Chasidic Insights

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 18, v. 1: "V'hu yosheiv pesach ho'o'hel" - Avrohom excelled in making his guests feel so at home that it was as if he were the wayfarer, sitting at the doorway, and not inside. (Admor Rabbi Yaakov Dovid of Amshinov in Kuntres Divrei Torah)

Ch. 18, v. 2: "Va'yiso einov" - We can interpret this verse as a continuum with the previous one. Avrohom was very distraught at not being able to accommodate guests. When in such a state, the Holy Spirit would not appear to him. Thus Hashem appeared to him when he was sitting at the opening of his tent and he lifted his eyes and saw guests. When he saw the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvoh of accommodating guests he was again filled with joy, allowing Hashem to appear to him. (Chasam Sofer)

Ch. 18, v. 3: "Al noh savor mei'al avdecho" - The gemara Shabbos 127 derives from these words that it is a greater feat to greet guests than to receive the Holy Spirit. Why is this so? When one receives his friend or a dignitary as a guest, it is no great feat to treat the guest warmly and kindly, either because of a close relationship or because of the guest's exalted position. However, when one warmly receives the son of his friend, someone with whom he has no relationship, this shows a true concern for his friend. Since we are all "bonim laShem," when we properly accommodate a guest, we show our love for Hashem even more than when we receive Him. (Rabbi Sholom Barzhevski Admor of Slonim mipi hashmuoh)

Ch. 18, v. 23: "V'Avrohom shov limkomo" - Avrohom pleaded at length with Hashem to spare S'dome and its environs (verses 22-32). All his bargaining did not save S'dome and the nearby communities. Rather than being crestfallen and despondent, Avrohom went back to his place, to his former position of serving Hashem with all his might. Avrohom tried his best and left for Hashem the rest. Hashem's response "no" did not slow down Avrohom. (Admor Rabbi Mordechai Yoseif of Ishbitze)

n.b. See Tosfos on gemara Yoma 28a "omar lo'hem" who writes that Hashem did not want Avrohom to pray for their welfare.

Ch. 19, v. 14: "Va'y'hi chimtzacheik b'ei'nei chasonov" - How could they treat Lote's words lightly after they saw that those who surrounded his home were struck with a form of lost vision? Their not taking his words seriously was their form of blindness, "sanveirim." They too were struck with this disorder in another form. (Shem miShmuel)

Ch. 19, v. 30: "Va'yaal Lote miTzo'ar" - Lote seemed to be very humble, saying that he had so little merit that if he were to move to Avrohom's town he would die by virtue of his merits being compared with those of Avrohom (see Rashi on 19:19 d.h. "pen"). Nevertheless, Lote did not remain a humble. "Va'yaal Lote," and Lote elevated himself, "mitzo'ar," from being small. (Adaptation of the words of the Admor of Slonim)

Ch. 20, v. 17: "Va'yispa'leil Avrohom" - The gemara B.K. 92 says that the juxtaposition of this verse to the next chapter, which relates that Hashem allowed Soroh to become pregnant teaches us that when one prays for another and "he himself is in need of that matter," he will be answered first. "He himself is in need of that matter" means that he needs to have the other person suffer from that difficulty. It was advantageous for Avrohom to have Avimelech remain unable to excrete any body fluids. This would any false rumour that Avimelech caused Soroh's pregnancy. In spite of this Avrohom prayed for his welfare to his own detriment. In such a case one is answered first. (Rabbi Simchoh Bunim of Parshizcha in Siach Sarfei Kodesh vol. #1)


See also Sedrah Selections and Oroh V'Simchoh

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