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Vayeirah: New Creation

Abraham is sitting in the heat of the day, waiting for guests. On such a hot day, travelers are not on the roads, but Abraham does not despair. We can explain this homiletically by saying that Abraham expected that even if no guests were out on the roads, new guests could be created now. (As our Sages explained, the letters of the word used in the description of Creation, בהבראם, which means “when they were created”, shares the same letters with b’Abraham, באברהם  “with Abraham”). This is actually what happens. Three angels come to Abraham, three new angels who were created just then with the power of Abraham’s desire to fulfill the mitzvah of hosting guests.

Just as Abraham’s awakening creates new guests, so he merits with his faith to give birth to Isaac. Our Sages say that by nature, Abraham was infertile and Sarah did not even have a womb! Nevertheless, with the power of their great faith, they emerged from their infertility and God carved out a womb for Sarah, as a new creation.

The new creation is illustrated in the name of this Torah portion, Vayerah, which means “And he appeared”. The verb Vayerah is repeated in two different forms three times in this portion: Vayerah eilav , “And He appeared to him”, Vayisah einav vayar, “And he lifted his eyes and he saw” and Vayar vayarotz, “And he saw and he ran.”[1] The same root word appears in the verses on the first Creation, Vayar Elokim et ha’or ki tov, “And God saw the light, that it was good”, and in the verse, “Re’eh zeh chadash hu, “See this is new”. We see something new that appears at the speed of light.

In addition, this entire section reflects an atmosphere of wondrous alacrity, “And he ran toward them”, “And Abraham hurried”, “Hurry, three se’im”, “And Abraham ran to the cattle”. If we rearrange the letters in the name Abraham, אברהם , we receive בא מהר, which means, “come quickly”.

From Abraham, we learn the important rule: Zrizim makdimim l’mitzvot, “Those who act with alacrity are at the forefront to fulfill mitzvot”. Not only is Abraham at the forefront, but with his actions, he propels the good tidings forward. Those who act with alacrity propel the arrival of the Redeemer forward and say to him, בא מהר, “Come quickly!”

Photo by Scott Goodwill on Unsplash

[1] The first time this verb appears in this portion, it is in its passive form, “appeared”. The next two times, it is in active form, “saw”. This is parallel to chash-mal-mal.

 

 

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