Weekly Torah Portion: Lech Lecha
6 Cheshvan 5778 – October 26, 2017


The Torah relates that after Avraham settled in the Land of Israel the region was gripped by a famine and he was forced to travel to Egypt which was not affected by the famine.

As he approached Egypt, Avraham became concerned for his life because his wife Sara was extraordinarily beautiful and he felt the Egyptians would kill him so that Sara could be presented to the Pharoh. Therefore Avraham decided that he and Sara should identify themselves as brother and sister.

At the Egyptian border, the custom agents took Sara and presented her to the Pharaoh. The Pharoh gave Avraham riches because of Sara.

G-d prevented Pharoh from coming near Sara by inflicting Pharoh and his staff with a disease. In fact, an angel was sent to protect Sara, and wherever Sara told the protective angel to strike, it did as she instructed.

Pharoh eventually realized that he was afflicted because he took Sara who was indeed a married woman and therefore he returned her to Avraham and instructed them to travel to the Land of Israel with the riches that he had given them.

The Torah relates that Avraham traveled back on the same way he came down to Egypt.

Rashi tells us two reasons for this. One, in order to teach us that when a person returns to a location, he should lodge with the same host he did previously so that no one will suspect that there was a problem with either the host or the guests.

The second reason Avraham returned to his original hosts of lodging was to pay the bills for his original lodging, for on the way down to Egypt, Avraham’s funds were limited due to the famine, but now that the Pharoh had given him riches he returned to pay his debts.

The Chasam Sofer o.b.m. wonders how could Avraham borrow money from the inn owners when he had no idea how he was going to pay it back?

He therefore explains Rashi as follows: Avraham was not paying back his monetary debts. Rather, Avraham was returning to the places that he stayed to explain to them the questions of faith and belief in G-d that they had presented to him, for which at the time, he did not have sufficient answers. For example, they asked him, “Why is G-d placing a righteous person like you in this bad situation of a famine, making you uproot your home to travel to Egypt?” At that point, Avraham had no answer. However, on the way home he made his way back to those who asked the question and ‘paid’ them back by relating the miracles concerning Sara and the great riches that they received from Pharoh.

Avraham was not embarrassed to say or respond to people that he did not know G-d’s plan. However, he believed that there is a plan and for every life experience and challenge he faced and he continually looked for the G-dly touch and meaning. When he finally understood a situation, he returned to explain it to those who had inquired.

The Parsha relates that after Sara was childless for many years she gave Hagar, her maidservant, to Avraham to have a child with her. When Hagar became pregnant she mocked and ridiculed Sara. Sara in response made things difficult for her and Hagar ran away.

The Torah relates that an angel met Hagar, began to speak to her, and convinced Hagar to return to Sara. The Torah frequently uses the words, “he said” during the angel’s conversation with Hagar. Our Sages tell us that each time it says “he said” it refers to a new angel that spoke to her. Four angels spoke to her in the course of her conversation.

The Rebbe Bais Yisroel of Gur explains that the reason why new angels continued to appear to Hagar is because Hagar responded to the first angel in submission to her exalted mistress Sara. She thus elevated herself spiritually and merited a higher level angel to speak to her further. This repeated itself until the angel’s full instructions were given to her.

Although Hagar was running away from the spiritual atmosphere of Sara and Avraham, still, when she was challenged to reevaluate her situation by the angel who stopped her and asked where she was running from, she paused to think it over. That itself gave her the spiritual energy to see things clearly and eventually to return to Sara and Avraham’s righteous surroundings.

This is actually true with every challenge one faces. While it may not be an actual angel that is trying to direct us, encourage us to do what is good, or prevent us from doing bad – G-d is continually sending us messages or messengers to make us take pause to evaluate or recalculate our spiritual direction in life.

Wishing you a most amazing, enjoyable
and uplifting Shabbos!
Rabbi Dovid Saks