At the start of Vayera, Avraham welcomes his angelic guests into his tent, and serves them a rather generous meal. This despite the pain of having had his bris milah (circumcision) just three days earlier. Now the gemarra (Bava Metsia 86b) notes that all the hospitable acts which Avraham performed personally, HaShem rewarded him by performing complementary acts personally to Avraham’s descendants. For example, Avraham personally ran to get the meat - and so too did HaShem personally provide meat for Klal Yisrael in the desert. Similarly, Avraham went to fetch the butter, which had the effect of HaShem raining down the manna years later in the desert. However, Avraham told someone else to bring the water to the guests - and so HaShem only provided water via the rock at the start of the desert trip. The question is, however, that Rashi says that the person Avraham told to bring the water was his son, Yishma’el. And why did Avraham not bring the water himself? For, as Rashi says, he wanted to educate Yishma’el into caring for and looking after guests. This seems a good, noble motivation, so why did HaShem provide the water in the desert in a less personal/direct way as a ‘punishment’ for Avraham not getting the water himself? The answer I once heard is that Avraham was partially at fault here. For the best education for Yishma’el would have been to witness his father running to get the water himself as opposed to making Yishma’el go. The best chinuch is leading by example.

Add comment

Have something to say?
Please make your comment below!
All comments are reviewed prior to publication. Absolutely NO loshon hara or anything derogatory or hurtful to anyone will be permitted on the website.

Security code