Parshas Vayeira

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By Rabbi Shloimie Lindenbaum

לושי ועשי עוגות…ויקח חמאה וחלב ובן הבקר (פרק יח פסוק ו-ח)

When the מלאכים came to visit אברהם he hastily prepared a lavish meal in their honor. While he
prepared the meat, he instructed שרה to ready the bread. Strangely, though, when he served the food,
the bread is omitted. The גמרא (ב”מ פז.) quotes from ר’ מאיר that they had planned on serving the
bread but שרה miraculously returned to her נדה cycle, rendering the bread impure, and so they
couldn’t. The פנים יפות explains that specifically ר’ מאיר said this because of a different opinion of his.
Rashi later in the פרשה says that the next day, when the מלאכים went to סדום, they were served מצה by
לוט because it was the first night of פסח. Based on this, the מלאכים must have visited אברהם on ערב
פסח. They arrived at his tent at “חום היום” – the heat of the day, which is at the fourth hour of the
Halachic day. The opinion of ר’ יהודה is that one may eat חמץ only until the fourth hour, but once it is
the fifth hour only other benefits are permitted, such as giving it to non-Jews. Therefore, it would make
sense that אברהם, thinking that his guests weren’t Jewish, served them חמץ, as this benefit was
permissible for him, but they didn’t eat it, keeping to the Torah laws. That would be a possible
explanation as to why the bread is not mentioned at the time of eating. The opinion of ר, מאיר, however,
is that חמץ may be eaten even in the fifth hour, if so he must give us a new reason as to why the bread is
not mentioned by the meal.

ענין העקידה

Our פרשה represents the famous נסיון of עקידת יצחק as a tremendous test of אברהם אבינו and his
dedication to Hashem and His מצוות. However, when we ask Hashem to remember us in the זכות of the
עקידה we attribute it to the זכות of יצחק. Who was the main protagonist of this awesome test? The בית
הלוי says that אברהם had the more difficult challenge by the עקידה. He explains that there are many
people who will push aside תורה and מצוות for the sake of business or the love of their family. Yet, those
same people would certainly be willing to give up their lives for Hashem’s sake. Clearly, it is easier for a
person to make a one-time decision of dying ‘על קידוש ה than to live a life of ‘קידוש ה by constantly
battling his יצר הרע every day. Therefore, אברהם, who had to sacrifice his son and live with that loss
every day, was more challenged than יצחק. The reason why we call upon the merit of יצחק when we
daven is because to access the זכות of the אבות we must emulate them on some level. Although the
merit of אברהם is greater, we can claim to emulate יצחק, through our willingness to sacrifice our lives
for Hashem, more than we emulate אברהם by living lives every day of ‘קידוש ה.


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