Parashat Vayera

affecting generations

Our Parsha reveals to us just how great are the effects of a parent on the lives of his or her descendants. It is true that we speak about Avraham Avinu and Sarah Imeinu whose actions surely affected their descendants more than any other subsequent person. Still in all, the reality is that every Jewish parent’s mark is also everlasting, no matter how seemingly simple he or she may be. Therefore the lessons that we learn from them must be truly taken to heart:

The Torah teaches us about the unfathomable Hachnosat Orchim that Avraham and Sarah performed – treating three travelers with the respect due to the greatest of men. On this incident Rashi mentions a number of times how the great blessings and miracles that Klal Yisrael received years later in the desert all came in the merit of this one story. Moreover, the particular way in which Avraham and Sarah performed these Mitzvot had lasting effects on the particular fashion in which the Jewish people received their blessings as well.

One example that does not appear in Rashi is the fact that the Clouds of Glory came to Klal Yisrael in the merit of Avraham’s standing over his guests and serving them! Rav Mordechai Gifter zt”l brings in his sefer, Pirkei Moed, that it was the extra care and love that Avraham showed through this act that caused the extra care and love that Hashem showed us in the desert with the Clouds of Glory.

In Be’er Yosef, Rav Yosef Tzvi Salant zt”l explains about this entire incident that it is because Avraham Avinu did something here that was completely above his nature – considering that he had just been through a Brit Milah – that he merited that miracles beyond nature would be wrought for his descendants.

 In Lev Shalom Rav Shalom Schwadron zt”l points out: Avraham Avinu gave human food to angels; in that great zchut he was merit that Hashem gave human beings (Klal Yisrael) angel’s food (the mann)! From all of the above, we see clear examples of how it is the acts of goodness that our Fathers performed that powerfully affected their children’s destiny. Their deeds, and every nuance involved, made their everlasting mark.

Rav Paysach J. Krohn tells a story about Rav Shlomo Heiman zt”l who gave shiur on a snowy day when only a few students showed up with the same passion and enthusiasm as if he was lecturing to a full classroom. After he finished he explained, “I was not just giving shiur to them alone. I was giving shiur to their children and grandchildren and all the generations to come.”

As the Torah teaches us regarding the death of Hevel, Hashem rebuked Kayin and said: “What you have done? The sound of your brother’s bloods, they cry out to me from the ground!” The Targum translates   these words to mean that the voices of all future generations that could have come from Hevel were crying at this time! Every person must know that he has the potential within him to affect immeasurably the future of Klal Yisrael, whether through his own children, talmidim, or through all the others that are around him and learn from him. What we do, and the way that we do it, will leave its everlasting mark forever and ever.

facts of life: take this serious

Rav Pam Zt”l: Your Spouse Doesn’t Want

To Hear The Truth

Toward the beginning of the parsha, the visiting Malachim  delivered the message from Hashem  to Avraham: “I will surely return to you at this time next year, and behold Sarah your wife will have a son. Avraham and Sarah were old and that the manner of women had ceased to be with Sarah.”

[Bereshis 18:10-11] Then in the next pasuk, Sarah asks: “After I have withered I shall again have smooth skin? And my husband is an old man.” In other words, Sarah wonders how is it possible for her to conceive, when she is already past her years of childbearing. In addition, her husband was an old man as well.

However, when Hashem went back to Avraham and admonished Sarah for laughing, Hashem only mentioned her argument that she was old to Avraham. Hashem does not reveal to Avraham that Sarah had also doubted the news because “her husband was an old man.” Rashi learns  from this – based on Chazal – that one change the truth  to preserve peace (between husband and wife).

Rav Pam asks the following question: Avraham Avinu was in fact 99 years old. Everyone knew that he was an old man. It was obvious to him that he was an old man. It would have not at all been news to Avraham that Sarah was surprised that she would conceive, because – among other reasons – her husband was old. Would Avraham really have been upset if he had heard the “full truth” from the Hashem?

Rav Pam explains that we see from here, that the whole world can recognize and tell a person that he is old, but he cannot hear that piece of news from his wife! The reverse is true as well. A woman can have gray hair. She can be a grandmother. But if her husband should tell her, “You know, you are getting up there in years.” – it would hurt her immensely. Spouses are more sensitive to each other, and therefore care must be taken.

simcha corner

Iran’s Khamenei calls Trump and tells him, “Donald, stay out of

office. because last night I had a wonderful dream. I could see

America, the whole beautiful country, and on each house I saw a


“What did it say on the banners?” Trump asks.

Ali replies, “United States of Iran.”

Trump says, “You know, Ali, I am really happy you called, because

believe it or not, last night I had a similar dream. I could see all

of Iran, and it was more beautiful than ever, and on each house flew

an enormous banner.”

“What did it say on the banners?” Ali asks.

Trump replies, “I don’t know. I can’t read Hebrew.”

something to think about

The Siddur Speaks: A Closer Look at Davening

In this week Parasha we find that Avraham prayed for people of  Sedom. Rav Shimshon Pincus, zt”l, once wrote a letter to a Yeshivah Bachur(Student) in response to the letter he received from this boy. He wrote, “To the precious student, I received and read your letter. I must say that I have not reached a level where I can give advice to people and advise them as to exactly what to do, however, I will reply and respond to your remarks according to my limited understanding. It seems to me that you are trying very hard to grow in Torah and Yirat Shamayim, and that you are certainly fulfilling your required efforts and Hishtadlut, diligence and work, in this regard. However, you now find yourself in a position where you simply need help from outside.

The logical explanation for this, is simply because all lofty and Spiritual pursuits requires special assistance above and beyond our physical capabilities.

Therefore, I am providing you with the name and address of someone who can surely help you. They call Him G-d, Hashem. He is very strong, since in truth, He created everything! I also have the authority to tell you that He loves you personally, very much, and that he especially desires that you should turn to Him. You will have no problem finding Him, since Hashem is everywhere, in the simplest form of understanding.

In fact, even now as you read this letter, you can simply turn to Hashem. I write this because many people mistakenly think that this understanding is only attained through Davening, performing good deeds, and by attaining exalted levels, and this is all true. However, it is not the main requirement to find Hashem. Rather, the main requirement is to understand that Hashem is not a “concept”, Chas V’Shalom, rather, Hashem is real, alive, and eternal, and we can forge a personal relationship with Him!

The more that we realize this, the more we will turn to Him, and the stronger our relationship with Him will become. We will simply share our problems with Him and ask Him to help us over and over. Whoever will give you different advice, it is only a waste of your time to pursue it. Simply turn to the One who can truly help you, Hashem Yitbarach, and grab hold of Him and never let go until you achieve that which your heart desires! I sign with honor for a Ben Torah who is searching for the truth, but simply doesn’t know where to look! Shimshon Dovid Pincus” (Nefesh Shimshon, Letters of Rav Shimshon Pincus)

First Aliyah: G‑d paid Avraham a visit, as he sat at the entrance of his tent. Avraham suddenly noticed three travelers passing by, and ran to invite them into his home. These passersby, who were actually angels in human disguise, accepted the invitation, and Avraham and Sarah prepared a sumptuous feast for them. The angels informed Avraham that Sarah would give birth to a child exactly one year later. Eighty-nine-year-old, post-menopausal Sarah, who was standing nearby, heard this assurance, and laughed. G‑d was displeased with Sarah’s lack of faith.

Second Aliyah: The angels departed, with Avraham escorting them on their journey. Their destination: the Sedom region; their mission: to destroy the five cities of the region, and rescue Lot (Avraham’s nephew) and his family, who resided there. G‑d informed Avraham of His intention to destroy Sedom because of the great evil of its inhabitants. Avraham attempted to save the region, asking that it be spared if it contains fifty righteous people. When it was apparent that this was not the case, Avraham “bargains” with G‑d – eventually asking Him to spare Sedom even if there are only ten righteous individuals there, but even ten were not to be found.

Third Aliyah: The angels arrived in Sedom, and Lot invited them to his home to eat and rest. Word of Lot’s guests spread throughout the city – a city that hatred all acts of kindness – and the incensed residents of Sedom surrounded Lot’ house, with intent to assault the guests. Lot refused the demands that he surrender his guests, and – as the Sedomites prepared to break down the door – the angels struck all those surrounding the house with blindness. The angels informed Lot of their mission, and encouraged him to flee. Lot, his wife, and two of his daughters were escorted out of the city to safety, and were warned not to look back as the city was being destroyed.

Fourth Aliyah: G‑d rained fire and sulfur on Sedom, and then overturned the entire region. Lot’s wife looked back, and was transformed into a pillar of salt. Lot and his daughters took shelter in a cave. Assuming that the entire world was destroyed, Lot’s daughter’s intoxicated their father with wine, and seduced him – in order to repopulate the world. They each gave birth to a son – the antecedents of the Ammonite and Moabite nations. Avraham relocated to the Philistine city of Gerar. Avimelech, the king of the Philistines, took Sarah – who was presented as Avraham’s sister – to his palace. G‑d afflicted the members of Avimelech’s palace with a disease, and appeared to Avimelech in a dream warning him to return Sarah to her husband, Avraham. Avimelech obeyed, and also showered Avraham and Sarah with gifts, and he and his household were healed. Sarah conceived, and at the age of ninety gave birth to a son, who was named Yitzchok. Avraham circumcised Yitzchok when he was eight days old.

Fifth Aliyah: Yitzchok grew, and Sarah noticed that Ishmael, Yitzchok’s older half-brother, was a potentially negative influence on her young child. She demanded of Avraham to expel Ishmael, along with his mother Hagar, from the household. Despite Avraham’s initial misgivings, G‑d tells him: “Whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her voice!” Hagar and Ishmael wandered in the desert and eventually ran out of water. Ishmael was about to perish from thirst when an angel “opened Hagar’s eyes” and showed her a well of water. Ishmael grew up in the desert and became a skilled archer.

Sixth Aliyah: At that point, Avimelech approached Avraham and requested to enter into a treaty with him, whereby neither party will harm the other for three generations. Avraham agreed, but reprimanded Avimelech concerning a well of water which he had dug which was stolen by Avimelech’s subjects. Avraham set apart seven ewes, telling Avimelech to take them as a testimony that he, Avraham, dug the well. Avraham planted an orchard and established an inn in Beer Sheva and proclaimed the name of G‑d to all passersby.

Seventh Aliyah: G‑d commanded Avraham to take Yitzchok and offer him as a sacrifice on a mountain. Avraham took along Yitzchok and necessary provisions, and set out for the mountain. They arrived and Avraham built the altar and bound Yitzchok. As Avraham stretched out his hand to take the slaughtering knife, an angel ordered him to desist. Avraham offered a ram, which was caught in a nearby thicket, in lieu of his son. G‑d promised Avraham great blessings as a reward for passing this difficult test. After these events, Avraham was notified that his sister-in-law had given birth to children. One of these children, Betuel, was the father of Rivka , Yitzchok’s future wife.