CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHIOS LECH L'CHO 5767 - BS"D
1) Ch. 12, v. 5: "Va'yeitzu lo'leches artzoh K'naan" - Since Hashem did not
clearly dictate where to go, why did Avrohom set his sights on Canaan?
2) Ch. 12, v. 19: "Lomoh omarto achosi hee" - Why does Avrohom explain his
misleading words to Avimelech in 20:12, "V'gam omnoh achosi vas ovi hee," and by
very similar circumstances here with Paroh (12:19) he makes no attempt to
3) Ch. 14, v. 14: "Va'yirdof ad Don" - Avrohom had a puny army in relation to
the massive and powerful army of the four victorious kings. What right did he
have to place his life in severe danger?
4) Ch. 14, v. 15: "Va'yeicho'leik a'leihem lailoh" - Who/what split?
5) Ch. 16, v. 12: "Perre odom" - How are these words to be translated?
1) Hashem said "asher a'reko." He put an intuition into Avrohom's heart.
2) A cloud led the way.
3) He knew that the air of the land lends itself to giving wisdom to its
inhabitants, "Avira d'Yisroel machkim." (Abarbanel)
4) Malki Tzedek, who was of like mind and values lived there. (Abarbanel)
5) Avrohom was aware of Hashem's direct intervention in happenings in Eretz
Yisroel, contrary to other lands, where there is angelic intervention.
6) Avrohom received a promise that he would be the patriarch of a large
nation. He assumed that they would live in one land, which would be their own.
Since Canaan was cursed to be subordinate to his brothers, Avrohom assumed that
Canaan's land would become his, "Mah shekonoh evved konoh rabo." (Toldos
1) Sifsei Chachomim (Maharsha"l) answers that only there did Avrohom have to
explain himself because Avimelech asked his question twice, clearly
necessitating an answer.
2) Perhaps another answer will emerge by prefacing with the famous words of
the Ramban on Breishis 12:6, "Kol mah she'ira l'ovos simon labonim" (Tanchuma
#9), - all that happened to the Patriarchs portends what will happen to the
descendants. Avrohom would surely prefer to justify his words, and that is
exactly what he did with Avimelech. He could have done the same and explained
similarly to Paroh. However, he prophetically knew that his descendants would be
exiled to Egypt, and that their leader would request a three-day hiatus from
Egypt to serve Hashem. In the strictest literal form this ended up being a lie.
"Maa'sei ovos" required that he plant a seed through his own dialogue with
Paroh for this to happen. He therefore gave no explanation afterwards so that his
saying that Soroh was his sister should indeed be false. (Nirreh li)
1) This question is raised by the Holy Zohar. He answers that Avrohom armed
himself with a group of body-guards and only planned to redeem Lote with
money. Once he saw that angels came to accompany him he felt that this was a sign
from Heaven to go into combat.
2) Avrohom did not make any such calculations. He simply felt that he had to
do all that was in his power to save his nephew, who accompanied him in his
old age to a foreign land. Had Lote remained in Choron he would not have been
captured. Now Avrohom went all out. (Ramban)
1) Avrohom and his small army split their ranks to pursue the enemy, who
were retreating and running away in different paths. It is as if the verse said,
"Va'yeicho'leik 'hu vaavodov' a'leihem lailoh," a "mikra m'soros." (Rashi)
2) Quite similar to Rashi, but rather than splitting up to chase those who
ran away in different paths, once night came and they ran away as a group,
Avrohom and his army did not know which path to pursue, so they split up, sending
a few on each possible path. (Ramban)
3) The night was split into two for two miracles. The first was here, and
the second would take place in the future, against the Egyptians on the night of
the exodus. (Targum Yonoson ben Uziel, Rashi)
For an expansion of these words of Rashi, see his commentary on T'hilim 110
d.h. "N'um laShem" and "Yodin bagoyim."
4) The night was split into two situations. The first half had the four
kings feeling very secure in their victory, and the second half had them running
for their lives. (Radak)
5) They split up at night to surround their enemy from all sides. ((Ralbag)
6) The night was split into two. One aspect was the normal darkness, which
pervaded the enemy. The other aspect was a miraculous light, for Avrohom and
his army, to allow them to vanquish the four kings. This was a forerunner for
"ulchol bnei Yisroel hoyoh ohr b'moshvosom" (Shmos 10:23). (Rabbeinu Efrayim)
7) Half the night was for pursuit and the other half for battle. (Rabbeinu
The order or the words "va'ya'keim va'yir'd'feim" is a bit problematic.
8) Specifically at night Avrohom's group split up so that the enemy could be
fooled into thinking that he had a large army and/or that he enlisted the
help of other nearby people. (Sforno)
1) A desert dweller (Rashi, Radak)
2) One who is constantly at wars with others (Ramban)
3) A difficult person (Rabbeinu M'yuchos)
4) A foreign trader (Chizkuni)
5) Unbridled, without controls (Ibn Ezra)
6) These two words should be understood as "perre V'odom." He will be as a
wild donkey by virtue of his mother, and a human by virtue of his father.
7) A boor (Medrash Habiur)
8) Brainless (M'ore Ho'a'feiloh)
9) Rebellious (Targum Onkelos)
10) One who injures (Ralbag)
11) One who does not accept authority (Rabbeinu Nisim)
12) A wild savage in a human form (Rabbi Chaim Vi'tal in Eitz Haddas Tov on
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