Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayeira

The following is a brief summary of some of 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 this week's parsha we read about Avraham Avinu's act of Hachnasas Orchim in bringing the angels in and providing for them. Although this is the character trait that Avraham was known for, this story is the only time in the Torah that we see Avraham do chesed. R' Frand remarked that it is ironic that this is the chesed story, since it was wholly unnecessary, given that the angels did not need the chesed.

R' Frand next mentioned the Gemara in Bava Metzia which recounts how that day Hashem made the sun very strong so that no one would be wandering in and bothering Avraham. Of course, this was upsetting to Avraham and he sent Eliezer put to look for guests. Eliezer returns and tells Avraham - there is no one around. Avraham then responds - I don't believe you. Again, R' Frand observed that it was very odd that Avraham said that he did not believe Eliezer, since Avraham trusted Eliezer to be the steward of his house and he even sent Eliezer out to find a bride for Yitzchak.

R' Frand answered in the name of the Rosh Yeshiva of the Mesivta of Long Beach that there are two kinds of chesed. One kind of chesed is taking care of people who need help, where in so doing you fulfill someone's obvious needs. But there is a second kind of chesed - which is done because the person doing the chesed needs to do chesed. Hashem created the world because He needed to do chesed.

R' Frand connected this with the line in Shemoneh Esreh which states that Hashem gave us Ahavas Chesed - He gave us the trait of loving and needing to do chesed, even if no one needs it.

This trait of needing to do chesed is unique to Jews and it was for this reason that Avraham did not trust Eliezer. Avraham figured that Eliezer went out to look for guests and came back with none, but that he did not look very hard because he did not have a real need to do chesed. Avraham trusted him about everything else, but he needed to do chesed and could not just rely on Eliezer.

This is also why this story serves as an illustration of Avraham's act of chesed. The angels did not need the chesed, Avraham needed to do the chesed.

[Earlier in the shiur, R' Frand also told an incredible story about Hachnasas Orchim which I will iyh blog in the next few days].

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