Classics and Beyond Lech Lecha: Location, Location, Location

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    Classics and Beyond: Rabbi Avraham Bukspan
    Lech Lecha 1 – Location, Location, Location:
    ויעתק משם ההרה מקדם לבית אל ויט אהלה בית אל מים והעי מקדם
    And he moved from there to a mountain in the east of Beis-El, and pitched his tent, with Beis-El on the west and Ai on the east” (Bereishis 12:8)
    Generally, when one wants to delineate the location of a certain place, he will do so in relationship to well-known landmarks, and explain that his locale is between Point A and Point B. One would say, “I am staying in a hotel between the Convention Center and City Hall,” or “The hotel is east of the Convention Center and west of City Hall.”
    One would not say, “The Convention Center is to my west and City Hall is to my east,” with the landmarks relative to and seemingly subordinate to the not as well-known and less important hotel.
    Why, then, does the Torah, in describing where Avraham “set up shop,” say that he pitched his tent with Beis-El to the west and Ai on the east? Why not write that his tent was east of Beis-El and west of Ai?
    At the founding ceremony of the yeshivah in Kletzk, the Slonimer Rav explained: The entire world was created to serve the tzaddik and oveid Hashem, and it is by their deeds and commitment to Torah that the world’s existence is maintained. In spiritual terms, however large or well-known a city may be, it is dwarfed in comparison to the abode of a tzaddik. The smallest city or humblest place assumes a position of prominence and true renown with the arrival of the tzaddik.
    In the eyes of Hashem, the tzaddik’s location is the most important and notable landmark.
    Until this point, Beis-El and Ai were the well-known and featured landmarks on any map. But with the arrival of Avraham, for whom the world was created (see Midrash Rabbah 12:9), the landmarks shifted. In the celestial map of Hashem, it is the tent of Avraham that was shining brighter than any other location. He and his work were what mattered most in the world. Beis-El and Ai (the former landmarks) are now described relative to the home of the tzaddik, the tent of Avraham!
    The Slonimer Rav concluded his speech at the ceremony, “Until today, if one were to ask where the shtetl of Kletzk is located, the answer would have been, ‘It is between this place and this place.’ But now, with the establishment of the yeshivah in this heretofore unknown town, the situation reverses, as Kletzk becomes a place of prominence and renown – and a point of reference.
    “In the celestial map of Hashem, Kletzk and other bastions of Torah are the capital cities, and the seemingly well-known cities are secondary to the mekomos haTorah.”

    Reb Eliezer

    The Ksav Sofer has an interesting explanation for Avraham returning to the motel to pay off his dues. He was constantly badgered, if you are such a tzadik why are you not rich? He owed them an answer, so when he became rich, he returned with an answer.


    Avraham had a policy to not accept gifts (whatever the reason was) , that was his chumra. But he cannot be machmir at the expense of others. He owed the hoteliers so he took from Paraoh to repay those creditors. Yet later, while wealthy himself, he had no reason to take a gift from Sedom- with all that it meant

    Reb Eliezer

    Isn’t the reason obvious why not to take gifts by being subjugated as it says שונא מתנות יחיה one who hates gifts lives long? The Maasei Hashem explains the passage in the Haggadah משועבדים הינו with thanks.


    Why is Lot lurking? Not mentioned when going to Mitzraim, but right there on the way back with stuff.


    Dear AAQ, how about an answer for a change 🙂

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