web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Parshas Vayera: Under The Tree

Staum-101813

Rav Soloveitchik explained that there is a deeper significance to Avraham asking them to wash their feet. The average mortal assumes that existence and creation is only as intricate as the eyes can see and senses appreciate. Avraham assumed these nomads were no different and could see no further than the dust of their own feet.

He therefore asked them to wash, washing away their juvenile understanding of the world. “Let some water be brought and wash your feet, and recline beneath the tree.[4]” Avraham requested that they make themselves comfortable under the tree, for it was the tree that was the basis of his teaching. As they settled comfortably, Avraham would challenge them to consider the beauty of the tree, eventually extending beyond the treetop to the heavens, the stars, and ultimately to the vast expanse of the universe.

The Ramban writes[5], “Through recalling the great manifest miracles a person acknowledges the hidden miracles (of everyday life) which are the foundation of the entire Torah. For a person has no share in the Torah of our teacher Moshe until he believes that all our affairs and experiences are miracles; that there is no element of nature, or ‘ordinary course of the world,’ whether regarding the community or the individual.”

 

Rav Avigdor Miller zt”l was legendary for studying and preaching about the wonders of creation, and the love and connection to G-d that one can feel through such analysis and thought. He gave numerous lectures about the wonders of oranges, apples, elephants, and flies.

He related that, when he was a student learning in the famed Slobodka Yeshiva in Lithuania, during the summer break he often went on excursions and hikes in the nearby mountains. On one occasion he sat and stared at a flower for over an hour. He reported that it was the most spiritual experience he ever had in his life.

G-d does not need to prove Himself to us. The legacy of Avraham, the progenitor of Klal Yisroel, is to seek out G-d in the mundane. One who can recognize the miraculous in the mundane realizes that all of life is supernatural. Conversely, one who fails to see the divine hand in the mundane may very well fail to appreciate the supernatural.

Avraham merited many miracles during his lifetime, including emerging from a blazing furnace alive and fighting off a four-nation army almost singlehandedly. But none of that occurred until Avraham recognized that there was a Creator through sheer logic and pondering.

The Medrash[6] writes, “G-d said to Avram, ‘Go for yourself from your land’” (Bereishis 12:1).  Rabi Yitzchok said: This may be compared to one who was passing from place to place and saw a (birah dolekes) fortress illuminated/burning. He said, “Will you say this fortress has no governor (manhig)? The master (ba’al) of the fortress peeped out (hetziz) at him, and he said to him, “I am the master of the fortress.”

“Thus, because our father Avraham would say, ‘Can one say this world has no governor?’ The Holy One, blessed is He, peeked out at him and said to him, ‘I am the Master of the world’”

 

The Kotzker Rebbe once commented that he cannot comprehend how people do not become believers in G-d, simply from the words of Birchas Hamazon[7], which discuss how G-d provides for the entire world.

The Chiddushei HaRim[8] added, “And I don’t understand how people do not become believers from the food they are eating itself.” If one focuses on the texture, taste, and aesthetic beauty of his food, he cannot help but be overwhelmed by the graciousness and goodness of G-d.

As the descendants of Avraham it is incumbent upon us to seek out G-d in every facet of nature and life. G-d can be found everywhere, but only to one who searches for Him.

 



[1] Bereishis 21:34

[2] Rashi quotes a dispute between Rav and Shmuel whether the ‘Eshel’ was an orchard, whose fruits Avraham served to the wayfarers, or an inn for lodging, in which he maintained a supply of fruit for wayfayers.

About the Author: Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW is the Rabbi of Kehillat New Hempstead in Monsey NY. He is also Guidance Counselor/Rebbe in ASHAR and Yeshiva Bais Hachinuch. His website is www.stamtorah.info. He can be reached at stamtorah@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Parshas Vayera: Under The Tree”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ISIS seized control of Quneitra, at least temporarily, towards the end of August 2014.
Israel Watching Northern Border with Syria, Lebanon
Latest Judaism Stories
Hertzberg-092614

Perhaps the most important leadership lesson Elkana taught us is to never underestimate the difference a single person can make.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

“he’s my rabbi” the Black painter said with pride, pulling out a photo of the Rebbe from his wallet

Rabbi Avi Weiss, head of theYeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Asher Lopatin will be replacing him as head of the school.

The Torah notes that even when we are dispersed God will return us to Him.

Rabbi Sacks

Simply, for Rambam the number 14 (2×7) was his favored organizing principle.

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

Our understanding of what is and what is not possible creates imagined ceilings of opportunity for us.

This young, innocent child gave me a powerful, warm surge of energy and strength.

The Chafetz Chaim answered that there are two forms of teshuvah; teshuvah m’ahava and teshuvah m’yirah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

A Role Reversal
‘Return, O Wayward Sons…’
(Chagigah 15a)

When the Kleins returned, however, they were dismayed to see that the renters did a poor job cleaning up after themselves.

In Parshas Re’eh the Torah tells us about the bechira to adhere to the commandments of Hashem and refrain from sin. In Parshas Nitzavim, the Torah tells us that we have the choice to repent after we have sinned.

As Moshe is about to die, why does God tell him about how the Israelites will ruin everything?

Jonah objected to God accepting repentance based on ulterior motives and likely for short duration.

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

More Articles from Rabbi Dani Staum
Staum-080814

The innkeeper smiled and replied, “Why do you think we are dancing? We are dancing because G-d destroyed the Bais HaMikdash!”

Staum-062714

After listening to the driver’s incredible story, Rabbi Levenstein asked him, “What about you? After seeing such a miracle why didn’t you became Torah observant?”

Twelve of the greatest leaders of the nation, one from each shevet, were dispatched to survey the land. The results of that mission were catastrophic.

It is one thing to do a chesed for someone one time or when it is convenient. But for a person to go a few hours out of his way every year for a stranger demonstrates incredible selflessness.

Rav Pam said we must realize that God has no pleasure from such negative speech.

A friend of mine recently heard a comment that left him stunned. A colleague told him that his mother, a survivor of Auschwitz, who had recently lost her husband of five decades, told her son, “You should know, being alone is worse than Auschwitz!”

Even if he has committed sins that warrant his rejection from the community, he is never rejected by G-d.

Winston Churchill repeated a grade during elementary school. He twice failed the exam to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. He later wrote, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to the convictions of honor and good sense. Never, Never, Never, Never give up!”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/parshas-vayera-under-the-tree/2013/10/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: