Table Talk: Vayeira: Partners & Breaking Connections
Partners: “And God said, ‘Shall I conceal from Abraham what I do?’” (Genesis 18:17) Why would God consider it ‘concealment’ to not inform Abraham about the impending destruction of Sodom? Why did God feel that it was necessary to inform Abraham? “Now that Abraham is surely to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by him.” (Verse 18) Abraham was always ‘surely to become a great nation!” God certainly knew what would happen. Why does it matter that the nations will bless themselves by Abraham’s name? God continues: “For I have loved him, because he commands his children and his household after him that they keep the way of God, doing charity and justice, in order that God might then bring upon Abraham that which He had spoken of him.” (Verse 19) It seems that each verse offers another reason why God should not conceal (negative, as opposed to ‘inform”) His intentions for Sodom. What are the different reasons? Why does God speak of the negative rather than the positive?
Breaking The Connection
Two characters in this week’s portion deal with breaking connection with loved ones. Hagar cannot bear to watch her child die of thirst. She tosses him away (Compare to Tashlich) but remains sitting close by, just in case. She wants to sever her connection with her son, but cannot do so completely. Lot’s wife was pushed by the angels and her husband to sever her connections with her loved ones who remained behind in Sodom. “Don’t even look back!” The angels warn her of the terrible consequences of what will happen if she simply glances back at the city where so many of her family remain. She is willing to run with her husband, but she cannot sever the connections enough to stop herself from looking back at her hometown. There actually is a third person asked to sever his connection with a loved one: Abraham. Can we measure people by their ability to break away from a powerful relationship? Would our natural reaction not be to understand Lot’s wife’s difficulty more than we can empathize with Abraham? Was King David wrong to demand that no one kill his rebellious son, Absalom, despite all the damage, pain and death he caused?
We have also posted numerous Tools for Visiting The Ill in honor of God’s visit of Abraham:
Thoughts and Practices
Prayer For The Ill I
Prayer For The Ill II
Arguing His Case
Time of Day