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Confronting Greatness

Vayera is quintessential Avraham - from start to finish!

As he sits in the sun, the text speaks of Avraham's passion for chesed -using verbiage of rushing  5 times in the opening section. From this classic vignette of hachnosas orchim, Chofetz Chaim learns ten lessons try to find them in the pesukim - [a big thanks to Rabbi Berezon for this]:

a. actively seek out guests
b. make guests feel wanted and comfortable
d. give them a good shower
e. give them a place to relax
f. give more than you offer
g. treat them with class
h. meet their needs quickly 
i.. escort guests
j.  it is a privilege (not demeaning) to serve them
k. chinuch also applies to mitzvos bein adam l'chaveiro

Avraham's selflessness under duress has a  lasting effect - Bava Metzia 86b teaches that it brings the manna,the clouds of glory and the well. It is awesome and we ought to integrate to the best of our abilities some of the lessons.

We are fond of teaching our children that it is harder to live with Kiddush Hashem than to die for it. And yet, in our Parsha's final section, Akeidas Yitzchak - Avraham reachs the peak  - a place that he had not yet arrived at from the beginning of the parsha - One wonders why that momentary window of sacrifice outshines a whole life of chesed?

A quick kernel that needs development may be the beginning of an approach: 

In Divine service, more can be found in transcending than in simply leveraging. Precisely in overcoming one's weakness is found the potential for greatness. [cf. Bava Metzia 32 kayeif yitzeir adif]

Many people lead lives of avoidance - not wanting to confront their challenges. Think of those will always cross the street (or maybe even walk around the block) to avoid the dog, the cat or the uncomfortable situation with their neighbor. I know many people who stopped learning because they just can't read, stopped looking for their bashert because it was so painful, stopped loving because it hurt too much ....

Hashem creates weaknesses --- and it is our job to overcome [borei nefashos rabos v'chesronan]. In that struggle, in that yegia is found greatness. 

Avraham was great man of chesed. For Akeidas Yitzchak, that was a major liability . Hashem challenges Avraham to give his all to God. He asks us on our level to do the same.  

Good Shabbos

Asher Brander  


[1] [Note: What follows is a beautiful piece of Torah I heard from my chaver Rabbi Avraham Willig of Ramat Beit Shemesh Israel.]

[2] Bereishis 29:22-25

[3] based on Yirmiyahu [31:15-16] - Thus says Hashem, A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping Rachel is weeping for her children; refusing to be comforted for her children .. Thus says Hashem, Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; For your work will be rewarded," declares Hashem, And they will return from the land of the enemy.

[4] Pesichta Eicha Rabah 24

[5] Megillah 13b

[6] Although it is not completely in synch with this startling comment.

[7] Especially according to the midrash that indicates that Lavan would redirect all of Yaakov's presents that he sent during the seven years to Leah! The midrash praises Rachel's and her son Binyamin's silence [the latter for not revealing mechiras Yosef]

[8] Matnos Aniyim, 10:7-8

[9] Two questions still need to be addressed: If Rachel knew that Leah would be embarrassed, and she would have to transmit the signs - why did she accept the signs from Yaakov in the first place? Once Rachel agreed to Yaakov's sign system - how could she violate Yaakov's will?

[10] Additionally, Yaakov certainly saw the hashgacha in the whole story.


 
   
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