SALT - Thursday, 18 Cheshvan 5781 - November 5, 2020

  • Rav David Silverberg
            The opening section of Parashat Vayeira tells the story of the three angels whom Avraham invited and treated to a robust meal, thinking they were simple wayfarers.  When Avraham saw the men, he ran over to them and asked them to stay, wash themselves and eat, adding “ki al kein avartem al avdekhem” – “now that you have passed by your servant” (18:5).  As the Rashbam and Ibn Ezra explain, Avraham in effect told them, “Since you’ve passed by here, why not stay?”
            The Midrash (Bereishit Rabba 48:11) finds deeper significance in this phrase, explaining that Avraham was telling the three travelers, “Already at the day the Almighty created His world you were intended to come to me.”  According to the Midrash, Avraham was telling the angels that they should stay with him because this was planned already since the time of the world’s creation.
            Rav Nachum Mordechai Perlow of Novominsk, in Pe’er Nachum, explains that the Midrash here seeks to frame our perspective on ordinary, everyday events and circumstances in our lives.  Whenever we happen to find ourselves in a given situation, we should embrace it as though this had been planned since the time of creation.  Rather than feel aggravated and despondent over the way circumstances unfolded, and resenting having to confront the current situation, we should recognize and seize the opportunity it presents.  When Avraham saw three travelers passing by his tent, he did not view this as some random, meaningless event.  He saw it as having been preordained and planned, recognizing that these wayfarers, and he, are all precisely where they are supposed to be.  The Midrash implores us to approach all events in our lives in this fashion, to strive to see the value and opportunity within every circumstance we confront, and ensure to make the very most of that opportunity.