by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YEIRO 5762 BS"D
Ch. 18, v. 1: "Va'yeiro eilov Hashem" - The Yalkut Reuvaini brings in the name of the Sodei Rozo that when a person is in great physical pain one should not address him by his name. He cites a proof from these words of our verse, where Avrohom was in pain after going through the circumcision process, and the pronoun "him," is used in the prepositional-pronoun composite word "eilov."
I have much difficulty in understanding the proof because the Torah is not quoting a statement anyone made, but rather, is relating what happened. Thus even had the verse said, "And Hashem appeared to Avrohom," there would be no indication that Avrohom was called by name as a noun of direct address. If so, when his name is not used, there is no indication either way.
Ch. 18, v. 5: "V'ekchoh fas lechem" - The Baal Haturim points out that the word "V'ekchoh" is a reverse acronym of "Ha'teir Chaguroh Kodem Achiloh Ush'sioh." "Pas lechem" is an acronym for "Pen Tovo L'Choli Mei'ayim." This is quoted in other commentators but I have not found this in the Baal Haturim or in Tur Ho'oruch.
Ch. 18, v. 20,21: "Zaakas S'dome vaAmoroh ki raboh v'chatosom ki chovdoh m'ode, kolloh" - The Ramban on 19:5 d.h. "v'da" writes that numerous other communities throughout the world were as sinful and depraved as were S'dome and Amoroh. The reason Hashem visited such permanent severe devastation upon these particular communities was because they were located in Eretz Yisroel. Sinning in Eretz Yisroel allows for only limited patience and tolerance. The Holy Land cannot tolerate people who act in an abominable manner, acting badly towards Hashem and towards their fellow man, since the Holy Land is Hashem's palace. Thus the land must vomit them from within its midst. This serves as a warning for the bnei Yisroel who would later occupy Eretz Yisroel, as recorded in Dvorim 29:22, "Gofris vo'melach sreifoh chol artzoh .. k'mah'peichas S'dome vaAmoroh Admoh u'Tz'voyim asher hofach Hashem b'apo uvachamoso."
Ch. 19, v. 4: "V'anshei ho'ir anshei S'dome .. kol ho'om mikotzeh" - Horav Y.D. Babad brings a proof from the Mechilta of Rashb"i on Shmos 22:30 that the word "anoshim" does not mean "people" in general, including women, but rather that it specifically means "men." The Medrash says on the words "V'anshei kodesh t'h'yun li" that "anshei" refers to men. How do we know that women are included? We know this from the word "t'h'yun." We clearly see that "anshei" alone refers only to men.
It seems that we have a proof from here as well. Our verse states that the "anshei" S'dome and the youth, "minaar" surrounded the house. What is added by saying "kol ho'om?" It seems that only women can be added to those already specifically mentioned. Thus we see that the word "anshei" refers only to men.
Ch. 19, v. 16: "B'chemlas Hashem olov" - Targum Onkeles translates "b'chemlas" as "kircham." There is another text in Targum Onkeles of "kad chos." What is the difference between "rachamim" and "chemloh?" Later in our parsha, on the words "u'l'nini u'l'nechdi" (21:23), Rashi (M.R. 54:2) comments that the mercy of a father, "racha'mei ho'ov al ha'ben," extends to grandchildren. Rabbeinu Bachyei on Shmos 34:7 writes that "rachamim" extends to grandchildren, while "chemloh" extends one generation further. I have difficulty in understanding this difference, as we find the word form "chemloh" in Shmos 2:6, where Bisyoh the daughter of Paroh came upon Moshe cast into the river in a basket, where the verse says, "v'hi'nei naar bocheh vaTACHAMOL olov." As well, there are numerous other places where the word form "chemloh" is used and mercy upon great-grandchildren does not apply. An analysis of those verses seems to indicate that "chemloh" is a form of mercy where there is impending danger at hand. The word form "chisoyon" mentioned earlier in one text of the Targum Onkeles seems to mean protection.
Ch. 20, v. 3: "V'hee b'ulas bo'al" - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel translates these words as "v'hee m'vaalo ligvar," meaning that she has been dominated by a man. However, in Dvorim 22:22 on the words "im ishoh v'ulas baal" he translates "itas g'var," the wife of a man. Rabbeinu Bachyei writes that Avrohom divorced Soroh for fear that something might happen to him and she would not know if she had the status of a widow. However, since this divorce was the result of fear and not totally of his own volition, the divorce was not totally proper. She thus only had the status of being quasi-divorced. Therefore the Targum Yonoson ben Uziel translates the words "v'hee b'ulas bo'al" in our verse as a woman who is dominated by a man. In Dvorim the situation of the married woman is that of a totally married woman, hence its translation is "the wife of a man." (Rabbi Y.D. Babad of Busk)
Ch. 21, v. 8: "Va'yaas Avrohom mishteh godol b'yom hi'go'meil es Yitzchok" - Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer ch. #29, Machazor Vitri page #630, and Rabbeinu Bachyei on our verse say that this is a source for making a festive meal on the day of having one's son circumcised ("b'yom higo'meil" can be read as "b'yome Hei-Gimel" (5+3 = 8th day). The Ram"o on Y.D. #265:12 says that the meal on the Friday evening after the birth of a male child is considered a "seudas mitzvoh." The Pis'chei Teshuvoh writes that the meal on the eve of a circumcision is not considered a "seudas mitzvoh." Some make a festive meal once their son has safely passed the third day since his circumcision, as there is an opinion that the third day after the circumcision is the most dangerous after such a procedure. The concept of a meal of thanksgiving for safely emerging from a dangerous situation is dealt with in the gemara Brochos 46a.
Rashi on our verse says that this was the day Yitzchok was weaned from nursing. The Rada"k says that when a child is weaned from nursing, i.e. has reached two years old he is ready to be taught the letters of the Alef Beis. This is the intention of our Rabbis when they say that a child of three years of age (two years and a day) is ready for letters. The Machazor Vitri siman #508 says that when one starts teaching his child Torah he should make as festive a meal as he made for the child's circumcision.
Rabbi Hoshei'a Rabbo says that our verse refers to the day Yitzchok was weaned from the evil inclination (he received his "yetzer hatov"), the day he became a bar mitzvoh (See Ram"o on O.Ch. #225). The Holy Zohar on parshas Breishis page 15b comments on the verse in Shir Hashirim 3:11, "b'yom chasunoso uvyom simchas libo," that this refers to the day that one's son becomes a bar mitzvoh, and that "chovoso al tzadikayo l'me'evad chedvoso d'libo k'yoma d'salik l'chupoh," - that the righteous should rejoice on the day their sons become bar mitzvoh as the day that their sons enter the chupoh. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai himself exhibited such joy on the day of his son Rabbi Elozor's bar mitzvoh (page 10b).
A meal made for the occasion of redemption of a first born son is a "seudas mitzvoh" and partaking of the meal is equated to having fasted 84 fasts; "pidyom" can be read as "Pei-Dalet yom."
Rabbi Yossi gave a festive meal on the day that he turned 60 years of age (gemara Mo'eid Koton 28a), as he reached the age of not being liable for the punishment of excision of years (but was still open to liability for excision of days).
The meal given at a wedding is the responsibility of the groom (mishneh K'subos 5:2) and is a "seudas mitzvoh."
A "seudoh" given on the occasion of moving into a new home is dealt with in the Medrash Tanchuma on parshas Breishis and in the responsa B'eir Sheva #70. Pis'chei Teshuvoh on Y.D. #217 deals with its status as a "seudas mitzvoh." A "seudas siyum" is sourced in the Medrash Shir Hashirim from King Shlomo at the completion of the building of the Beis Hamikdosh, "Va'yaas mishteh l'chol avodov" (M'lochim 1:3:15). Rabbi Elozor derives from this that one offers a festive meal upon the completion of the Torah.
Ch. 22, v. 12: "Al tishlach yodcho el hanaar" - The Chid"o in Machazik Brochoh 219:1,2,3 says that the Holy Gaon Rabbi Eliezer Nochum asked Horav Yitzchok Z'rachioh Azuloi, the father of the Chid"o, if Yitzchok made "birkas hagomeil" after he barely escaped being slaughtered. Horav Yitzchok Z'rachioh responded that he did not do so since the exercise of the Akeidoh was done as a response to Hashem's command. Rabbi Eliezer Nochum disagreed with him, but added that the text of the blessing was in whatever form Yitzchok saw fit, as our Rabbis had not yet instituted a fixed text.
Ch. 22, v. 12: "Ki y'rei Elokim attoh" - The gemara B.B. 15b says that the praises STATED by Iyov exceed those STATED here by Avrohom. Here it only says that Avrohom was a "y'rei Elokim," while by Iyov (1:1) it states, "Ish tam v'yoshor v'yo'rei Elokim v'sor mei'ra," numerous other praises beyond just "yo'rei Elokim." Are we to understand that Iyov was much greater than Avrohom? Horav M.M. Shach shlit"a answers that all the other praises mentioned by Iyov were included in Avrohom's complete and in-depth "yiras Elokim." Iyov's praises were departmentalized attributes, one independent of the other. Having all these positive attributes included in "yiras Elokim" is akin to one large diamond of numerous carats of weight. Separate attributes not building a unified "yiras Elokim" are like numerous separate diamonds. It is obvious that a 5 carat diamond is significantly more valuable than 5 one carat diamonds.
Perhaps another answer can be offered. Avrohom was praised to his face by the angel, so the rule of "miktzas shvocho b'fonov" (see Rashi 7:1) applies. The verse praising Iyov was not said to his face, thus all his praises may by STATED. Thus the gemara tells us that by IYOV, that which was STATED is greater, but by no means is it telling us that in fact Iyov was greater.
Ch. 22, v. 12: "Ki y'rei Elokim attoh v'lo chosachto es bincho es y'chid'cho MI'MENI" - Avrohom did not hold back his son from Hashem, rather than not from the angel. If so, what is meant by MI'MENI? The Sforno answers that the word MI'MENI is dangling and follows "ki y'rei Elokim attoh, MI'MENI." You have greater fear of Elokim than I, an angel, have, as demonstrated by your willingness to sacrifice your son. The GR"A answers that the angel was able to attest to Avrohom's great fear of Hashem from the angel's self. The mishneh in Pirkei Ovos (4:11) says that when a person does a mitzvoh he creates an angel. This angel was the one created through Avrohom's fulfilling Hashem's command. The robustness of the angel attested to Avrohom's great fear of Hashem.
Ch. 22, v. 21: "Es Utz b'choro" - The Zoho'rei Chamoh on parshas Bo writes that Iyov was the son of Utz, as indicated in the beginning of the book of Iyov (1:1), "Ish hoyoh b'eretz UTZ." He writes that when Avrohom sacrificed the ram in place of his son Yitzchok, he requested of Hashem, "Please promise me that you will test me no further." Hashem actually had in mind to further test him, but acquiesced to Avrohom's request. At that moment Iyov was born and the future tribulations and pains to which Avrohom would have been subjected were transferred to Iyov. See M.R. 57:3 which mentions some of the points written in the Zoho'rei Chamoh.
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See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha
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