parshat Vayera

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shutterstock"The Right Place at the Right Time"
Whenever someone as great as Avraham makes a decision to move, even if still within the Land, and the Torah decides to write about it, commentators (and hopefully we too) will want to know why he did so.
  • Parashat Vayera: The Danger of Sinful Contemplation
    There is a surprising midrash about the background of the test that Avraham underwent with the binding of Yitzchak, which the Torah introduces with the words “It was after these matters” (Bereishit 22:1). The obvious questions are: what were these “matters” and what was their significance? One midrash (Yelamdenu, Bereishit 104) says that Avraham had contemplated negative thoughts about Hashem’s attribute of judgment. Avraham was concerned that because he had been saved from death, he used up his reward and would not have any in the world to come. Consequently, he had to give an oleh sacrifice, which is appropriate for sins of the heart (with the sacrifice being his son).
  • Avraham’s Prophecy
    Parshas Vayeira begins with Hashem appearing to Avraham. When a Navi, Avraham included, receives a prophecy, he is in a prophetic trance or a dreamlike state, as we will see later in the words of the Rambam regarding prophecy. Yet, the very next Posuk has Avraham seeing travelers, racing out to invite them into his tent, cooking and serving them a meal, and carrying on a conversation with them. How could he do this if he was in the middle of having a prophetic vision?
    Our life, you might argue, is one long test. In Hebrew, a "Nisayon." The word is multi-dimensional, as it also contains the word, "nes – miracle." The implication is that when we rise to the occasion & pass our tests, miracles flow both to & through us.
  • There's No Such This as "I Used to Be Religious"
    There is a certain difficulty that every teacher (and parent) faces: You work hard, try to educate and advance your child, and very often you feel that nothing is moving; you feel failure...
  • The Binding of Isaac
    Why did God need to “test” Abraham, given that He knows the human heart better than we know it ourselves?
  • Our father Abraham
    Our father Abraham experiences the revelation of the Lord when he is sitting alone at the opening of his tent. However, we readily can see that the Torah is describing for us the permanent and regular state of being of our Father figure.
  • We Walk Together
    The centerpiece of Vayera is the Akeida, the last & arguably the most difficult of Avraham’s 10 tests. But Avraham is not the only hero of this story. Yitzchak - no mere “lad” at age 37 - also submits to Hashem’s will.
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