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18:1  Hashem appeared to him by the terebinths of Mamre; he was sitting at the entrance of the tent as the day grew hot.

va-yay-RA ay-LAV a-do-NAI b’-ay-lo-NAY mam-RAY v’-HU yo-SHAYV pe-takh ha-O-hel k’-KHOM ha-YOM

יח:א  וַיֵּרָא אֵלָיו יְהֹוָה בְּאֵלֹנֵי מַמְרֵא וְהוּא יֹשֵׁב פֶּתַח־הָאֹהֶל כְּחֹם הַיּוֹם׃

 18:1   By the terebinths of Mamre

Mamre was the name of Avraham’s ally (Genesis 14:13). Rashi explains that of his three allies, Mamre was the only one who supported the idea of circumcision, and it was for this reason that Hashem reveals himself to Avraham in his territory. This teaches us an important lesson: A person should choose to live in a place conducive to spiritual growth. Choosing to live in the Land of Israel means choosing an environment that can foster a person’s spiritual development and relationship with God.6 comments

2  Looking up, he saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them and, bowing to the ground,

ב  וַיִּשָּׂא עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה שְׁלֹשָׁה אֲנָשִׁים נִצָּבִים עָלָיו וַיַּרְא וַיָּרָץ לִקְרָאתָם מִפֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ אָרְצָה׃

3  he said, “My lords, if it please you, do not go on past your servant.

ג  וַיֹּאמַר אֲדֹנָי אִם־נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ אַל־נָא תַעֲבֹר מֵעַל עַבְדֶּךָ׃

4  Let a little water be brought; bathe your feet and recline under the tree.

ד  יֻקַּח־נָא מְעַט־מַיִם וְרַחֲצוּ רַגְלֵיכֶם וְהִשָּׁעֲנוּ תַּחַת הָעֵץ׃

5  And let me fetch a morsel of bread that you may refresh yourselves; then go on—seeing that you have come your servant’s way.” They replied, “Do as you have said.”

ה  וְאֶקְחָה פַת־לֶחֶם וְסַעֲדוּ לִבְּכֶם אַחַר תַּעֲבֹרוּ כִּי־עַל־כֵּן עֲבַרְתֶּם עַל־עַבְדְּכֶם וַיֹּאמְרוּ כֵּן תַּעֲשֶׂה כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ׃

6  Avraham hastened into the tent to Sara, and said, “Quick, three se’eem of choice flour! Knead and make cakes!”

ו  וַיְמַהֵר אַבְרָהָם הָאֹהֱלָה אֶל־שָׂרָה וַיֹּאמֶר מַהֲרִי שְׁלֹשׁ סְאִים קֶמַח סֹלֶת לוּשִׁי וַעֲשִׂי עֻגוֹת׃

7  Then Avraham ran to the herd, took a calf, tender and choice, and gave it to a servant-boy, who hastened to prepare it.

ז  וְאֶל־הַבָּקָר רָץ אַבְרָהָם וַיִּקַּח בֶּן־בָּקָר רַךְ וָטוֹב וַיִּתֵּן אֶל־הַנַּעַר וַיְמַהֵר לַעֲשׂוֹת אֹתוֹ׃

8  He took curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared and set these before them; and he waited on them under the tree as they ate.

ח  וַיִּקַּח חֶמְאָה וְחָלָב וּבֶן־הַבָּקָר אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וַיִּתֵּן לִפְנֵיהֶם וְהוּא־עֹמֵד עֲלֵיהֶם תַּחַת הָעֵץ וַיֹּאכֵלוּ׃

9  They said to him, “Where is your wife Sara?” And he replied, “There, in the tent.”

ט  וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו אַיֵּה שָׂרָה אִשְׁתֶּךָ וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה בָאֹהֶל׃

10  Then one said, “I will return to you next year, and your wife Sara shall have a son!” Sara was listening at the entrance of the tent, which was behind him.

י  וַיֹּאמֶר שׁוֹב אָשׁוּב אֵלֶיךָ כָּעֵת חַיָּה וְהִנֵּה־בֵן לְשָׂרָה אִשְׁתֶּךָ וְשָׂרָה שֹׁמַעַת פֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל וְהוּא אַחֲרָיו׃

11  Now Avraham and Sara were old, advanced in years; Sara had stopped having the periods of women.

יא  וְאַבְרָהָם וְשָׂרָה זְקֵנִים בָּאִים בַּיָּמִים חָדַל לִהְיוֹת לְשָׂרָה אֹרַח כַּנָּשִׁים׃

12  And Sara laughed to herself, saying, “Now that I am withered, am I to have enjoyment—with my husband so old?”

יב  וַתִּצְחַק שָׂרָה בְּקִרְבָּהּ לֵאמֹר אַחֲרֵי בְלֹתִי הָיְתָה־לִּי עֶדְנָה וַאדֹנִי זָקֵן׃

13  Then Hashem said to Avraham, “Why did Sara laugh, saying, ‘Shall I in truth bear a child, old as I am?’

יג  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־אַבְרָהָם לָמָּה זֶּה צָחֲקָה שָׂרָה לֵאמֹר הַאַף אֻמְנָם אֵלֵד וַאֲנִי זָקַנְתִּי׃

14  Is anything too wondrous for Hashem? I will return to you at the same season next year, and Sara shall have a son.”

יד  הֲיִפָּלֵא מֵיְהֹוָה דָּבָר לַמּוֹעֵד אָשׁוּב אֵלֶיךָ כָּעֵת חַיָּה וּלְשָׂרָה בֵן׃

15  Sara lied, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was frightened. But He replied, “You did laugh.”

טו  וַתְּכַחֵשׁ שָׂרָה לֵאמֹר לֹא צָחַקְתִּי כִּי יָרֵאָה וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא כִּי צָחָקְתְּ׃

16  The men set out from there and looked down toward Sodom, Avraham walking with them to see them off.

טז  וַיָּקֻמוּ מִשָּׁם הָאֲנָשִׁים וַיַּשְׁקִפוּ עַל־פְּנֵי סְדֹם וְאַבְרָהָם הֹלֵךְ עִמָּם לְשַׁלְּחָם׃

17  Now Hashem had said, “Shall I hide from Avraham what I am about to do,

יז  וַיהֹוָה אָמָר הַמְכַסֶּה אֲנִי מֵאַבְרָהָם אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי עֹשֶׂה׃

18  since Avraham is to become a great and populous nation and all the nations of the earth are to bless themselves by him?

יח  וְאַבְרָהָם הָיוֹ יִהְיֶה לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל וְעָצוּם וְנִבְרְכוּ בוֹ כֹּל גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶץ׃

19  For I have singled him out, that he may instruct his children and his posterity to keep the way of Hashem by doing what is just and right, in order that Hashem may bring about for Avraham what He has promised him.”

יט  כִּי יְדַעְתִּיו לְמַעַן אֲשֶׁר יְצַוֶּה אֶת־בָּנָיו וְאֶת־בֵּיתוֹ אַחֲרָיו וְשָׁמְרוּ דֶּרֶךְ יְהֹוָה לַעֲשׂוֹת צְדָקָה וּמִשְׁפָּט לְמַעַן הָבִיא יְהֹוָה עַל־אַבְרָהָם אֵת אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּר עָלָיו׃

20  Then Hashem said, “The outrage of Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave!

כ  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה זַעֲקַת סְדֹם וַעֲמֹרָה כִּי־רָבָּה וְחַטָּאתָם כִּי כָבְדָה מְאֹד׃

21  I will go down to see whether they have acted altogether according to the outcry that has reached Me; if not, I will take note.”

כא  אֵרֲדָה־נָּא וְאֶרְאֶה הַכְּצַעֲקָתָהּ הַבָּאָה אֵלַי עָשׂוּ כָּלָה וְאִם־לֹא אֵדָעָה׃

22  The men went on from there to Sodom, while Avraham remained standing before Hashem.

כב  וַיִּפְנוּ מִשָּׁם הָאֲנָשִׁים וַיֵּלְכוּ סְדֹמָה וְאַבְרָהָם עוֹדֶנּוּ עֹמֵד לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה׃

23  Avraham came forward and said, “Will You sweep away the innocent along with the guilty?

כג  וַיִּגַּשׁ אַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמַר הַאַף תִּסְפֶּה צַדִּיק עִם־רָשָׁע׃

24  What if there should be fifty innocent within the city; will You then wipe out the place and not forgive it for the sake of the innocent fifty who are in it?

כד  אוּלַי יֵשׁ חֲמִשִּׁים צַדִּיקִם בְּתוֹךְ הָעִיר הַאַף תִּסְפֶּה וְלֹא־תִשָּׂא לַמָּקוֹם לְמַעַן חֲמִשִּׁים הַצַּדִּיקִם אֲשֶׁר בְּקִרְבָּהּ׃

25  Far be it from You to do such a thing, to bring death upon the innocent as well as the guilty, so that innocent and guilty fare alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?”

כה  חָלִלָה לְּךָ מֵעֲשֹׂת כַּדָּבָר הַזֶּה לְהָמִית צַדִּיק עִם־רָשָׁע וְהָיָה כַצַּדִּיק כָּרָשָׁע חָלִלָה לָּךְ הֲשֹׁפֵט כָּל־הָאָרֶץ לֹא יַעֲשֶׂה מִשְׁפָּט׃

26  And Hashem answered, “If I find within the city of Sodom fifty innocent ones, I will forgive the whole place for their sake.”

כו  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אִם־אֶמְצָא בִסְדֹם חֲמִשִּׁים צַדִּיקִם בְּתוֹךְ הָעִיר וְנָשָׂאתִי לְכָל־הַמָּקוֹם בַּעֲבוּרָם׃

27  Avraham spoke up, saying, “Here I venture to speak to my Lord, I who am but dust and ashes:

כז  וַיַּעַן אַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמַר הִנֵּה־נָא הוֹאַלְתִּי לְדַבֵּר אֶל־אֲדֹנָי וְאָנֹכִי עָפָר וָאֵפֶר׃

28  What if the fifty innocent should lack five? Will You destroy the whole city for want of the five?” And He answered, “I will not destroy if I find forty-five there.”

כח  אוּלַי יַחְסְרוּן חֲמִשִּׁים הַצַּדִּיקִם חֲמִשָּׁה הֲתַשְׁחִית בַּחֲמִשָּׁה אֶת־כָּל־הָעִיר וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא אַשְׁחִית אִם־אֶמְצָא שָׁם אַרְבָּעִים וַחֲמִשָּׁה׃

29  But he spoke to Him again, and said, “What if forty should be found there?” And He answered, “I will not do it, for the sake of the forty.”

כט  וַיֹּסֶף עוֹד לְדַבֵּר אֵלָיו וַיֹּאמַר אוּלַי יִמָּצְאוּן שָׁם אַרְבָּעִים וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא אֶעֱשֶׂה בַּעֲבוּר הָאַרְבָּעִים׃

30  And he said, “Let not my Lord be angry if I go on: What if thirty should be found there?” And He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

ל  וַיֹּאמֶר אַל־נָא יִחַר לַאדֹנָי וַאֲדַבֵּרָה אוּלַי יִמָּצְאוּן שָׁם שְׁלֹשִׁים וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא אֶעֱשֶׂה אִם־אֶמְצָא שָׁם שְׁלֹשִׁים׃

31  And he said, “I venture again to speak to my Lord: What if twenty should be found there?” And He answered, “I will not destroy, for the sake of the twenty.”

לא  וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה־נָא הוֹאַלְתִּי לְדַבֵּר אֶל־אֲדֹנָי אוּלַי יִמָּצְאוּן שָׁם עֶשְׂרִים וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא אַשְׁחִית בַּעֲבוּר הָעֶשְׂרִים׃

32  And he said, “Let not my Lord be angry if I speak but this last time: What if ten should be found there?” And He answered, “I will not destroy, for the sake of the ten.”

לב  וַיֹּאמֶר אַל־נָא יִחַר לַאדֹנָי וַאֲדַבְּרָה אַךְ־הַפַּעַם אוּלַי יִמָּצְאוּן שָׁם עֲשָׂרָה וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא אַשְׁחִית בַּעֲבוּר הָעֲשָׂרָה׃

33  When Hashem had finished speaking to Avraham, He departed; and Avraham returned to his place.

לג  וַיֵּלֶךְ יְהֹוָה כַּאֲשֶׁר כִּלָּה לְדַבֵּר אֶל־אַבְרָהָם וְאַבְרָהָם שָׁב לִמְקֹמוֹ׃

19:1  The two angels arrived in Sodom in the evening, as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to greet them and, bowing low with his face to the ground,

יט:א  וַיָּבֹאוּ שְׁנֵי הַמַּלְאָכִים סְדֹמָה בָּעֶרֶב וְלוֹט יֹשֵׁב בְּשַׁעַר־סְדֹם וַיַּרְא־לוֹט וַיָּקָם לִקְרָאתָם וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ אַפַּיִם אָרְצָה׃

2  he said, “Please, my lords, turn aside to your servant’s house to spend the night, and bathe your feet; then you may be on your way early.” But they said, “No, we will spend the night in the square.”

ב  וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֶּה נָּא־אֲדֹנַי סוּרוּ נָא אֶל־בֵּית עַבְדְּכֶם וְלִינוּ וְרַחֲצוּ רַגְלֵיכֶם וְהִשְׁכַּמְתֶּם וַהֲלַכְתֶּם לְדַרְכְּכֶם וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֹּא כִּי בָרְחוֹב נָלִין׃

3  But he urged them strongly, so they turned his way and entered his house. He prepared a feast for them and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

ג  וַיִּפְצַר־בָּם מְאֹד וַיָּסֻרוּ אֵלָיו וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל־בֵּיתוֹ וַיַּעַשׂ לָהֶם מִשְׁתֶּה וּמַצּוֹת אָפָה וַיֹּאכֵלוּ׃

4  They had not yet lain down, when the townspeople, the men of Sodom, young and old—all the people to the last man—gathered about the house.

ד  טֶרֶם יִשְׁכָּבוּ וְאַנְשֵׁי הָעִיר אַנְשֵׁי סְדֹם נָסַבּוּ עַל־הַבַּיִת מִנַּעַר וְעַד־זָקֵן כָּל־הָעָם מִקָּצֶה׃

5  And they shouted to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may be intimate with them.”

ה  וַיִּקְרְאוּ אֶל־לוֹט וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ אַיֵּה הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר־בָּאוּ אֵלֶיךָ הַלָּיְלָה הוֹצִיאֵם אֵלֵינוּ וְנֵדְעָה אֹתָם׃

6  So Lot went out to them to the entrance, shut the door behind him,

ו  וַיֵּצֵא אֲלֵהֶם לוֹט הַפֶּתְחָה וְהַדֶּלֶת סָגַר אַחֲרָיו׃

7  and said, “I beg you, my friends, do not commit such a wrong.

ז  וַיֹּאמַר אַל־נָא אַחַי תָּרֵעוּ׃

8  Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you please; but do not do anything to these men, since they have come under the shelter of my roof.”

ח  הִנֵּה־נָא לִי שְׁתֵּי בָנוֹת אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יָדְעוּ אִישׁ אוֹצִיאָה־נָּא אֶתְהֶן אֲלֵיכֶם וַעֲשׂוּ לָהֶן כַּטּוֹב בְּעֵינֵיכֶם רַק לָאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵל אַל־תַּעֲשׂוּ דָבָר כִּי־עַל־כֵּן בָּאוּ בְּצֵל קֹרָתִי׃

9  But they said, “Stand back! The fellow,” they said, “came here as an alien, and already he acts the ruler! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” And they pressed hard against the person of Lot, and moved forward to break the door.

ט  וַיֹּאמְרוּ גֶּשׁ־הָלְאָה וַיֹּאמְרוּ הָאֶחָד בָּא־לָגוּר וַיִּשְׁפֹּט שָׁפוֹט עַתָּה נָרַע לְךָ מֵהֶם וַיִּפְצְרוּ בָאִישׁ בְּלוֹט מְאֹד וַיִּגְּשׁוּ לִשְׁבֹּר הַדָּלֶת׃

10  But the men stretched out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door.

י  וַיִּשְׁלְחוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים אֶת־יָדָם וַיָּבִיאוּ אֶת־לוֹט אֲלֵיהֶם הַבָּיְתָה וְאֶת־הַדֶּלֶת סָגָרוּ׃

11  And the people who were at the entrance of the house, young and old, they struck with blinding light, so that they were helpless to find the entrance.

יא  וְאֶת־הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר־פֶּתַח הַבַּיִת הִכּוּ בַּסַּנְוֵרִים מִקָּטֹן וְעַד־גָּדוֹל וַיִּלְאוּ לִמְצֹא הַפָּתַח׃

12  Then the men said to Lot, “Whom else have you here? Sons-in-law, your sons and daughters, or anyone else that you have in the city—bring them out of the place.

יב  וַיֹּאמְרוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים אֶל־לוֹט עֹד מִי־לְךָ פֹה חָתָן וּבָנֶיךָ וּבְנֹתֶיךָ וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־לְךָ בָּעִיר הוֹצֵא מִן־הַמָּקוֹם׃

13  For we are about to destroy this place; because the outcry against them before Hashem has become so great that Hashem has sent us to destroy it.”

יג  כִּי־מַשְׁחִתִים אֲנַחְנוּ אֶת־הַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה כִּי־גָדְלָה צַעֲקָתָם אֶת־פְּנֵי יְהֹוָה וַיְשַׁלְּחֵנוּ יְהֹוָה לְשַׁחֲתָהּ׃

14  So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, “Up, get out of this place, for Hashem is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law as one who jests.

יד  וַיֵּצֵא לוֹט וַיְדַבֵּר אֶל־חֲתָנָיו לֹקְחֵי בְנֹתָיו וַיֹּאמֶר קוּמוּ צְּאוּ מִן־הַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה כִּי־מַשְׁחִית יְהֹוָה אֶת־הָעִיר וַיְהִי כִמְצַחֵק בְּעֵינֵי חֲתָנָיו׃

15  As dawn broke, the angels urged Lot on, saying, “Up, take your wife and your two remaining daughters, lest you be swept away because of the iniquity of the city.”

טו  וּכְמוֹ הַשַּׁחַר עָלָה וַיָּאִיצוּ הַמַּלְאָכִים בְּלוֹט לֵאמֹר קוּם קַח אֶת־אִשְׁתְּךָ וְאֶת־שְׁתֵּי בְנֹתֶיךָ הַנִּמְצָאֹת פֶּן־תִּסָּפֶה בַּעֲוׂן הָעִיר׃

16  Still he delayed. So the men seized his hand, and the hands of his wife and his two daughters—in Hashem‘s mercy on him—and brought him out and left him outside the city.

טז  וַיִּתְמַהְמָהּ וַיַּחֲזִקוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים בְּיָדוֹ וּבְיַד־אִשְׁתּוֹ וּבְיַד שְׁתֵּי בְנֹתָיו בְּחֶמְלַת יְהֹוָה עָלָיו וַיֹּצִאֻהוּ וַיַּנִּחֻהוּ מִחוּץ לָעִיר׃

17  When they had brought them outside, one said, “Flee for your life! Do not look behind you, nor stop anywhere in the Plain; flee to the hills, lest you be swept away.”

יז  וַיְהִי כְהוֹצִיאָם אֹתָם הַחוּצָה וַיֹּאמֶר הִמָּלֵט עַל־נַפְשֶׁךָ אַל־תַּבִּיט אַחֲרֶיךָ וְאַל־תַּעֲמֹד בְּכָל־הַכִּכָּר הָהָרָה הִמָּלֵט פֶּן־תִּסָּפֶה׃

18  But Lot said to them, “Oh no, my lord!

יח  וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹט אֲלֵהֶם אַל־נָא אֲדֹנָי׃

19  You have been so gracious to your servant, and have already shown me so much kindness in order to save my life; but I cannot flee to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die.

יט  הִנֵּה־נָא מָצָא עַבְדְּךָ חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ וַתַּגְדֵּל חַסְדְּךָ אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ עִמָּדִי לְהַחֲיוֹת אֶת־נַפְשִׁי וְאָנֹכִי לֹא אוּכַל לְהִמָּלֵט הָהָרָה פֶּן־תִּדְבָּקַנִי הָרָעָה וָמַתִּי׃

20  Look, that town there is near enough to flee to; it is such a little place! Let me flee there—it is such a little place—and let my life be saved.”

כ  הִנֵּה־נָא הָעִיר הַזֹּאת קְרֹבָה לָנוּס שָׁמָּה וְהִיא מִצְעָר אִמָּלְטָה נָּא שָׁמָּה הֲלֹא מִצְעָר הִוא וּתְחִי נַפְשִׁי׃

21  He replied, “Very well, I will grant you this favor too, and I will not annihilate the town of which you have spoken.

כא  וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו הִנֵּה נָשָׂאתִי פָנֶיךָ גַּם לַדָּבָר הַזֶּה לְבִלְתִּי הָפְכִּי אֶת־הָעִיר אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ׃

22  Hurry, flee there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Hence the town came to be called Zoar.

כב  מַהֵר הִמָּלֵט שָׁמָּה כִּי לֹא אוּכַל לַעֲשׂוֹת דָּבָר עַד־בֹּאֲךָ שָׁמָּה עַל־כֵּן קָרָא שֵׁם־הָעִיר צוֹעַר׃

23  As the sun rose upon the earth and Lot entered Zoar,

כג  הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ יָצָא עַל־הָאָרֶץ וְלוֹט בָּא צֹעֲרָה׃

24  Hashem rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah sulfurous fire from Hashem out of heaven.

כד  וַיהֹוָה הִמְטִיר עַל־סְדֹם וְעַל־עֲמֹרָה גָּפְרִית וָאֵשׁ מֵאֵת יְהֹוָה מִן־הַשָּׁמָיִם׃

25  He annihilated those cities and the entire Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities and the vegetation of the ground.

va-ya-ha-FOKH et he-a-REEM ha-AYL v’-AYT kol ha-ki-KAR v’-AYT kol yo-sh’-VAY he-a-REEM v’-TZE-makh ha-a-da-MAH

כה  וַיַּהֲפֹךְ אֶת־הֶעָרִים הָאֵל וְאֵת כָּל־הַכִּכָּר וְאֵת כָּל־יֹשְׁבֵי הֶעָרִים וְצֶמַח הָאֲדָמָה׃

 19:25   And the vegetation of the ground

The destruction of Sodom is complete, total annihilation. The obliteration includes not just the people, but also the overturning of the city and the very earth they resided on. The Ramban comments that here, God set a precedent that the Land of Israel, which includes Sodom, does not tolerate corruption. This serves as a warning for future inhabitants of this holy place to guard their behavior . As it says in Sefer Devarim (29:22,24) “all its soil devastated by sulfur and salt, beyond sowing and producing, no grass growing in it, just like the upheaval of Sodom and Gomorrah… Because they forsook the covenant that the LORD, God of their fathers, made with them when He freed them from the land of Egypt… because they forsook the covenant of Hashem.3 comments

26  Lot’s wife looked back, and she thereupon turned into a pillar of salt.

כו  וַתַּבֵּט אִשְׁתּוֹ מֵאַחֲרָיו וַתְּהִי נְצִיב מֶלַח׃

27  Next morning, Avraham hurried to the place where he had stood before Hashem,

כז  וַיַּשְׁכֵּם אַבְרָהָם בַּבֹּקֶר אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר־עָמַד שָׁם אֶת־פְּנֵי יְהֹוָה׃

28  and, looking down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and all the land of the Plain, he saw the smoke of the land rising like the smoke of a kiln.

כח  וַיַּשְׁקֵף עַל־פְּנֵי סְדֹם וַעֲמֹרָה וְעַל־כָּל־פְּנֵי אֶרֶץ הַכִּכָּר וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה עָלָה קִיטֹר הָאָרֶץ כְּקִיטֹר הַכִּבְשָׁן׃

29  Thus it was that, when Hashem destroyed the cities of the Plain and annihilated the cities where Lot dwelt, Hashem was mindful of Avraham and removed Lot from the midst of the upheaval.

כט  וַיְהִי בְּשַׁחֵת אֱלֹהִים אֶת־עָרֵי הַכִּכָּר וַיִּזְכֹּר אֱלֹהִים אֶת־אַבְרָהָם וַיְשַׁלַּח אֶת־לוֹט מִתּוֹךְ הַהֲפֵכָה בַּהֲפֹךְ אֶת־הֶעָרִים אֲשֶׁר־יָשַׁב בָּהֵן לוֹט׃

30  Lot went up from Zoar and settled in the hill country with his two daughters, for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar; and he and his two daughters lived in a cave.

ל  וַיַּעַל לוֹט מִצּוֹעַר וַיֵּשֶׁב בָּהָר וּשְׁתֵּי בְנֹתָיו עִמּוֹ כִּי יָרֵא לָשֶׁבֶת בְּצוֹעַר וַיֵּשֶׁב בַּמְּעָרָה הוּא וּשְׁתֵּי בְנֹתָיו׃

31  And the older one said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to consort with us in the way of all the world.

לא  וַתֹּאמֶר הַבְּכִירָה אֶל־הַצְּעִירָה אָבִינוּ זָקֵן וְאִישׁ אֵין בָּאָרֶץ לָבוֹא עָלֵינוּ כְּדֶרֶךְ כָּל־הָאָרֶץ׃

32  Come, let us make our father drink wine, and let us lie with him, that we may maintain life through our father.”

לב  לְכָה נַשְׁקֶה אֶת־אָבִינוּ יַיִן וְנִשְׁכְּבָה עִמּוֹ וּנְחַיֶּה מֵאָבִינוּ זָרַע׃

33  That night they made their father drink wine, and the older one went in and lay with her father; he did not know when she lay down or when she rose.

לג  וַתַּשְׁקֶיןָ אֶת־אֲבִיהֶן יַיִן בַּלַּיְלָה הוּא וַתָּבֹא הַבְּכִירָה וַתִּשְׁכַּב אֶת־אָבִיהָ וְלֹא־יָדַע בְּשִׁכְבָהּ וּבְקוּמָהּ׃

34  The next day the older one said to the younger, “See, I lay with Father last night; let us make him drink wine tonight also, and you go and lie with him, that we may maintain life through our father.”

לד  וַיְהִי מִמָּחֳרָת וַתֹּאמֶר הַבְּכִירָה אֶל־הַצְּעִירָה הֵן־שָׁכַבְתִּי אֶמֶשׁ אֶת־אָבִי נַשְׁקֶנּוּ יַיִן גַּם־הַלַּיְלָה וּבֹאִי שִׁכְבִי עִמּוֹ וּנְחַיֶּה מֵאָבִינוּ זָרַע׃

35  That night also they made their father drink wine, and the younger one went and lay with him; he did not know when she lay down or when she rose.

לה  וַתַּשְׁקֶיןָ גַּם בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא אֶת־אֲבִיהֶן יָיִן וַתָּקָם הַצְּעִירָה וַתִּשְׁכַּב עִמּוֹ וְלֹא־יָדַע בְּשִׁכְבָהּ וּבְקֻמָהּ׃

36  Thus the two daughters of Lot came to be with child by their father.

לו  וַתַּהֲרֶיןָ שְׁתֵּי בְנוֹת־לוֹט מֵאֲבִיהֶן׃

37  The older one bore a son and named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today.

לז  וַתֵּלֶד הַבְּכִירָה בֵּן וַתִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ מוֹאָב הוּא אֲבִי־מוֹאָב עַד־הַיּוֹם׃

38  And the younger also bore a son, and she called him Ben-ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today.

לח  וְהַצְּעִירָה גַם־הִוא יָלְדָה בֵּן וַתִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ בֶּן־עַמִּי הוּא אֲבִי בְנֵי־עַמּוֹן עַד־הַיּוֹם׃

20:1  Avraham journeyed from there to the region of the Negev and settled between Kadesh and Shur. While he was sojourning in Gerar,

va-yi-SA mi-SHAM av-ra-HAM AR-tzah ha-NE-gev va-YAY-shev bayn ka-DAYSH u-VAYN SHUR va-YA-gor big-RAR

כ:א  וַיִּסַּע מִשָּׁם אַבְרָהָם אַרְצָה הַנֶּגֶב וַיֵּשֶׁב בֵּין־קָדֵשׁ וּבֵין שׁוּר וַיָּגָר בִּגְרָר׃

 20:1   Avraham journeyed from there

Scripture does not provide any reason for Avraham’s travels. Consequently, Rabbi David Kimchi, a medieval commentator and grammarian known as the Radak, posits that Avraham travels in order to dwell in the different parts of the land that Hashem gave to him. By residing in various places, even for short periods of time, Avraham thereby adds his own effort to acquire the breadth and width of the land promised to him. In this way, Avraham is fulfilling God’s command “walk about the land” (Genesis 13:17). Saddened by the loss of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Avraham wonders if the destruction could have been prevented by his presence there. He resolves to reach further areas in Eretz Yisrael.2 comments

2  Avraham said of Sara his wife, “She is my sister.” So King Abimelech of Gerar had Sara brought to him.

va-YO-mer av-ra-HAM el sa-RAH ish-TO a-KHO-tee HEE va-yish-LAKH a-vee-ME-lekh ME-lekh g’-RAR va-yi-KAKH et sa-RAH

ב  וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם אֶל־שָׂרָה אִשְׁתּוֹ אֲחֹתִי הִוא וַיִּשְׁלַח אֲבִימֶלֶךְ מֶלֶךְ גְּרָר וַיִּקַּח אֶת־שָׂרָה׃

 20:2   So King Abimelech of Gerar had Sara brought to him

Although Sara was taken captive by both Pharoah (Genesis 12:19) and Abimelech, her courage and bravery inspired many Jewish women over the centuries, especially those who carried her name. Sarah Braverman, the “first lady of the IDF,” was born in Romania in 1918, and arrived in Israel when she was 20 years old. Upon her arrival, she immediately joined the Jewish liberation movement. Braverman was one of the first women to join “Palmach,” the special fighting forces of the Haganah and one of the forerunners of the Israeli army. Braverman was chosen to be one of three women in a group of 37 Palmach fighters to take part in the 1943 parachuting mission behind enemy lines into Nazi Europe. After the creation of the State of Israel, Braverman helped establish the IDF Women’s Corps. Sarah Braverman truly lived up to her namesake, the original Sara. She was a brave and devoted Jewish heroine, who put her life on the line time and again to protect and defend her people.

Comment

3  But Hashem came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “You are to die because of the woman that you have taken, for she is a married woman.”

ג  וַיָּבֹא אֱלֹהִים אֶל־אֲבִימֶלֶךְ בַּחֲלוֹם הַלָּיְלָה וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ הִנְּךָ מֵת עַל־הָאִשָּׁה אֲשֶׁר־לָקַחְתָּ וְהִוא בְּעֻלַת בָּעַל׃

4  Now Abimelech had not approached her. He said, “O Hashem, will You slay people even though innocent?

ד  וַאֲבִימֶלֶךְ לֹא קָרַב אֵלֶיהָ וַיֹּאמַר אֲדֹנָי הֲגוֹי גַּם־צַדִּיק תַּהֲרֹג׃

5  He himself said to me, ‘She is my sister!’ And she also said, ‘He is my brother.’ When I did this, my heart was blameless and my hands were clean.”

ה  הֲלֹא הוּא אָמַר־לִי אֲחֹתִי הִוא וְהִיא־גַם־הִוא אָמְרָה אָחִי הוּא בְּתָם־לְבָבִי וּבְנִקְיֹן כַּפַּי עָשִׂיתִי זֹאת׃

6  And Hashem said to him in the dream, “I knew that you did this with a blameless heart, and so I kept you from sinning against Me. That was why I did not let you touch her.

ו  וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו הָאֱלֹהִים בַּחֲלֹם גַּם אָנֹכִי יָדַעְתִּי כִּי בְתָם־לְבָבְךָ עָשִׂיתָ זֹּאת וָאֶחְשֹׂךְ גַּם־אָנֹכִי אוֹתְךָ מֵחֲטוֹ־לִי עַל־כֵּן לֹא־נְתַתִּיךָ לִנְגֹּעַ אֵלֶיהָ׃

7  Therefore, restore the man’s wife—since he is a navi, he will intercede for you—to save your life. If you fail to restore her, know that you shall die, you and all that are yours.”

ז  וְעַתָּה הָשֵׁב אֵשֶׁת־הָאִישׁ כִּי־נָבִיא הוּא וְיִתְפַּלֵּל בַּעַדְךָ וֶחְיֵה וְאִם־אֵינְךָ מֵשִׁיב דַּע כִּי־מוֹת תָּמוּת אַתָּה וְכָל־אֲשֶׁר־לָךְ׃

8  Early next morning, Abimelech called his servants and told them all that had happened; and the men were greatly frightened.

ח  וַיַּשְׁכֵּם אֲבִימֶלֶךְ בַּבֹּקֶר וַיִּקְרָא לְכָל־עֲבָדָיו וַיְדַבֵּר אֶת־כָּל־הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה בְּאָזְנֵיהֶם וַיִּירְאוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים מְאֹד׃

9  Then Abimelech summoned Avraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? What wrong have I done that you should bring so great a guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.

ט  וַיִּקְרָא אֲבִימֶלֶךְ לְאַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ מֶה־עָשִׂיתָ לָּנוּ וּמֶה־חָטָאתִי לָךְ כִּי־הֵבֵאתָ עָלַי וְעַל־מַמְלַכְתִּי חֲטָאָה גְדֹלָה מַעֲשִׂים אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יֵעָשׂוּ עָשִׂיתָ עִמָּדִי׃

10  What, then,” Abimelech demanded of Avraham, “was your purpose in doing this thing?”

י  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲבִימֶלֶךְ אֶל־אַבְרָהָם מָה רָאִיתָ כִּי עָשִׂיתָ אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה׃

11  “I thought,” said Avraham, “surely there is no fear of Hashem in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.

יא  וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם כִּי אָמַרְתִּי רַק אֵין־יִרְאַת אֱלֹהִים בַּמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה וַהֲרָגוּנִי עַל־דְּבַר אִשְׁתִּי׃

12  And besides, she is in truth my sister, my father’s daughter though not my mother’s; and she became my wife.

יב  וְגַם־אָמְנָה אֲחֹתִי בַת־אָבִי הִוא אַךְ לֹא בַת־אִמִּי וַתְּהִי־לִי לְאִשָּׁה׃

13  So when Hashem made me wander from my father’s house, I said to her, ‘Let this be the kindness that you shall do me: whatever place we come to, say there of me: He is my brother.’”

יג  וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר הִתְעוּ אֹתִי אֱלֹהִים מִבֵּית אָבִי וָאֹמַר לָהּ זֶה חַסְדֵּךְ אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשִׂי עִמָּדִי אֶל כָּל־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר נָבוֹא שָׁמָּה אִמְרִי־לִי אָחִי הוּא׃

14  Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and male and female slaves, and gave them to Avraham; and he restored his wife Sara to him.

יד  וַיִּקַּח אֲבִימֶלֶךְ צֹאן וּבָקָר וַעֲבָדִים וּשְׁפָחֹת וַיִּתֵּן לְאַבְרָהָם וַיָּשֶׁב לוֹ אֵת שָׂרָה אִשְׁתּוֹ׃

15  And Abimelech said, “Here, my land is before you; settle wherever you please.”

טו  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲבִימֶלֶךְ הִנֵּה אַרְצִי לְפָנֶיךָ בַּטּוֹב בְּעֵינֶיךָ שֵׁב׃

16  And to Sara he said, “I herewith give your brother a thousand pieces of silver; this will serve you as vindication before all who are with you, and you are cleared before everyone.”

טז  וּלְשָׂרָה אָמַר הִנֵּה נָתַתִּי אֶלֶף כֶּסֶף לְאָחִיךְ הִנֵּה הוּא־לָךְ כְּסוּת עֵינַיִם לְכֹל אֲשֶׁר אִתָּךְ וְאֵת כֹּל וְנֹכָחַת׃

17  Avraham then prayed to Hashem, and Hashem healed Abimelech and his wife and his slave girls, so that they bore children;

יז  וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל אַבְרָהָם אֶל־הָאֱלֹהִים וַיִּרְפָּא אֱלֹהִים אֶת־אֲבִימֶלֶךְ וְאֶת־אִשְׁתּוֹ וְאַמְהֹתָיו וַיֵּלֵדוּ׃

18  for Hashem had closed fast every womb of the household of Abimelech because of Sara, the wife of Avraham.

יח  כִּי־עָצֹר עָצַר יְהֹוָה בְּעַד כָּל־רֶחֶם לְבֵית אֲבִימֶלֶךְ עַל־דְּבַר שָׂרָה אֵשֶׁת אַבְרָהָם׃

21:1  Hashem took note of Sara as He had promised, and Hashem did for Sara as He had spoken.

כא:א  וַיהֹוָה פָּקַד אֶת־שָׂרָה כַּאֲשֶׁר אָמָר וַיַּעַשׂ יְהֹוָה לְשָׂרָה כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֵּר׃

2  Sara conceived and bore a son to Avraham in his old age, at the set time of which Hashem had spoken.

ב  וַתַּהַר וַתֵּלֶד שָׂרָה לְאַבְרָהָם בֵּן לִזְקֻנָיו לַמּוֹעֵד אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּר אֹתוֹ אֱלֹהִים׃

3  Avraham gave his newborn son, whom Sara had borne him, the name of Yitzchak.

ג  וַיִּקְרָא אַבְרָהָם אֶת־שֶׁם־בְּנוֹ הַנּוֹלַד־לוֹ אֲשֶׁר־יָלְדָה־לּוֹ שָׂרָה יִצְחָק׃

4  And when his son Yitzchak was eight days old, Avraham circumcised him, as Hashem had commanded him.

ד  וַיָּמָל אַבְרָהָם אֶת־יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ בֶּן־שְׁמֹנַת יָמִים כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה אֹתוֹ אֱלֹהִים׃

5  Now Avraham was a hundred years old when his son Yitzchak was born to him.

ה  וְאַבְרָהָם בֶּן־מְאַת שָׁנָה בְּהִוָּלֶד לוֹ אֵת יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ׃

6  Sara said, “Hashem has brought me laughter; everyone who hears will laugh with me.”

ו  וַתֹּאמֶר שָׂרָה צְחֹק עָשָׂה לִי אֱלֹהִים כָּל־הַשֹּׁמֵעַ יִצְחַק־לִי׃

7  And she added, “Who would have said to Avraham That Sara would suckle children! Yet I have borne a son in his old age.”

ז  וַתֹּאמֶר מִי מִלֵּל לְאַבְרָהָם הֵינִיקָה בָנִים שָׂרָה כִּי־יָלַדְתִּי בֵן לִזְקֻנָיו׃

8  The child grew up and was weaned, and Avraham held a great feast on the day that Yitzchak was weaned.

ח  וַיִּגְדַּל הַיֶּלֶד וַיִּגָּמַל וַיַּעַשׂ אַבְרָהָם מִשְׁתֶּה גָדוֹל בְּיוֹם הִגָּמֵל אֶת־יִצְחָק׃

9  Sara saw the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Avraham playing.

ט  וַתֵּרֶא שָׂרָה אֶת־בֶּן־הָגָר הַמִּצְרִית אֲשֶׁר־יָלְדָה לְאַבְרָהָם מְצַחֵק׃

10  She said to Avraham, “Cast out that slave-woman and her son, for the son of that slave shall not share in the inheritance with my son Yitzchak.”

י  וַתֹּאמֶר לְאַבְרָהָם גָּרֵשׁ הָאָמָה הַזֹּאת וְאֶת־בְּנָהּ כִּי לֹא יִירַשׁ בֶּן־הָאָמָה הַזֹּאת עִם־בְּנִי עִם־יִצְחָק׃

11  The matter distressed Avraham greatly, for it concerned a son of his.

יא  וַיֵּרַע הַדָּבָר מְאֹד בְּעֵינֵי אַבְרָהָם עַל אוֹדֹת בְּנוֹ׃

12  But Hashem said to Avraham, “Do not be distressed over the boy or your slave; whatever Sara tells you, do as she says, for it is through Yitzchak that offspring shall be continued for you.

יב  וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים אֶל־אַבְרָהָם אַל־יֵרַע בְּעֵינֶיךָ עַל־הַנַּעַר וְעַל־אֲמָתֶךָ כֹּל אֲשֶׁר תֹּאמַר אֵלֶיךָ שָׂרָה שְׁמַע בְּקֹלָהּ כִּי בְיִצְחָק יִקָּרֵא לְךָ זָרַע׃

13  As for the son of the slave-woman, I will make a nation of him, too, for he is your seed.”

יג  וְגַם אֶת־בֶּן־הָאָמָה לְגוֹי אֲשִׂימֶנּוּ כִּי זַרְעֲךָ הוּא׃

14  Early next morning Avraham took some bread and a skin of water, and gave them to Hagar. He placed them over her shoulder, together with the child, and sent her away. And she wandered about in the wilderness of Be’er Sheva.

יד  וַיַּשְׁכֵּם אַבְרָהָם בַּבֹּקֶר וַיִּקַּח־לֶחֶם וְחֵמַת מַיִם וַיִּתֵּן אֶל־הָגָר שָׂם עַל־שִׁכְמָהּ וְאֶת־הַיֶּלֶד וַיְשַׁלְּחֶהָ וַתֵּלֶךְ וַתֵּתַע בְּמִדְבַּר בְּאֵר שָׁבַע׃

15  When the water was gone from the skin, she left the child under one of the bushes,

טו  וַיִּכְלוּ הַמַּיִם מִן־הַחֵמֶת וַתַּשְׁלֵךְ אֶת־הַיֶּלֶד תַּחַת אַחַד הַשִּׂיחִם׃

16  and went and sat down at a distance, a bowshot away; for she thought, “Let me not look on as the child dies.” And sitting thus afar, she burst into tears.

טז  וַתֵּלֶךְ וַתֵּשֶׁב לָהּ מִנֶּגֶד הַרְחֵק כִּמְטַחֲוֵי קֶשֶׁת כִּי אָמְרָה אַל־אֶרְאֶה בְּמוֹת הַיָּלֶד וַתֵּשֶׁב מִנֶּגֶד וַתִּשָּׂא אֶת־קֹלָהּ וַתֵּבְךְּ׃

17  Hashem heard the cry of the boy, and an angel of Hashem called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for Hashem has heeded the cry of the boy where he is.

יז  וַיִּשְׁמַע אֱלֹהִים אֶת־קוֹל הַנַּעַר וַיִּקְרָא מַלְאַךְ אֱלֹהִים אֶל־הָגָר מִן־הַשָּׁמַיִם וַיֹּאמֶר לָהּ מַה־לָּךְ הָגָר אַל־תִּירְאִי כִּי־שָׁמַע אֱלֹהִים אֶל־קוֹל הַנַּעַר בַּאֲשֶׁר הוּא־שָׁם׃

18  Come, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him.”

יח  קוּמִי שְׂאִי אֶת־הַנַּעַר וְהַחֲזִיקִי אֶת־יָדֵךְ בּוֹ כִּי־לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל אֲשִׂימֶנּוּ׃

19  Then Hashem opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water, and let the boy drink.

יט  וַיִּפְקַח אֱלֹהִים אֶת־עֵינֶיהָ וַתֵּרֶא בְּאֵר מָיִם וַתֵּלֶךְ וַתְּמַלֵּא אֶת־הַחֵמֶת מַיִם וַתַּשְׁקְ אֶת־הַנָּעַר׃

20  Hashem was with the boy and he grew up; he dwelt in the wilderness and became a bowman.

כ  וַיְהִי אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הַנַּעַר וַיִּגְדָּל וַיֵּשֶׁב בַּמִּדְבָּר וַיְהִי רֹבֶה קַשָּׁת׃

21  He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

כא  וַיֵּשֶׁב בְּמִדְבַּר פָּארָן וַתִּקַּח־לוֹ אִמּוֹ אִשָּׁה מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם׃

22  At that time Abimelech and Phicol, chief of his troops, said to Avraham, “Hashem is with you in everything that you do.

כב  וַיְהִי בָּעֵת הַהִוא וַיֹּאמֶר אֲבִימֶלֶךְ וּפִיכֹל שַׂר־צְבָאוֹ אֶל־אַבְרָהָם לֵאמֹר אֱלֹהִים עִמְּךָ בְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר־אַתָּה עֹשֶׂה׃

23  Therefore swear to me here by Hashem that you will not deal falsely with me or with my kith and kin, but will deal with me and with the land in which you have sojourned as loyally as I have dealt with you.”

כג  וְעַתָּה הִשָּׁבְעָה לִּי בֵאלֹהִים הֵנָּה אִם־תִּשְׁקֹר לִי וּלְנִינִי וּלְנֶכְדִּי כַּחֶסֶד אֲשֶׁר־עָשִׂיתִי עִמְּךָ תַּעֲשֶׂה עִמָּדִי וְעִם־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־גַּרְתָּה בָּהּ׃

24  And Avraham said, “I swear it.”

כד  וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם אָנֹכִי אִשָּׁבֵעַ׃

25  Then Avraham reproached Abimelech for the well of water which the servants of Abimelech had seized.

כה  וְהוֹכִחַ אַבְרָהָם אֶת־אֲבִימֶלֶךְ עַל־אֹדוֹת בְּאֵר הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר גָּזְלוּ עַבְדֵי אֲבִימֶלֶךְ׃

26  But Abimelech said, “I do not know who did this; you did not tell me, nor have I heard of it until today.”

כו  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲבִימֶלֶךְ לֹא יָדַעְתִּי מִי עָשָׂה אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה וְגַם־אַתָּה לֹא־הִגַּדְתָּ לִּי וְגַם אָנֹכִי לֹא שָׁמַעְתִּי בִּלְתִּי הַיּוֹם׃

27  Avraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two of them made a pact.

כז  וַיִּקַּח אַבְרָהָם צֹאן וּבָקָר וַיִּתֵּן לַאֲבִימֶלֶךְ וַיִּכְרְתוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם בְּרִית׃

28  Avraham then set seven ewes of the flock by themselves,

כח  וַיַּצֵּב אַבְרָהָם אֶת־שֶׁבַע כִּבְשֹׂת הַצֹּאן לְבַדְּהֶן׃

29  and Abimelech said to Avraham, “What mean these seven ewes which you have set apart?”

כט  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲבִימֶלֶךְ אֶל־אַבְרָהָם מָה הֵנָּה שֶׁבַע כְּבָשֹׂת הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר הִצַּבְתָּ לְבַדָּנָה׃

30  He replied, “You are to accept these seven ewes from me as proof that I dug this well.”

ל  וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי אֶת־שֶׁבַע כְּבָשֹׂת תִּקַּח מִיָּדִי בַּעֲבוּר תִּהְיֶה־לִּי לְעֵדָה כִּי חָפַרְתִּי אֶת־הַבְּאֵר הַזֹּאת׃

31  Hence that place was called Be’er Sheva, for there the two of them swore an oath.

al KAYN ka-RA la-ma-KOM ha-HU b’-AYR SHA-va KEE SHAM nish-b’-U sh’-nay-HEM

לא  עַל־כֵּן קָרָא לַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא בְּאֵר שָׁבַע כִּי שָׁם נִשְׁבְּעוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם׃

 21:31   Hence that place was called Be’er Sheva

Avraham names the place where he entered the covenant with Abimelech Be’er Sheva. The name Be’er Sheva (באר שבע), is made up of two Hebrew words. Be’er (באר) means ‘well,’ hinting to the fact that this covenant acknowledged Avraham’s right to the water well. The second part of the word is made up of the root ש-ב-ע, which means both ‘seven’ and ‘oath.’  Thus, Be’er Sheva can mean either ‘well of the seven’ or  ‘well of the oath.’  This double meaning hints both to the seven female sheep set aside by Avraham as verification of the oath, and to the oath taken with regard to the well itself.2 comments

32  When they had concluded the pact at Be’er Sheva, Abimelech and Phicol, chief of his troops, departed and returned to the land of the Philistines.

לב  וַיִּכְרְתוּ בְרִית בִּבְאֵר שָׁבַע וַיָּקָם אֲבִימֶלֶךְ וּפִיכֹל שַׂר־צְבָאוֹ וַיָּשֻׁבוּ אֶל־אֶרֶץ פְּלִשְׁתִּים׃

33  [Avraham] planted a tamarisk at Be’er Sheva, and invoked there the name of Hashem, the Everlasting God.

va-yi-TA E-shel biv-AYR SHA-va va-YIK-ra SHAM b’-SHAYM a-do-NAI AYL o-LAM

לג  וַיִּטַּע אֶשֶׁל בִּבְאֵר שָׁבַע וַיִּקְרָא־שָׁם בְּשֵׁם יְהֹוָה אֵל עוֹלָם׃

 21:33   The name of Hashem, the Everlasting God

The Hebrew word used in this verse for everlasting is olam (עולם), which also means ‘world’ or ‘universe.’ The word olam is closely related to the word ne’elam (נעלם), meaning ‘hidden.’ The phrase “El Olam” (אל עולם), ‘Everlasting God,’ alludes to the fact that Hashem is also King over that which is hidden from us. God has specifically designed a world that is ruled by the laws of nature and hides His presence. It is up to man to see past His mask and reveal the Godliness that is hidden throughout the universe.1 comment

34  And Avraham resided in the land of the Philistines a long time.

לד  וַיָּגָר אַבְרָהָם בְּאֶרֶץ פְּלִשְׁתִּים יָמִים רַבִּים׃

22:1  Some time afterward, Hashem put Avraham to the test. He said to him, “Avraham,” and he answered, “Here I am.”

כב:א  וַיְהִי אַחַר הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וְהָאֱלֹהִים נִסָּה אֶת־אַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּנִי׃

2  And He said, “Take your son, your favored one, Yitzchak, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the heights that I will point out to you.”

va-YO-mer kakh NA et bin-KHA et y’-khee-d’-KHA a-sher a-HAV-ta et yitz-KHAK v’-LEKH l’-KHA el E-retz ha-mo-ri-YAH v’-ha-a-LAY-hu SHAM l’-o-LAH AL a-KHAD he-ha-REEM a-SHER o-MAR ay-LE-kha

ב  וַיֹּאמֶר קַח־נָא אֶת־בִּנְךָ אֶת־יְחִידְךָ אֲשֶׁר־אָהַבְתָּ אֶת־יִצְחָק וְלֶךְ־לְךָ אֶל־אֶרֶץ הַמֹּרִיָּה וְהַעֲלֵהוּ שָׁם לְעֹלָה עַל אַחַד הֶהָרִים אֲשֶׁר אֹמַר אֵלֶיךָ׃

3  So early next morning, Avraham saddled his ass and took with him two of his servants and his son Yitzchak. He split the wood for the burnt offering, and he set out for the place of which Hashem had told him.

ג  וַיַּשְׁכֵּם אַבְרָהָם בַּבֹּקֶר וַיַּחֲבֹשׁ אֶת־חֲמֹרוֹ וַיִּקַּח אֶת־שְׁנֵי נְעָרָיו אִתּוֹ וְאֵת יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ וַיְבַקַּע עֲצֵי עֹלָה וַיָּקָם וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר־אָמַר־לוֹ הָאֱלֹהִים׃

4  On the third day Avraham looked up and saw the place from afar.

ד  בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי וַיִּשָּׂא אַבְרָהָם אֶת־עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא אֶת־הַמָּקוֹם מֵרָחֹק׃

5  Then Avraham said to his servants, “You stay here with the ass. The boy and I will go up there; we will worship and we will return to you.”

ה  וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם אֶל־נְעָרָיו שְׁבוּ־לָכֶם פֹּה עִם־הַחֲמוֹר וַאֲנִי וְהַנַּעַר נֵלְכָה עַד־כֹּה וְנִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה וְנָשׁוּבָה אֲלֵיכֶם׃

6  Avraham took the wood for the burnt offering and put it on his son Yitzchak. He himself took the firestone and the knife; and the two walked off together.

ו  וַיִּקַּח אַבְרָהָם אֶת־עֲצֵי הָעֹלָה וַיָּשֶׂם עַל־יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ וַיִּקַּח בְּיָדוֹ אֶת־הָאֵשׁ וְאֶת־הַמַּאֲכֶלֶת וַיֵּלְכוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם יַחְדָּו׃

7  Then Yitzchak said to his father Avraham, “Father!” And he answered, “Yes, my son.” And he said, “Here are the firestone and the wood; but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?”

ז  וַיֹּאמֶר יִצְחָק אֶל־אַבְרָהָם אָבִיו וַיֹּאמֶר אָבִי וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֶּנִּי בְנִי וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה הָאֵשׁ וְהָעֵצִים וְאַיֵּה הַשֶּׂה לְעֹלָה׃

8  And Avraham said, “Hashem will see to the sheep for His burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them walked on together.

ח  וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם אֱלֹהִים יִרְאֶה־לּוֹ הַשֶּׂה לְעֹלָה בְּנִי וַיֵּלְכוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם יַחְדָּו׃

9  They arrived at the place of which Hashem had told him. Avraham built a mizbayach there; he laid out the wood; he bound his son Yitzchak; he laid him on the mizbayach, on top of the wood.

ט  וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר אָמַר־לוֹ הָאֱלֹהִים וַיִּבֶן שָׁם אַבְרָהָם אֶת־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וַיַּעֲרֹךְ אֶת־הָעֵצִים וַיַּעֲקֹד אֶת־יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ וַיָּשֶׂם אֹתוֹ עַל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ מִמַּעַל לָעֵצִים׃

10  And Avraham picked up the knife to slay his son.

י  וַיִּשְׁלַח אַבְרָהָם אֶת־יָדוֹ וַיִּקַּח אֶת־הַמַּאֲכֶלֶת לִשְׁחֹט אֶת־בְּנוֹ׃

11  Then an angel of Hashem called to him from heaven: “Avraham! Avraham!” And he answered, “Here I am.”

יא  וַיִּקְרָא אֵלָיו מַלְאַךְ יְהֹוָה מִן־הַשָּׁמַיִם וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם אַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּנִי׃

12  And he said, “Do not raise your hand against the boy, or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear Hashem, since you have not withheld your son, your favored one, from Me.”

יב  וַיֹּאמֶר אַל־תִּשְׁלַח יָדְךָ אֶל־הַנַּעַר וְאַל־תַּעַשׂ לוֹ מְאוּמָּה כִּי עַתָּה יָדַעְתִּי כִּי־יְרֵא אֱלֹהִים אַתָּה וְלֹא חָשַׂכְתָּ אֶת־בִּנְךָ אֶת־יְחִידְךָ מִמֶּנִּי׃

13  When Avraham looked up, his eye fell upon a ram, caught in the thicket by its horns. So Avraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son.

יג  וַיִּשָּׂא אַבְרָהָם אֶת־עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה־אַיִל אַחַר נֶאֱחַז בַּסְּבַךְ בְּקַרְנָיו וַיֵּלֶךְ אַבְרָהָם וַיִּקַּח אֶת־הָאַיִל וַיַּעֲלֵהוּ לְעֹלָה תַּחַת בְּנוֹ׃

14  And Avraham named that site Adonai-yireh, whence the present saying, “On the mount of Hashem there is vision.”

יד  וַיִּקְרָא אַבְרָהָם שֵׁם־הַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא יְהֹוָה יִרְאֶה אֲשֶׁר יֵאָמֵר הַיּוֹם בְּהַר יְהֹוָה יֵרָאֶה׃

15  The angel of Hashem called to Avraham a second time from heaven,

טו  וַיִּקְרָא מַלְאַךְ יְהֹוָה אֶל־אַבְרָהָם שֵׁנִית מִן־הַשָּׁמָיִם׃

16  and said, “By Myself I swear, Hashem declares: Because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your favored one,

טז  וַיֹּאמֶר בִּי נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי נְאֻם־יְהֹוָה כִּי יַעַן אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה וְלֹא חָשַׂכְתָּ אֶת־בִּנְךָ אֶת־יְחִידֶךָ׃

17  I will bestow My blessing upon you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sands on the seashore; and your descendants shall seize the gates of their foes.

יז  כִּי־בָרֵךְ אֲבָרֶכְךָ וְהַרְבָּה אַרְבֶּה אֶת־זַרְעֲךָ כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם וְכַחוֹל אֲשֶׁר עַל־שְׂפַת הַיָּם וְיִרַשׁ זַרְעֲךָ אֵת שַׁעַר אֹיְבָיו׃

18  All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants, because you have obeyed My command.”

v’-hit-ba-r’-KHU v’-zar-a-KHA KOL go-YAY ha-A-retz AY-kev a-SHER sha-MA-ta b’-ko-LEE

יח  וְהִתְבָּרֲכוּ בְזַרְעֲךָ כֹּל גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶץ עֵקֶב אֲשֶׁר שָׁמַעְתָּ בְּקֹלִי׃

 22:18   All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants

After Avraham demonstrates his unwavering faith in Hashem with the binding of Yitzchak, the Lord repeats His original promise found in Sefer Bereishit (12:3), and assures Avraham that all the nations of the world will be blessed through him. When we look at the many contributions that the State of Israel makes to the entire world even beyond its spiritual message – such as its technological, agricultural and humanitarian innovations – we see that the State of Israel is a fulfillment of this biblical promise.Contemporary Israel has come to be known as the “Start-up Nation,” and there are actually more Israeli companies on the NASDAQ stock exchange than any foreign country besides China. Israel plays an outsized role in the global economy, proving this blessing’s efficacy.10 comments

19  Avraham then returned to his servants, and they departed together for Be’er Sheva; and Avraham stayed in Be’er Sheva.

יט  וַיָּשָׁב אַבְרָהָם אֶל־נְעָרָיו וַיָּקֻמוּ וַיֵּלְכוּ יַחְדָּו אֶל־בְּאֵר שָׁבַע וַיֵּשֶׁב אַבְרָהָם בִּבְאֵר שָׁבַע׃

20  Some time later, Avraham was told, “Milcah too has borne children to your brother Nahor:

כ  וַיְהִי אַחֲרֵי הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַיֻּגַּד לְאַבְרָהָם לֵאמֹר הִנֵּה יָלְדָה מִלְכָּה גַם־הִוא בָּנִים לְנָחוֹר אָחִיךָ׃

21  Uz the first-born, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram;

כא  אֶת־עוּץ בְּכֹרוֹ וְאֶת־בּוּז אָחִיו וְאֶת־קְמוּאֵל אֲבִי אֲרָם׃

22  and Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel

כב  וְאֶת־כֶּשֶׂד וְאֶת־חֲזוֹ וְאֶת־פִּלְדָּשׁ וְאֶת־יִדְלָף וְאֵת בְּתוּאֵל׃

23  Bethuel being the father of Rivka. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Avraham‘s brother.

כג  וּבְתוּאֵל יָלַד אֶת־רִבְקָה שְׁמֹנָה אֵלֶּה יָלְדָה מִלְכָּה לְנָחוֹר אֲחִי אַבְרָהָם׃

24  And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore children: Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.

כד  וּפִילַגְשׁוֹ וּשְׁמָהּ רְאוּמָה וַתֵּלֶד גַּם־הִוא אֶת־טֶבַח וְאֶת־גַּחַם וְאֶת־תַּחַשׁ וְאֶת־מַעֲכָה׃

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