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Vayera - The Zweigbaum Family

10/18/2013 05:44:54 PM


Vayera                                                                The Zweigbaum Family  

Vayera is an action packed Parsha.  It begins with Avraham's Brit Milah (circumcision) and ends with Akeidat Yitzchak (the binding of Yitzchak). In the first pasuk it says, “Now the L-rd appeared to him in the plains of Mamre, and he was sitting at the entrance of the tent when the day was hot.” Hashem teaches us about Bikur Cholim (visiting the sick) as he came to Avraham after his Brit Milah . While recuperating, Avraham was waiting to do the mitzvah of Hachnasat Orchim (welcoming guests). Great lessons are being demonstrated here for us to learn about the importance of chesed (kindness). The next pasuk says, “And he lifted his eyes and saw, and behold, three men were standing beside him, and he saw and he ran toward them from the entrance of the tent, and he prostrated himself to the ground.” Hashem knew that Avraham would be happy if he could comfort others. Therefore, He had three angels pose as travelers in need of food, drink, rest, and shade from the hot sun. This would help Avraham feel better.

What is difficult for us to understand is how Avraham was able to leave Hashem, who was visiting him, to greet a few unknown travelers...

A fascinating insight regarding this matter was provided by Rabbi Alpert as related to him by his father, Rav Nisson Alpert. Hashem generally surrounds Himself with angels on several different levels. In spite of all the corruption and idolatry going on at the time, G-d brought down His Shechinah (divine presence) and rested it upon Avraham. Therefore, the greatness of a human being to Hashem is apparent. We are considered even more important to Him then the melachim (angels)!  That is why Avraham was able to attend to his "guests." If Hashem could leave His world for the sake of a human being, then how much more so should we try to comfort another person.

Rabbi Alpert took this concept a step further.  If one were to enter a hospital room where an ill patient was sleeping, would he wake that person up to say that he has a visitor? Of course not. The proper course of action is to allow the patient to rest. The purpose of the visit is to do what is best for the patient. When Hashem visited Avraham, Avraham was waiting outside for guests. Once they came, Avraham knew that it was appropriate for him to greet them. Hashem knew that was what was best for His patient, and Avraham accepted Hashem's kindness. Avraham was then permitted to experience a higher level of G-d. One of selflessness and chesed.

What great mitzvot Bikur Cholim and  Hachnasat Orchim must be!  We must strive to follow their example and do these mitzvot whenever possible. 

Mon, August 10 2020 20 Av 5780