ito." "Ito" appearing first indicates that in the main he went to stay with Avrohom, and not because of going to the Holy Land. (Tiferres Tzion) The Malbim says that even his connection with Avrohom was not total, as the verse says "ito" and not "imo."
All of these offering explain Lote's going along with Avrohom. Why was Avrohom willing to allow Lote to escort him? The Holy Zohar says that it was because Avrohom saw through ruach haKodesh that King Dovid would be his descendant.
The Holy Zohar says that he stuck with Avrohom to learn from his exalted behaviour, but he did not actually learn a lot from him.
Ch. 12, v. 8,9: "Vayikra b'shem Hashem, Va'yisa Avrom holoch v'noso'a ha'negboh" - And he called out in the name of Hashem, And Avrom traveled going and traveling southward - As pointed out by the Kesef Mishneh, Avrohom not only taught belief in Hashem to those who came to him for guidance, but he also went out and taught the public. This might be the intention of these words. Avrom built an altar for Hashem's sake and called out belief in Hashem. He was not satisfied with the resultant success. He continuously traveled and did the same wherever there was a community that was DRY, lacking belief, "holoch v'noso'a haNEGBOH." (Nirreh li)
Ch. 12, v. 10: "Va'yeired Avrom Mitzreimoh" - And Avrom descended to Egypt - The Ramban takes Avrohom to task for descending to Egypt and not fully trusting in Hashem, and for endangering Soroh. The Rambam, Tur, and others disagree with the Ramban, and say that he acted properly. Actually, these two opinions are already a disagreement between two Tano'im, Rabbi Yehudoh and Rabbi Shimon. You can find this in the Holy Zohar on our parsha.
Ch. 12, v. 17: "Va'y'naga Hashem es Paroh n'go'im g'dolim v'es beiso" - And Hashem smote Paroh with great smiting and his household - Had the intention of these words been that both Paroh and the members of his household were punished with great smiting the verse would have said, "Va'y'naga Hashem es Paroh v'es beiso n'go'im g'dolim." By singling out Paroh for "n'go'im g'dolim" and then mentioning his household, it is clear that only Paroh received "n'go'im g'dolim," and his household received just "n'go'im." Had everyone received an equal punishment, the Egyptians might have incorrectly attributed it to happenstance. Paroh's receiving a punishment "a la mode" and everyone else a lesser punishment was a clear sign that this was Heavenly invoked. (Sforno)
However, Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter 26 says that the "n'go'im g'dolim" came upon all the Egyptians. Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer adds that this took place on the night of the fifteenth of Nison.
Ch. 13, v. 2: "V'Avrom ko'veid m'ode bamikneh ba'kesef uvazohov" - And Avrom was heavily loaded with cattle with silver and with gold - Until now Avrohom was very poor. One might think that now that he received a lot of wealth he felt that his life had changed greatly for the better. However, the exact opposite was true. He was exceedingly burdened, "ko'veid m'ode," with the responsibility inherent in having wealth and using it properly. (Shomati)
If the sudden wealth was such an awesome burden, why didn't he simply discard it or give it to the first person who was willing to take it?
Note that our verse does not say, "b'mikneh, b'chesef, uv'zohov," but rather, "bAmikneh, bA'kesef, uvAzohov." Each of these three types of items is expressed with a definitive Hei, expressed as a "pasach" rather than a "shvo." Avrohom understood that Hashem placed these items into his possession to use them properly. This was not happenstance. These items were uniquely for his use and spiritual development. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 15, v. 8: "Bamoh eida ki iroshenoh" - With what will I know that I will inherit it - Avrohom was not questioning Hashem's promise. Rather, he was concerned with the possible lack of interest by his descendants in coming back to live in the Holy Land after they have become acclimated to "golus" and its perceived conveniences and pleasures. To this Hashem responded in verse 13 that the bnei Yisroel will be treated as sojourners and foreigners in their host countries. They will surely want to return to their own land. (Shomati)
Ch. 16, v. 8: "Va'yomar Hogor shifchas Sorai" - And he said, Hogor Sorai's maidservant - Why is it necessary to convey this information? It is well-known from verse 1.
1) To teach us that she merited to have an angel appear to her and also speak with her in the merit of being Sorai's maidservant (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
2) The angel was conveying to her that although she ran away, she will return and will always be a maidservant to Avrohom's family. This will also be true at the end of days, when her descendants will again become servants to Avrohom's descendants. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
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