Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayera

The following is a brief summary of some 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.

In the beginning of this week's parsha, we read about Avraham's encounter with the angels on the third day after his bris millah. In Bereishis 18:5, the Torah recounts part of the story in which Avraham says that he will give the angels bread since the angels have passed through his way. The angels respond, so shall you do just as you said.

R' Frand said - you can hear and learn the parsha for fifty years and then suddenly you have a question about a pasuk you have reviewed many many times before. He quoted Rashi on this pasuk, wherein Rashi explains that the dialogue between Avraham and the angels was that Avraham said to the angels, since you have passed through here, I am asking you to eat by me. The angels respond, yes as you have said.

R' Frand said this would be akin to a person saying to another "because you are here, come eat by me." To this the angels respond, OK we will. Would a person invite someone to come for a meal because they are in the neighborhood and the guest responds, "Ok I will"?

R' Frand explained that what Avraham was saying to the angels was, there is no coincidence in this world. Its hot outside and no one is walking around. The reason that you are here is because Hashem wants you to be here, so eat by me. The angels respond, you are right - things don't happen by accident - we are here and you can see us, so it must be that we should eat by you.

R' Frand remarked that this is also the central theme of Megillas Esther. (He prefaced this by saying that he is not crazy in talking about Purim right after Sukkos). Mordechai tells Esther - you need to go to Ahasverus even though you were not asked and it is with a danger to your life. 

R' Frand said parenthetically that he saw a medrash this week which said that Esther passed through seven chambers before she got to Ahasverus and when she got to him, he said to her - Vashti never did anything like this.

Mordechai's says to Esther in 4:14, "who knows if this is the reason that you were made queen." In so doing, Mordechai in effect says to Esther - you did not become queen by accident, there must be a reason for this.

R' Frand closed the vort by telling a story about Gerrer Chassidim in pre-World War II Europe. There was a custom among the Gerrer Chassidim that if someone could not pay his rent and he was about to be evicted, the community would take up a collection to pay so that he would not be out on the street.

There was an incident in Lodz, Poland where a man and his landlord were both Gerrer Chassidim. The tenant could not pay his rent, so the landlord went to the Imrei Emes (Gerrer Rebbi) and said what do I do - I need to pay my expenses? The Rebbi said - you can't evict him. The landlord responded - then the community needs to pay his rent to me. The Rebbi responded - no, its your burden. The landlord said to the Rebbi - its not fair, if I was not a Gerrer Chassid, then I would get paid. The Rebbi responded - you are right, its not fair. But you are in this position for a reason and Hashem wants you to be charitable to this man.

This the upshot of the story between Avraham and the angels. Avraham says the angels - you wound up here on this hot day for some reason, it must be because Hashem want me to give you a meal. The angels respond, you are right, this is from Hashem.

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