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Vayeira Summaries

Vayeira 5779-2018

“The Tension Between Human Love and Divine Will”

In a clash between human love and Divine will, Divine will must always prevail.

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Vayeira 5778-2017

“The Alliance with Abimelech”

The alliance that Abraham made in ancient times with Abimelech, King of Gerar, reverberates profoundly throughout Jewish history and in modern times as well.

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Vayeira 5777-2016

“There is But No Fear of G-d in this Place”

What did Abraham mean when he concluded that Gerar was a city that possessed no fear of G-d?

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Vayeira 5776-2015

“The Trials of Abraham”

According to the Mishnah in Avot, Abraham faced ten trials in his life. It was Abraham’s preparedness to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, through which Abraham succeeded in cleansing himself and the world from the primordial sin of the Garden of Eden.

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Vayeira 5775-2014

“One Woman’s Cry”

The Talmud states that because of the cries of one single young woman, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were entirely destroyed. We must attune our ears to hear and respond to the painful realities that many Jewish women face today.

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Vayeira 5774-2013

“Greater than Welcoming the Divine Presence”

Is welcoming guests a greater mitzvah than welcoming the Divine Presence? Perhaps they are of equal value?       

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Vayeira 5773-2012

“Seeking Advice From a Good Friend”

Why does the great man of faith, Abraham, first consult with his Amorite compatriots, Aner, Eshkol and Mamre, about proceeding with his circumcision, rather than immediately fulfill G-d’s command?

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Vayeira 5772-2011

“Were Lot’s Daughters Moral or Immoral?”

After the destruction of Sodom, Lot’s daughters, thinking that the whole world had been destroyed, ply their father with wine and bear children with him. The commentators struggle with their actions.

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Vayeira 5771-2010

“Lessons from the Evil of Sodom”

The Torah tells us that when Lot went out to speak to his sons-in-law to tell them to leave Sodom, he seemed to them as if he were joking. We Jews face serious threats today as well. Let us not look upon these threats with skepticism as if to say that we are impervious to danger.

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Vayeira 5770-2009

“Hospitality at Its Finest”

Abraham speaks to his guests as if they are doing him a favor by accepting his hospitality. Can that be true?!

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Vayeira 5769-2008

Shalom Bayit, Little White Lies”

In parashat Vayeira, when Sarah learns that she is going to have a child at age 90, she laughs skeptically and says, “After I have withered shall I be fertile again, and my husband is old!” When G-d asks Abraham why Sarah has laughed, He omits Sarah’s disrespectful reference to Abraham, saying instead that Sarah referred to herself about being old. Why the change?

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Vayeira 5768-2007

“Seeking Mitzvah Opportunities”

After the destruction of Sodom, Abraham moves from Hebron, where he had lived for 25 years, and resettles in the south in a place called Gerar. The rabbis offer many reasons for Abraham’s move. The Yalkut May’am Lo’ez suggests that Jews have an obligation to look for mitzvah opportunities, which is exactly what Abraham did by relocating to the Negev.

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Vayeira 5767-2006

“Choosing The Right Neighbors”

In parashat Vayeira, Abraham moves from Elonei Mamrei to Gerar. Our rabbis wonder why. Abraham’s move can be instructive to us in our efforts to select the proper community in which to live.

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Vayeira 5766-2005

“Confronting Adversity, Lessons from Father Isaac”

Especially when compared to the lives of the dynamic Abraham and Jacob, Isaac’s life seems to be one of passivity and tragedy. And yet, with his unique ability to arise boldly from challenge and emerge from darkness, Isaac’s life serves as a most valued example to his progeny. It is the model of Isaac that most closely parallels the history of the Jewish people.

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Vayeira 5765-2004

“The Benefit of Broad-heartedness ”

According to tradition, G-d remembers Sarah, who miraculously gives birth to Isaac in her old age, because Abraham prayed in a special way. It is broad-hearted prayer, where we pray for others aside from ourselves, that is most efficacious.

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Vayeira 5764-2003

“The Mitzvah of Bikur Cholim–Visiting the Sick”

The directive to cling to G-d, entails that mortals follow G-d’s ways. In this parasha, the Al-mughty pays a visit to an ailing Abraham, and thus introduces the practice of visiting the sick. This commandment is more intricate than it appears at first glance, and the reward associated with it, is often beyond comprehension.

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Vayeira 5763-2002

“Sodom: The Home of Institutionalized Evil”

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in Sodom? Both the biblical texts and the accompanying Midrashic literature vividly describe the extraordinary evil practiced by people of Sodom, where virtue was declared vice and vice, virtue. Unfortunately, there are elements of Sodom that may be found in aspects of our contemporary society as well. If we are to protect ourselves from these harmful influences, we need to be on the alert and learn to identify those evil aspects.

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Vayeira 5762-2001

“The Akeida”

The binding of Isaac, known as the “Akeida,” is one of the most noted and influential portions of the Bible, and one of the most enigmatic. The Akeida proclaimed a new and vital message to the world, boldly rejecting the abominable practice of child sacrifice that was rife among the ancient people–and usually performed in the name of the pagan deity.

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Vayeira 5761-2000

“Mount Moriah: Build for the Future through Love”

The place where G-d tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac is known as Mount Moriah. This place, located in the heart of Jerusalem, is where the Temple was eventually built. The Midrash teaches that G-d selected Mount Moriah as the place for Jewish worship because of the brotherly love and devotion practiced there. If we are to re-acquire Mount Moriah, it can only be done through the practice of fraternity and love.

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Vayeira 5760-1999

“The Preciousness of Hospitality”

The 99-year-old Abraham is recovering from his recent circumcision when he sees potential guests on the horizon. Despite his pain, he quickly runs towards the wayfarers and begs them not to pass by his tent without accepting his hospitality. There is much to learn from Abraham’s manner of welcoming guests. It is essential that we not lose the capacity to perform the important mitzvah of “Ha’chanasat Orchim.”

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