The weekly Torah portion of Vayera (Genesis 18:1-22:24)

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What is the connection between “שיח” as prayer and “שיח” as a bush?

פרשת וירא (כא טו): וַיִּכְלוּ הַמַּיִם מִן הַחֵמֶת וַתַּשְׁלֵךְ אֶת הַיֶּלֶד תַּחַת אַחַד הַשִּׂיחִם Genesis 21:15: And the water in the bottle was spent, and she cast the child under one of the ...
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Did Abraham know that Lot Survived the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah?

In last week's Parasha, we all know the story of Abraham arguing with God to have God spare the cities on account of the righteous. However, I haven't heard much about the end of the story. ...
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Why did G-d flip Sodom and Gomorrah?

Why after destroying the 4 cities with fire from heaven, does Hashem proceed to flip them? What purpose does this accomplish? וַֽ"ה הִמְטִ֧יר עַל־סְדֹ֛ם וְעַל־עֲמֹרָ֖ה גָּפְרִ֣ית וָאֵ֑שׁ מֵאֵ֥ת ה ...
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How is it that Abraham didn't ask that four save a city, yet four did so?

Rashi (Vayera 18:24 and passim) explains that S'dom was the most important of five cities in its neighborhood, and God was going to destroy all of them. First, though, He told Avraham of His intent to ...
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Why does the haftarah of Vayeira include the miracle of the oil?

The haftarah for Vayeira includes two stories about miracles performed by Elisha. The second one, concerning the Shunamite woman, seems clearly tied to the parsha: a woman is barren; she and her ...
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Why did the angel overturning Sodom visit Abraham?

Someone in my synagogue asked today as follows: Rashi notes (Vayera 18:2, q.v.) that three angels visited Avraham's tent: one was assigned to inform Sara [of her impending pregnancy], one to overturn ...
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Grammar question in Vayera

I've been learning Bereshit with Rashi in school, and while reading a part of Vayera, I noticed that there were two grammatically different statements in one Pesuk. Bereshit (18:7) וְאֶל ...
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How is not asking about the welfare of a guest an indication of lack of fear of G-d? (Rashi on Br. 20:11)

Rashi on Genesis 20:11:1: רק אין יראת אלהים. אכסנאי שבא לעיר, על עסקי אכילה ושתיה שואלין אותו או על עסקי אשתו שואלין אותו אשתך היא או אחותך היא: My (loose) translation: When a a guest comes ...
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Why did God change His method of judgement towards people after the generation of Noach? (Rash"i on Br. 18:25)

Rashi on Genesis 18:25 (excerpt): חלילה לך יאמרו כך הוא אמנתו, שוטף הכל, צדיקים ורשעים, כך עשית לדור המבול ולדור הפלגה: My translation: People will say that this is your method (of ...
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The Angel at the Akeida

Braishis 22:12 וַיֹּאמֶר אַל תִּשְׁלַח יָדְךָ אֶל הַנַּעַר וְאַל תַּעַשׂ לוֹ מְאוּמָה כִּי | עַתָּה יָדַעְתִּי כִּי יְרֵא אֱלֹהִים אַתָּה וְלֹא חָשַׂכְתָּ אֶת בִּנְךָ אֶת יְחִידְךָ מִמֶּנִּי ...
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Why is Sarah rebuked for laughing whereas Avraham is not?

In parshat Lech Lecha Avraham laughs when he hears that he'll have a son. God even tells Avraham to call his son Yitzchak which means "he will laugh" straight after that. In parshat Vayera however, ...
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Is Sarah old and withered, or young and attractive when Abimelech captures her?

We see in the Torah: Can a child be born to a man a hundred years old, or can Sarah bear a child at ninety? (Gen. 17:17) Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years; Sarah had stopped ...
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To what crying was Hashem responding?

In Bereishit 21, Avraham sends Hagar and Ishmael out with water. When the water is done, she sends him over to some trees and removes herself so as not to see his suffering. According to pasuk 16, she ...
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Where does the Zohar mention each day's challenges?

The Artscroll Stone Chumash on page 80, note 11, says the following: באים בימים - Coming with [their] days. The Zohar says, "Each day in a person's life carries with it it's own challenge and ...
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Punctuation of Genesis 22:14

The verse in Genesis (22:14) states: "And Abraham called the name of the site 'Hashem Yir'eh' as it is said to this day, on the mountain Hashem will be seen." וַיִּקְרָ֧א אַבְרָהָ֛ם ...
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Do we learn any hilchos shechita from the Akeida?

The Binding of Isaac (Gen. 22) is a fascinating story, for a multitude of reasons. One thing that appeals to me, as a shochet (slaughterer), is that it has in it (as far as I could tell) the earliest ...
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How could Avraham feed his guests milk?

According to the gemarah (Sanhedrin 21 I think) milk was considered the limb of a living being - eiver min ha'chai - until matan torah. If so, how could Avraham serve it to his guests if a ben Noach ...
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Is there a connection between Hagar's distance and Yishmael's profession?

The Torah tells us that Hagar sat an archer's distance away from Yishmael as he lay crying, Genesis 21 verse 16. After he is miraculously saved he lives in the desert and is described as a רובה קשת, ...
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Regarding Avraham's responses to G-d's decisions

Are there any mefarshim who commented on why Avraham chose to advocate on behalf of Sdom when G-d tells him that the city will be destroyed, but chose to remain silent and just accept the decree when ...
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Who was the mother of Avraham's daughter?

According to one opinion in the Gemarah (Bava Basra 16b, also 141a), when it says Avraham was blessed with everything (Bereishit 24:1) it means that he had a daughter. Who was her mother?
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Would Avraham's tefillah have been necessary to save Sedom?

Let's say there actually would have been 50 (or 45, or 40...) righteous people in Sedom. Would Hashem have destroyed the city without Avraham's tefillah but saved it due to his tefillah? Was Avraham ...
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Can you do hachnasat orchim with angels?

Is it possible to fulfill the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim with angels?
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Questions regarding Sarah's denial in Breishit 18:15

Breishit 18:15 says (Mechon Mamre / JPS in English): Then Sarah denied, saying: 'I laughed not'; for she was afraid. And He said: 'Nay; but thou didst laugh. Apparently, Sarah laughed because ...
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Did Avraham invite the angels into his house?

Avraham sits at the entrance to his tent waiting for guests. When the three angels arrive he runs out to greet them and pleads that they stay. He then tells them (Bereishit 18:4): יֻקַּח-נָא ...
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לָשַׁע the place

The lands of the Cannanites are described in parashat Noach 10:19: And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon as you come to Gerar, until Gaza, as you come to Sodom and Gomorrah, and Admah ...
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How did Pharaoh know that Sarai was Avram's wife?

When Avimelech took Sarah, Hashem came to him in a dream and told him to return Avraham's wife (Bereishis 20:3). When Pharaoh took her, no such event is recorded in the Torah. Pharaoh's household ...
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Why did Abraham treat his three visitors in this way?

I am new to this site. I'd like to ask some questions on the interpretation and cultural significance of the events in Genesis 18 in the Bible. First, why does Abraham have Sarah use 3 seahs of ...
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How could Avraham feed his guests tongue?

Avraham served his guests three tongues in mustard.1 However, Avraham kept all the mitzvot,2 one of which is to give the foreleg, jaw (including the tongue3), and maw of each slaughtered animal to the ...
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Why did Sarah banish Hagar and Yishmael - Meaning of צחק

Genesis 21: ט וַתֵּרֶא שָׂרָה אֶת-בֶּן-הָגָר הַמִּצְרִית, אֲשֶׁר-יָלְדָה לְאַבְרָהָם--מְצַחֵק. 9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne unto Abraham, 'making ...
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Interrupting Amida for a Mitzvah

Avraham leaves Hashem to deal with guests in Vayera - because welcoming guests is greater than Kabolas Pnei HaSh'china. Does that mean we can interrupt our Shmoneh Esrei to do mitzvahs? At least to ...
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Number of righteous necessary to save Sedom

Regarding the number of righteous necessary to save Sedom (Bereishis 18:23-33), Rashi and all the other commentaries I have seen (Kli Yakar, Seforno, Or Hachaim, others) explain the descending order ...
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Why did the angels not go straight to S'dom?

It says in Bereishis 18,16 “and the men arose from there and they looked upon S’dom, and Avraham went with them to escort them”. This is followed by several posukim dealing with the dialogue between ...
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Why doesn't Yitzchak mention the knife?

Bereishis 22:6 indicates that Avraham placed the wood for the sacrifice on Yitzchak, took something to start the fire, and the מַּאֲכֶלֶת which Rashi translates as knife. However, in the next pasuk ...
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If Jews don't eat cheeseburgers, why did Abraham serve a calf with milk?

Genesis 18:8 (JPS): And he took curd, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. Looks like Abraham and 3 ...
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Doors and Doorways in Parshat Vayeira

In this weeks parsha of Vayeira, I counted 6 references to the words דלת and פתח, all in the story of Lot and Sodom. I don't believe this is a coincidence, since its all about standing in the door, ...
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Was Hagar from Shem, Cham, or Yefes?

Was Hagar from Shem, Cham, or Yefes? If we say she was from Cham, then how can this be understood in light of Avraham's going out of his way to make sure his descendants don't marry into the ...
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Avraham's different approaches to kidnapping

I find something very strange. Lot gets kidnapped; Avraham goes to war to get him back. Sarah his wife gets kidnapped; he does and says nothing. What is with this very strange discrepancy?
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Why doesn't God offer Sodom and Gemorrah the same chance to repent He offers Nineveh?

Why does God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah without warning, but offer Nineveh a chance to repent? The men who come to Lot's house could have just easily prophesied to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah ...
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Why was Yishmael saved?

In bereshis 21:17 it says And God heard the lad's voice, and an angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, "What is troubling you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the lad's ...
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In Genesis 22:8-14, is there a difference between a ram and a lamb?

Having taken a translation from this website, which I am told to have Orthodox Jewish credentials, I am referring to Genesis 22:8-14 'God will see to a lamb for an offering, my son,' replied ...
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Why did God destroy Sodom in such a strange way?

Why does it rain both fire and brimstone (gafris - 19:24) on Sodom surely one or the other was enough? Furthermore, if the whole city is 'turned upside down' (19:25) why was there a need to rain ...
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Questions about the destruction of Sodom and the vicinity

I am having a hard time making heads or tails of the story of the destruction of Sodom and the vicinity. All questions below are questions about the narrative of the story based on the interpretation ...
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Was Lot, himself, sodomized when he first moved into Sodom?

In Genesis 19, Lot defends the angels who came under his roof against the demands of the local men who want a chance to sodomize the three visitors. From the Torah's description, and Rashi's take on ...
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What is the interpretation of Genesis 19, 5-8?

5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” 6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, ...
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Why “אַבְרָהָם אָבִיו” (Gen. 22:7)?

Why does Genesis 22:7 say "אַבְרָהָם אָבִיו" rather than just "אַבְרָהָם" or "אָבִיו"? It's redundant. (My kid's question.)
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why did avraham pray for sodom

Sodom was one of the most morally corrupted societies that ever existed. wouldn't their disappearance be good for everyone (including themselves). keeping those who are thoroughly wicked alive is ...
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Why Avraham hated Yishmael if he was a tzadik

Rashi says that avraham sent yishmael out with only water but no money because he hated him for going out "tarbut raah". yet later on, the verse says G-d heard the cry of Yishmael dying of thirst ...
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Why did God lie about Sarah?

Why did God have to lie to cover for Sarah (Bereshis 18:13)? Why not just avoid asking Avraham altogether? Note that the answer cannot be anything that would either impinge on their shalom bayis (cf ...
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Who was expelled from Avraham's house and married an Egyptian?

Vayera 21:9–21 speaks repeatedly of Hagar's son without once naming him. In no particular order, Rashi (:17), pseudo-Yonasan (:11), the Rav miBartinura (:14), Ramban (:9), Chizkuni (:14), Toldos ...
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Washing feet before coming inside: Avraham vs. Lot

When the angels came to visit Avraham, he asked them (Bereishis 18:4) to "Bathe your feet, and recline under the tree". Rashi explains: He thought that they were Arabs, who prostrate themselves to ...