[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?
[22:2] “And He said, “Take your son, your only son. Abraham was willing to this immediately. This is seen in the Parsha as a “trial.” Why is this the case?
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?

2. [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?

3. [19:8] “…I have two daughters…” When the people of Sdom wanted to rape Lot’s guests, Lot said that he would give them his young virgin daughters. Lot made a moral choice which may not have been the best choice. We often prefer situations where the correct moral choice is more obvious. What does the Torah want to teach us by putting people into difficult moral situations?

4. [22:2] “And He said, “Take your son, your only son…” Our tradition understands the commandment to sacrifice Yitzchak as Avraham’s last trial. It seems, however, that God commanded him and  [22:2] “And He said, “Take your son, your only sonis this a trial?

5. [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 Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer