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 to a city, you should ask him regarding (his needs for) food and drink or regarding his wife - if she is your wife or your sister.

How is a lack of asking these questions a demonstration of having no fear of G-d? When a guest (out of town) couple shows up in my shul, on Shabbat, I don't always ask if they have a place to eat (not b/c I'm unfriendly, but mainly b/c it would be strenuous for my wife), and I most certainly don't ask, "Hey, is that your wife or your sister?" So, does that mean that I have no yir'at elokim?

Another question - it seems in his answer to Avimelech, that he was worried that ANYONE might kidnap Sarah, not just the king. Is this correct?

1 Answer 1


Q1: The Chabad English Rashi translates as follows:

Surely, there is no fear of God: A guest who comes to a city-do we ask him about eating and drinking, or do we ask him about his wife-“ Is she your wife or is she your sister?”

The point of the rebuke is that asking about the marital status of the guest's wife shows the priorities of the host. The host is more interested in the woman than the needs of the guest. A moral person who was going to ask a question you would ask about the guest's needs. The priority establishes the criticism. Not asking at all does not necessarily imply lack of fear of G-d.

Q2: You ask if Avrohom was worried that ANYONE might kidnap Sarah, not just the king.

V 11: says

And Abraham said, "For I said, 'Surely, there is no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.'

It seems that the word “they” indicates just that.

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