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Commentary - Year 1 Sabbath 15

Genesis 18:1-33   -   Isaiah 33:17 - 34:12   -   Psalm 14   -   Luke 8:40-56
 

 

Tammuz 16, 5761 / July   7, 2001 

Tammuz 14, 5764 / July   3, 2004

Tammuz 14, 5767 / June 30, 2007

Tammuz 14, 5770 / June 26, 2010

Tammuz 14, 5773 / June 22, 2013

Tammuz 17, 5776 / July 23, 2016

 

Vayeira  / Appeared   SCRIPTURES should be read first

 

Yahweh appeared!

 

Avraham’s home was in the Plains of Mamre.

 

Consider that heavenly angels come in the Name of Yahweh: they come as His representatives, speaking His words.

 

When Yahweh appeared to Abraham, he looked up – then he saw three angels as men. “Behold, there appeared” indicates that they were not visible coming from afar, but suddenly appeared. Throughout Scripture, we see that God sends one angel for one mission: He does not send more than one angel for a mission, and does not send an angel for more than one mission at a time. The angels (plural) ate (v. 8) and talked (v. 9), but an angel (singular) carried out each commission. One angel was to inform him of Sarah’s conception (v. 14), one to overthrow Sodom (v. 19:24), and one to heal Avraham (traditional reason).

 

Angel #1: to heal Abraham

 

This first verse immediately follows the portion on circumcision, and transpires (traditionally) on the third day after Avraham’s circumcision, when he would be in the most pain. Yahweh – the God of Mercy and Healing – appeared to him. Nowhere else in Scripture does God appear to anyone without a direct communication immediately following; the construction of the Hebrew indicates that God’s primary purpose was to “appear”. This verse about God appearing to Avraham when in pain is the Talmudic “basis for visiting the sick.” Some see this revelation of God as a reward to Avraham for his obedience in circumcision.

 

It should be noted here that God’s promises to Avraham were without condition: only God certified the Covenant by His own life, portrayed by passing through the divided animals. But there were rewards for Abraham’s subsequent obedience, and disastrous results of subsequent faithlessness.

 

So we see here that our eternal inheritance is not based upon our works, but upon God’s promise to those who receive His faith. But our subsequent obedience or faithlessness has unfathomable significance! We should take heed! “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12)..

 

Avraham asked God’s representative to him (My Lord – singular) to wait, while he provided hospitality to his guests! Thus the ethic teaching: greater is hospitality to wayfarers even than receiving the Divine Presence. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2).

 

Here we see basic ingredients of the Passover Seder. Note that circumcision is required preceding Passover. Avraham told Sarah to quickly (no chametz/leaven) make three seahs of meal into bread discs (matzah – v. 19:3) of fine flour – each being one omer (the amount of fine flour obtained from one seah of meal). He washed the feet of the three men. He himself (not servants) prepared a choice animal. It had been about noon (heat of the day) when Yahweh appeared to him, “and he was standing by them under the tree as they ate.”

 

[It may be noted: this man of whom it is said that “he observed Torah before it was written”, brought “meat and milk”. This seems to contradict today’s tradition against meat and milk at the same meal.]

 

Avraham said, “I will fetch a morsel of bread”, then provided a feast. “The righteous say little and do much” – Talmud: Bava Metzia 87a. The angels said, “Do so, just as you have said” – a courteous response, as if to say, “do not trouble yourself to do any more.” Avraham, though old and weak from circumcision, “ran” to perform a mitzvah (good deed).

 

Angel #2: to inform Sarah

 

(V. 12) “And Sarah laughed at herself” – literally, Sarah laughed at her insides, which is taken to mean that, at eighty-nine years old, her cycle started. The angel said that at this same time – this “appointed time” (Passover) – next year, she would give birth. Now we may understand why the sages say that Isaac was born at the time of the Passover offering.

 

Angel #3: to destroy five cities of the plain

 

(V. 16) The angels “gazed down” toward Sodom, from a high place in Hebron – the Plain of Mamre. “Gazed down” in Torah always refers to gazing down for the purpose of calamity (except Deut. 26:15).

 

(V. 17) The past-perfect tense indicates that God had long before determined to show Avraham what He was about to do. From v. 20, God tells Avraham of the destruction planned upon the five cities of the plain, referred to as Sodom and Gomorrah. While the angels went toward Sodom, Avraham questioned God. He started by asking God if He would destroy the cities if fifty righteous could be found – a prayer minion for each of the five cities. He stopped when he got to one prayer minion for all five cities: would God destroy the cities if ten righteous were found there?

 

(Psalm 14:2) Yahweh has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men (Sodom and Gomorrah), to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Do all the workers of wickedness not know, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon Yahweh?

___________

 

(Luke 8:52) Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her (twelve-year-old daughter of Jairus); but He (Yeshua) said, "Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep." 53 And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died.

 

We must not make light of God’s power. On the other hand, we must not be gullible toward those who use God’s name in vain, to exalt themselves spiritually by saying “God promised . . .”, when God has not spoken. Neither the angels – in the case of Avraham and Sarah, nor Yeshua – in the case of Jairus’ daughter, should have been doubted; but we need great wisdom to discern what is of God.

 

Readings:

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

 

Reader 1* Amen 1 Now Yahweh appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. 2 When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth, 3 and said, "My lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, please do not pass your servant by. 4 "Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree; 5 and I will bring a piece of bread, that you may refresh yourselves; after that you may go on, since you have visited your servant." And they said, "So do, as you have said."

 

Reader 2* Amen 6 So Avraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, "Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour, knead it and make bread cakes." 7 Avraham also ran to the herd, and took a tender and choice calf and gave it to the servant, and he hurried to prepare it. 8 He took curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and placed it before them; and he was standing by them under the tree as they ate.

 

Reader 3* Amen 9 Then they said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?" And he said, "There, in the tent." 10 He said, "I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son." And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him. 11 Now Avraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing. 12 Sarah laughed to herself, saying, "After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" 13 And Yahweh said to Avraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?' 14 "Is anything too difficult for Yahweh? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son." 15 Sarah denied it however, saying, "I did not laugh"; for she was afraid. And He said, "No, but you did laugh."

 

Reader 4* Amen 16 Then the men rose up from there, and looked down toward Sodom; and Avraham was walking with them to send them off. 17 Yahweh said, "Shall I hide from Avraham what I am about to do, 18 since Avraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? 19 "For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of Yahweh by doing righteousness and justice, so that Yahweh may bring upon Avraham what He has spoken about him."

 

Reader 5* Amen 20 And Yahweh said, "The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. 21 "I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know." 22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Avraham was still standing before Yahweh.

 

Reader 6* Amen 23 Avraham came near and said, "Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 "Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 "Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?" 26 So Yahweh said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account."

 

Reader 7* Amen 27 And Avraham replied, "Now behold, I have ventured to speak to Yahweh, although I am but dust and ashes. 28 "Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five, will You destroy the whole city because of five?" And He said, "I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there." 29 He spoke to Him yet again and said, "Suppose forty are found there?" And He said, "I will not do it on account of the forty." 30 Then he said, "Oh may Yahweh not be angry, and I shall speak; suppose thirty are found there?" And He said, "I will not do it if I find thirty there." 31 And he said, "Now behold, I have ventured to speak to Yahweh; suppose twenty are found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it on account of the twenty." 32 Then he said, "Oh may Yahweh not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it on account of the ten." 33 As soon as He had finished speaking to Avraham Yahweh departed, and Avraham returned to his place.

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

______________________

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."

 

Isaiah 33:17-34:12

Reader 8* Amen 17 Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; they will behold a far-distant land. 18 Your heart will meditate on terror: "Where is he who counts? Where is he who weighs? Where is he who counts the towers?" 19 You will no longer see a fierce people, a people of unintelligible speech which no one comprehends, of a stammering tongue which no one understands. 20 Look upon Zion, the city of our appointed feasts; your eyes will see Jerusalem, an undisturbed habitation, a tent which will not be folded; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its cords be torn apart. 21 But there the majestic One, Yahweh, will be for us a place of rivers and wide canals on which no boat with oars will go, and on which no mighty ship will pass – 22 for Yahweh is our judge, Yahweh is our lawgiver, Yahweh is our king; He will save us – 23 your tackle hangs slack; it cannot hold the base of its mast firmly, nor spread out the sail. Then the prey of an abundant spoil will be divided; the lame will take the plunder. 24 And no resident will say, "I am sick"; the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.

 

Reader 9* Amen 34:1 Draw near, O nations, to hear; and listen, O peoples! Let the earth and all it contains hear, and the world and all that springs from it. 2 For Yahweh's indignation is against all the nations, and His wrath against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to slaughter. 3 So their slain will be thrown out, and their corpses will give off their stench, and the mountains will be drenched with their blood. 4 And all the host of heaven will wear away, and the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; all their hosts will also wither away as a leaf withers from the vine, or as one withers from the fig tree. 5 For My sword is satiated in heaven, behold it shall descend for judgment upon Edom and upon the people whom I have devoted to destruction. 6 The sword of Yahweh is filled with blood, it is sated with fat, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams. For Yahweh has a sacrifice in Bozrah and a great slaughter in the land of Edom.

 

Reader 10* Amen 7 Wild oxen will also fall with them and young bulls with strong ones; thus their land will be soaked with blood, and their dust become greasy with fat. 8 For Yahweh has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause of Zion. 9 Its streams will be turned into pitch, and its loose earth into brimstone, and its land will become burning pitch. 10 It will not be quenched night or day; its smoke will go up forever. From generation to generation it will be desolate; none will pass through it forever and ever. 11 But pelican and hedgehog will possess it, and owl and raven will dwell in it; and He will stretch over it the line of desolation and the plumb line of emptiness. 12 Its nobles – there is no one there whom they may proclaim king-- and all its princes will be nothing.

 

Psalm 14    (to be sung)  For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

1 The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good. 2 Yahweh has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. 3 They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. 4 Do all the workers of wickedness not know, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon Yahweh? 5 There they are in great dread, for God is with the righteous generation. 6 You would put to shame the counsel of the afflicted, but Yahweh is his refuge. 7 Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When Yahweh restores His captive people, Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad.

 

Luke 8:40-56

Reader 11* Amen 40 And as Yeshua returned, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him. 41 And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Yeshua' feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house; 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him. 43 And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, 44 came up behind Him and touched the tzitzit of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. 45 And Yeshua said, "Who is the one who touched Me?" And while they were all denying it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You."

 

Reader 12* Amen 46 But Yeshua said, "Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me." 47 When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace." 49 While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, "Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore." 50 But when Yeshua heard this, He answered him, "Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well." 51 When He came to the house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him, except Peter and John and James, and the girl's father and mother. 52 Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, "Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep." 53 And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died. 54 He, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, "Child, arise!" 55 And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat. 56 Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened.

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."


© 2004  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)