(Genesis 18:1-22:24)

(Haftara: II Kings 4:1-37)

  1. [18:3] “…please don’t pass by your servant.” Avraham convinces the 3 angels to accept his hospitality. Based on this story, our tradition teaches us that having guests (hachnassat orchim) is a very important commandment. Is this commandment performed in the best way when the guests are needy, or when they are friends and neighbours, or when they ask to be invited? What is the best way of performing this commandment?
  1. [18:3] “…please don’t pass by your servant.” Why is the commandment of having guests so important in our tradition?
  1. [18:19] “…to keep the way of God, to do kindness [tzedaka] and justice…”  In Hebrew,  the word tzedaka means justice, charity and kindness.  What is the significance of the fact that giving charity is a type of justice? How does this differ from the Western notion of charity?
  1. [18:25] “…will the judge of all the earth not act justly?” It is astounding that Avraham would say this to God.  What does this statement tell us about Avraham? What does it tell us about Avraham’s relationship with God?
  1. [Melachim II, 4:9] “…I know that this is a holy man of God…” This woman of Shunem did not really know Elisha.  She fed him from time to time. What might be the reasons that she thought that he was a holy man?

Commentary

At the initial stage of this nation, the ambition to set up a large compassionate community which would “keep the way of God to practise kindness and justice” was revealed…The goal was to bring mankind to a free life full of  splendour and delight, in the light of the idea of God.

–R. A. Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel.

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