Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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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 explain?

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. (Abarbanel)

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 Yitzchok)


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 Bachyei)

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. (Sforno)

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 T'hilim #124)



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

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