The following is a brief summary of two thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.
The beginning of this week's parsha talks about how Avraham left Haran and went to Israel. The parsha mentions that Avraham took the "nefesh asher asu b'charan" - the souls who came to recognize Hashem while Avraham was in Haran.
R' Frand asked a question based on a vort from R' Shlomo Glasner (sp?). We know that Avraham was from Ur Kasdim. In Ur Kasdim, Avraham was thrown into the fiery furnace by Nimrod because he challenged the idol worshipping of his generation. Indeed, some mefarshim learn that this was the first of Avraham's tests. But since this was such a great showing of Avraham's faith and an overt miracle by Hashem, why was this not the cause of people recognizing Hashem in Ur Kasdim? Shouldn't there have been "nefesh" made in Ur Kasdim which should have gone with Avraham?
R' Glasner answers the question by painting the scene - there are people in the bleachers who are watching Avraham being saved from the furnace. One guy says to the other, look Avraham must have the real G-d, since he was saved from the furnace. The other guy responds, how can Avraham have the real G-d if Avraham's father is still in the avoda zarah business? If Avraham is for real, he must have been able to impact his father. But since he did not, there must be some trick. Thus, because of the skeptics, Avraham did not have an impact in Ur Kasdim.
R' Frand said an additional vort on Bereishis 12:8 - where it says that Avraham pitched his tent. However the word is spelled aleph heh aleph heh. It is read as "his tent", but it can be read as "her tent." Rashi comments that we learn from the pasuk that Avraham pitched Sarah's tent before his. Why did Avraham do this? The Levush Haora explains that Rashi learns that Sarah had a high level of tzinius and Avraham was aware of her devotion. Avraham knew that Sarah would be uncomfortable standing in the field while he pitched his tent before he built hers. Avraham was sensitive to this, so he pitched her tent first.
R' Frand remarked that many of the stories of Bereishis are recorded as ma'asei avos siman l'banim - the actions of the fathers are a sign for the children. This story dovetails with a gemara in Bava Metzia where R' Chelbo writes that a person should be conscious of his wife's honor/kavod because the bracha of the house comes because of his wife. In essence, the segula for parnasa is to honor one's wife. But why?
R' Frand answered by quoting a sefer called Darash Mordechai which addresses this point. The sefer writes that Chava's curse included that the husband will dominate his wife. If a person shows his wife kavod he lighten the curse of his wife. Upon seeing this act of kindness, Hashem says - if you want to lighten your wife's curse, I will lighten your curse of earning one's living by the sweat of the brow.
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