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Parshat Vayeira

By: Sarah Dimbert: Highland, IL ; Arianna Kaufman: Staten Island, NY

In this week's parsha, parshat Vayeira, the essence of Avraham Aveinu and Hashem's close relationship is displayed.

Hashem contemplates destroying the city of Sodom. While deliberating about what to do with the city, he considers telling Avraham of his plans. In פרק יח , Hashem says:
המכסה אני מאברהם אשר אני עושה
“Shall I conceal from Avraham what I do?”

A few pesukim later, Hashem tells Avraham how he plans to deal with the city. The Torah reads:

ויאמר ה' זעקת סדם ועמורה כי רבה וחטאתם כי כבדה מאד
ארדה נא ואראה הכצעקתה הבאה אלי עשו כלה ואם לא אדעה
“So Hashem said, “Because the outcry of Sodom and Amorrah has become great, and because their sin has been very grave, I will descend and see: If they act in accordance with its outcry which has come to Me – then destruction! And if not, I will know.”
(Perek 18, Pesukim 20-21)

Hashem, the master of the universe, who knows all and whose plans are trusted to keep our world functioning, tells Avraham his strategy. Although totally unnecessary, He fills Avraham in, almost as if He is asking for a response. Hashem's decision to tell Avraham of His plans represents one side of His and Avraham's indestructible connection. Avraham's contradictory response, perhaps, represents the other side of the relationship.
Avraham says to Hashem:

חללה לך מעשת כדבר הזה להמית צדיק עם רשע והיה כצדיק כרשע חללה לך השפט כל הארץ לא יעשה משפט
“It would be sacrilege to You to do such a thing, to bring death upon the righteous along with the wicked; so the righteous will be like the wicked. It would be sacrilege to You! Shall the Judge of all the earth not do justice?”
(Perek 18, Pasuk 25)

Avraham adresses Hashem in a way that can only be described as defiant while he begs Hashem to save the city. Yet, there is so much more than subversion in his reaction. Only in a real relationship can one individual challenge the other so that a real, even-sided dialogue takes place. The simple fact that Hashem values Avraham's opinion enough to share his plans before taking action and that Avraham feels comfortable enough to argue and to negotiate with Hashem speaks volumes about their bond.

In the same Parsha, a few short perakim later, Hashem commands Avraham to sacrifice his only son, Yitzchak. Contrary to Avraham's questioning of Hashem's destruction of Sodom, Avraham does not question nor doubt the commandement of Akedat Yitzchak, and without any hestitation,

וישכם אברהם בבקר ויחבוש את חמורו...
“So Avraham woke up early in the morning and he saddled his donkey…”
(Perek 22, Pasuk 3)

Although it is unclear why Avraham chose to argue with Hashem over the destruction of a city filled with people the Torah refers to as “רעים וחטאים לה ” and silently obey when commanded to sacrifice his own son, a very powerful lesson can be learned from his behavior.

Often times when we find ourselves in difficult situations, we find ourselves questioning Hashem's actions. We work to better ourselves, to call out to Hashem through our mitzvot, to daven with enough kavannah to be heard. But when we spend weeks begging for a sick individual to be healed and they pass away, it is human instinct to be turned away from Hashem. When our tefillot are not answered with instant gratification, we often feel that Hashem doesn't hear us.

Avraham Avinu's request was not answered by Hashem. The city of Sodom was later destroyed, despite the fact that there were individuals living there who may not have deserved to die. Still, after disagreeing so strongly with Hashem and losing the battle, Avraham takes his only son, and follows Hashem's every command to sacrifice him up until he is stopped by a מלאך . Instead of rejecting Hashem, instead of turning away from Him, Avraham places every last ounce of his trust in Hashem. He faces Hashem directly, and without hesitation demonstrates his ultimate faith.

It is such faith that we can learn from Avraham. Even when we feel that our prayers have not been answered because we are not instantly granted gratification, we must never close Hashem out of our lives. We must hold onto, and work to strengthen, our bitachon and emunah in Hashem, even when we disagree with His plans for us.