PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
YESHIVAS RABAINU YAAKOV YOSEF
(RABBI JACOB JOSEPH YESHIVA - RJJ)
IN NYC FOR OVER 23 YEARS.
NIFTAR ON 20 ADAR 5758 - MARCH 18, 1998.
MAY HE BE A MAYLITZ YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL.
MY DEAR MOTHER
REBITZEN BRACHA ETEL SHIMANOWITZ A'H
WHO DEVOTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO MY FATHER AND HIS TORAH,
NIFTERA ON 21 TEVET 5770 - WED EVE. JANUARY 6, 2010.
MAY SHE BE A MAYLITZA YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL
Menachim Z. Shimanowitz
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1 MITZVAT ASEH (POSITIVE COMMANDMENT) - CIRCUMCISION - BRIT MILAH
NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES): 126
NUMBER OF WORDS: 1686
NUMBER OF LETTERS: 6336
HAFTORA: (Additional portion, from Prophets, which is read after the Parsha)
Yeshayahu / Isaiah 40:27 41:16
| פרשת לך לך
In our last episode Hashem pulled the plug on mankind and
wiped out every living thing on the planet. Only Noach and his family
survived in a Teva (Ark) along with two of each animal.
With the sign of a rainbow, Hashem and Noach made a deal
to start from scratch. But it only took 300 years to blow that deal.
Nimrod the self-proclaimed divinity has the whole world sitting "idol" on the worshipping front. Mankind has plunged into darkness
once again. But just when you think all hope is lost, Avrom comes
on the scene.
a fact filled sheet
'ALL ABOUT AVROHOM'
At the age of three, Avrom
realizes that Hashem is the One true G-d, the Creator.
As defender of the truth, Avrom blatantly destroys his father Terach's,
idols. For this mad destruction, King Nimrod sentences him to die
in a blazing furnace in Ur Kasdim. But just when all seems lost,
Hashem, Himself, miraculously saves Avrom from the fire.
There are big plans in store for this wonderboy.
As our Parsha
opens, Avrom and his wife, Sarai, have settled in the land of
Charan. Their lives are dedicated to spreading the name of Hashem,
the one and only G-d. They've got a good thing going. With word
of Avrom's miraculous triumph over Nimrod, people flock to his
home. Avrom's theme is "Hachnasat Orchim:" First they
feed and bathe their guests. Then, when it comes time for thanks,
Avrom and Sarai say "don't thank me, thank Hashem!" Avrom
teaches the men, while Sarai teaches the women.
Now, let's not forget that
in all this time, Hashem has never actually communicated
with Avrom. Finally, at the age of 75, Hashem speaks
to him in a dream. He commands Avrom, "Leave your land, your father's
house, and go to the land that I will show you."
Uh, hello... I don't remember
Hashem specifying any particular location, do you? But
check out Avrom's unyielding loyalty to Hashem. I've
never seen someone pack up so quickly! And it's not just him,
it's the entire household that obediently hits the trail.
Avrom, his wife Sarai, his
nephew Lot, and his servant Eliezer, head out the door. Then there
are all of Avrom's followers. Let's not forget that Avrom is a
very persuasive person. He's got thousands of students who will
follow him wherever he goes. With heaven-sent clouds as their
guide, they soon arrive in the beautiful land of Canaan.
The problem is that a drought
also arrives at the same time; the rain stops falling, the crops
wilter and the trees stop producing fruit. What a disaster! Of
course, this is all part of Hashem's plan. Will Avrom
complain? Will he say, "In Charan we had plenty to eat and now
we are starving"? Nope! Avrom trusts Hashem and is determined
to make the best of the situation. Just not in Canaan.
GO DOWN, AVROM!
| From Canaan, the
Avrom clan heads down to Egypt where there's plenty of food. Egypt
is a wicked place, though. Avrom is worried that when they see his
beautiful wife, they'll kill him and take her away. So Avrom comes
up with a plan. He tells Sarai to say that she is his sister. Then
he hides Sarai in a big black box. At the border of Egypt, Pharoh's
customs officers do a full inspection and discover Sarai in the
box. Immediately, they dispatch a messenger to Pharoh letting him
know that this beautiful woman "fit for a Pharoh" has arrived with
her brother. A message comes back to send Avrom and Sarai to the
palace. Pharoh checks out Sarai and declares "you will become my
wife." Pharoh offers Avrom lots of presents in exchange for his
That night Sarai prays to Hashem for help... Help is
on the way! Now, Pharoh and his household are stricken with a
multitude of painful plagues. Now, Pharoh's no dummy. He realizes
that something is wrong. When he discovers that Sarai is married,
he summons Avrom to the palace. There is a strict "hands-off wives"
policy in Egypt and Pharoh blames Avrom for the whole fiasco.
He claims that if Avrom had been honest in the first place, they
wouldn't be in this mess.
Pharoh can tell that Avrom and Sarai are great Tzadikim
(righteous people) and that Hashem is looking out for
them. Pharoh's not willing to take a chance at offending these
two. His best bet is to get them far away as quickly as possible.
So Pharoh showers them with lots of expensive gifts and boots
them out of Egypt. One of these gifts is Pharoh's own daughter,
Hagar. She is presented as a maidservant for Sarai. Pharoh declares,
"Better a servant with Sarai than a Princess in Egypt."
Avrom and Sarai are now famous: they took on Pharoh and have
lived to tell about it.
Blessed by Hashem, Avrom has become a very rich man. Lot,
his nephew, hasn't done too shabby himself. They've got herds and
livestock and lots of camels too. That's what happens when you hang
around with a tzadik. Things are groovy for a while, but
once they are back in Canaan, a feud breaks out between the herders
of Avrom and Lot.
Avrom always insists upon muzzling all his animals when they go
through other people's fields since eating their grass is stealing.
Lot's shepherds figure that since Hashem has promised
Avrom the land of Canaan and Avrom has no sons, Lot will eventually
inherit the land. The grass will be their's sooner or later anyway!
Avrom does not want people to say that he and his relatives
can't get along. So he gets together with Lot and makes a deal
with him. "There's plenty of land in Canaan. Let's split up and
live in peace. North or South - you pick the direction and I'll
head the opposite way," he offers. Avrom assures Lot that he'll
always be around to help out if Lot ever gets into trouble. Avrom
settles in Mamre, near Chevron. Lot heads out for Sodom, on the
banks of the river Jordan, where the soil is moist and there's
lots of grass for cattle.
That's a bad move, though. Sodom and the four other cities in
the area have a real wicked reputation. As a matter of fact, they're
the most wicked in all the land. A real tzadik would
steer clear of these forsaken cities. But Lot doesn't figure it
that way. After years of hanging with Avrom, Lot feels spiritually
fortified to withstand their wicked ways - and let's not forget
that grassy plain... lots of room for the cattle to graze. He'll
be even richer than before! But what must Lot sacrifice for his
| Look what Lot's
gotten himself into: For 12 years the King of Elam has been collecting
taxes from Sodom. Finally Sodom hooks up with four other oppressed
cities to knock out the tax man. But Kedarla'omer, the king of Elam,
is ready. He gathers up his army and recruits another three kings.
Together Elam's team crushes Sodom's team. Elam takes the entire
population of Sodom captive.
Meanwhile, back west, Avrom hasn't yet been affected by the
war. He doesn't know that his nephew, Lot, has been taken prisoner
along with the rest of Sodom. That's the news that Og, the giant,
has come to bear. Og's a real survivor; first he made it through
the flood and now he's fled the battle. Avrom recruits his household
servants and students. That makes 318 men ready, willing and able
to challenge the armies of the four kings. 318 men? Not much of
a platoon, but Avrom has a secret weapon - faith that Hashem
will help him defeat his enemies.
The faithful troop heads out to the battle field. Miraculously,
Avrom and his small army are victorious. Not one of Avrom's men
loses his life. On the other hand, Avrom makes at least one bonus
point when Amrafel, an enemy king, is slaughtered in the heat
of battle. Our sages tell us that Amrafel is, in fact, Nimrod,
Avrom's old enemy!
The king of Sodom is very grateful. He offers Avrom all of the
treasures captured by Elam. But Avrom refuses to take booty. He
declares that Hashem has more than fulfilled His promise
to make him rich. Besides, if Avrom takes the loot then people
will say that the king of Sodom made him rich. Avrom refuses to
take even a single thread or a shoelace for himself. He does,
however, take a 10% cut of the riches for Noach's son, Shem, now
known as "Malkitzedek."
Malkitzedek is a righteous man. He is considered Hashem's
Kohain Gadol. He rules the city of Shalem, later called Yerushalayim.
Avrom also gives a cut to the 318 men who fought in the war and
to the men who guarded his belongings while he was at war.
| After antagonizing
four local kings, Avrom is worried that even more kings will get
together to take revenge. Hashem reassures Avrom that no
army will ever defeat him. Hashem will always protect Avrom
and his descendants... But that's the problem! Avrom hasn't got
any descendants. Without kids he ain't gonna be a nation - great
or otherwise! This little detail doesn't seem to worry Hashem.
Hashem tells Avrom to look up at the sky. The night is filled
with a tapestry of billions of stars. Hashem declares:
"Your descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky. They
will inherit the land of Canaan."
As a sign, Hashem and Avrom make a pact known as
"Brit Bayn HaBesarim" "(the deal between the halves.)"
What halves? Well, in Avrom's time the way a deal was done was
to cut animals in half and walk between them. Hashem commands
Avrom to take three calves, goats and rams, a pigeon and a dove.
He should cut the animals in half but leave the birds whole. Avrom
lines up the animal carcasses in two rows.
Suddenly a bunch of vultures swoop down. Avrom waves his arms
and chases these birds away. This is a sign. When idol worshipping
nations will attack the Bnei Yisroel in the future, Hashem
will remember Avrom's merits and save his descendants.
Avrom falls into a deep sleep and Hashem zaps him with
a prophecy. A terrible darkness surrounds him. It is a sign that
his children will go through hardship before they inherit the
promised land, Eretz Yisroel. For 400 years they will
be exiled in a strange land where they will work as slaves. But
not to worry, because Hashem will come to the rescue
and make this lowly people a great nation. They will conquer the
nations of Canaan and inherit this land.
can't make a nation without a baby. After many years, Sarai realizes
that the answer might be to give her servant Hagar to Avrom as a
wife. She secretly hopes that in this merit Hashem will
grant Sarai her own child. Avrom knows that Sarai is a righteous
woman. He listens to her advice and marries Hagar.
Months later Hagar is expecting
a child. Sarai is hurt when Hagar makes maligning comments about
her: "If you are such a tzadaiket, why won't Hashem
give you a child?" Sarai punishes Hagar by making her work harder.
Now, Hagar can dish it out but she can't take the pressure. She
runs away to the desert. That might temporarily solve Sarai's
problem, but Hashem has big plans for Hagar. She can't
escape Avrom's household yet. Hashem sends a Malach
(Angel) to Hagar with a message. The Malach reveals that
she will give birth to a son who will be a wild man and the founder
of a major nation. Hagar is commanded to call him Yishmael. Hagar
is ordered to return to Sarai and obey her. Hagar does go back
to the tent of Avrom and gives birth to Yishmael. He is the father
of all the Arab nations.
& A SON
| Well, that's the
last we'll hear the names Avrom and Sarai in the Torah;
At the age of 99, Hashem changes Avrom's name to "Avrohom"
which means "father of many nations." Sarai's name is changed to
"Sarah," meaning "Princess for the world."
Here's the deal: Hashem commands Avraham to circumcize
himself and all 318 males in his household. Yishmael, is 13 at
the time. He is circumcised too. Avrohom performs this Mitzvah
without hesitation, passing this test of faith with flying colors.
He circumcises everyone (including himself) in one day, at the
age of 99 (What a great Mohel!!). Hashem reveals
to Avraham that the Mitzvah of Brit Milah is
to be performed on all his descendants - every newborn male -
on the eighth day of his birth. The Brit Milah is a sign
of service to Hashem. Hashem promises Avrohom
that Sarah will bear him a son, whom he will call Yitzchok. Avraham
laughs with joy at the good news.
With the name change, a new era has begun for Avraham and Sarah,
but will they be able to handle the challenges that lie ahead?
And what about Lot; he's still hanging around that wicked city
For the answers to this and many other questions, tune in next
week when Malachim (Angels) pay a visit to Avrohom, and
his hospitality is a lesson for us all. Watch as Hashem destroys
some very wicked cities in the next exciting episode of:
the Midrash Maven on Lech L'cha
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