October 20, 2018 ~ Shabbat LEKH LEKHA. Maqam SABA.

Shabbat Vayera - שבת וירא

Extreme Kindness

והוא ישב פתח האהל כחם היום - Abraham’s trait of extreme kindness (חסד) is what qualifies him to be considered “the father of our nation.” In Micah 7:20, it is his Hesed (תתן אמת ליעקב חסד לאברהם) that most exemplifies him for posterity. In Genesis 18, when it comes to his hospitality, Abraham plays a very active role in the process by standing at the entrance of his tent to actively seek to invite guests (וישא עיניו וירא). Abraham seeks these guests specifically at noon (כחם היום); the hottest and most uncomfortable part of the day to be outdoors. Not only did Abraham perform these acts alone, but he positively influences others to rush (מהרי) and partake in these experiences. It is because of acts like these as well as knowing that Abraham “observes God’s path” (ושמרו דרך ה׳ לעשות צדקה ומשפט) that God is hesitant to withhold anything from Abraham (המכסה אני מאברהם) and decides to confide in him about future events. Beth Torah Bulletin, 11/4/17.

Lot's Contribution

וישקף על פני סדם ועמרה - As Abraham witnesses the devastation of Sodom (Genesis 19:28), we can only imagine the sense of failure that he experiences for a calamity that should have been avoided. Abraham only has the audacity to petition God to spare Sodom, because he assumes that his former confidant, Lot, after many years together, has become a role model and positive influence on his society. It comes as a disappointment when it is apparent that Lot has accomplished absolutely nothing; not following Abraham's example of steering people towards the path of righteousness. As the descendants of Abraham, we have been blessed with many fine role models who actively shape our lives. Unlike Lot, who laid low and contributed nothing to his society, we must actively seek ways to become those role models and make a positive impact on the lives of those around us (Beth Torah, 11/19/16).