Parshat Vayera

(Genesis 18:1-22:24)

(Haftara: II Kings 4:1-37)

  1. [18:3] “…please don’t pass by your servant.” The midrash tells us that welcoming guests into one’s home is a more important mitzvah than being with God. Why is welcoming guests such an important mitzvah?
  1. [18:13] “And God said to Avraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh…’” God seems to be very involved in this story.  If so, why did God choose to have the angels tell Avraham and Sarah about the birth of their son, instead of telling them Himself?
  1. [18:19] “…to keep the way of God, to do kindness and justice…”  God favours Avraham because his descendants will practice God’s way and spread kindness and justice.  Are kindness and justice so important because we are aware that they are God’s way, or would they be just as important even without an awareness of God?
  1. [18:23] “…will you destroy the righteous with the wicked.” Avraham stands in front of the all-powerful Creator of the universe in order to defend the righteous of Sdom from the Creator. What does this act show about Avraham, and what does it demand of us, his descendants?
  1. [Haftara: Kings II, 4:2] “…your servant has nothing in the house except for a pot of oil”. The blessing that Elisha brings to the woman is based on something that she already has. What does this tell us about the nature of receiving spiritual and physical blessings in general?


[18:25]    “…will the Judge of all the earth not act justly.”

…Israel, the Justice-intoxicated people, in time became “merciful children of merciful ancestors”. The boldness of the Patriarch’s ringing challenge, the universality of the phrase “all the earth”,  and the absolute conviction that the infinite might of God must be controlled by the decrees of Justice—that, in fact, an unjust God would be a contradiction in terms—are truly extraordinary.

–R. Yosef Tzvi Hertz, 1872-1946, England.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker

And this study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer




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