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Vayera ~וירא ~ 5775
Abraham sees three men passing by and chases them to invite them to his home. He prepares a feast for them. One of the angels tells Abraham that Sarah shall give birth. Hearing this news, Sarah laughs to herself, to which G-d then reiterates the blessing Himself. Sarah denies laughing because she fears G-d’s anger. The “men” journey to Sodom as G-d explains their mission of destruction to Abraham. Abraham bargains with G-d in an attempt to save Sodom. G-d consecutively agrees not to destroy Sodom if there are 50, 45, 40, 30, 20 or even only 10 righteous men.
Lot saw the two Angels coming and like Abraham, invited them into his home. The men of Sodom then came to Lot’s home to do “evil” to his guests. Lot offers his own daughters to the mob in an attempt to save the guests. The angels give instructions to Lot on how to escape the destruction. Thinking the entire world is destroyed, Lot’s daughters conceive a plan to repopulate the world. While living in Gerara, Abraham “fears for his life” and therefore refers to Sarah as his sister. This causes the near-exact re-petition of the previous incident with Pharaoh. Sarah conceives and gives birth to Isaac.
Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. When Isaac was weaned, Abraham made a special celebration at which time Sarah saw Ishmael taunting Isaac. Sarah demands they be banished, and G-d instructs Abraham to listen to Sarah. Lost in the desert and suffering greatly, G-d saves Hagar and Ishmael and blesses them. Avimelech makes a peace treaty with Abraham. Part of the negotiations include Avimelech’s admittance that the water wells belong to Abraham. G-d commands Abraham to sacrifice Isaac upon a mountain He shall specify. Abraham is about to kill Isaac when he is stopped by an Angel. After recei-ving a special blessing, Abraham sacrifices a ram instead of Isaac, and then returns to Be’er Sheva.
MAFTIR Genesis 22:20-24 ~ page 76
HAFTARAH II Kings 4:1 – 37 ~ page 76 – 78
Elisha, the prophet, miraculously saves a poor widow’s two children from being sold for her debts. From the single vessel of oil she possesses, she is able to fill numerous jars with its contents and repay her creditors. The Shunammite woman yearns for a son. Elisha repays her hospitality by the promise of an heir in a year’s time (paralleled by the similar promise made to Sarah). The child is born and when a little older suffers from sunstroke and is seemingly dead. In response to the mother’s pleas of anguish, Elisha comes to the child and revives him.
Parashah Study Questions
- The Rabbis explain that Hashem made it unseasonably hot (18:1) so travelers would not be tempted to pass Avra-raham’s home causing him to get out of his sick bed. Why did Hashem finally send the 3 angels?
- Avraham asked the 3 guests to wash the dust off their feet (18:4) fearing they were amongst those who idolized the dust of the earth. Why didn’t Avraham ask to check their pockets for additional idols?
- The commentaries explain that Lot sat at the gate of Sodom because he was one of their judges (19:1). Is this a testament to Sodom or to Lot?
- Lot and his family were not permitted to look back at Sodom (19:17) because they weren’t worthy of witnessing the destruction of Sodom. Why couldn’t they watch?
- Verse 21:1 centers around two verbs. What are the two verbs and how do they relate to each other and to Judaism?