Vol 20.10 - Vayeira 2 Spanish French Audio Video
1. On the verse (Gen. 18:3):
"And he said, “My lords, if only I have, etc."
Rashi comments on the words: “And he said, “My lord, if only I have, etc.” and states:
“To the chief one he said this, and he called them all lords, and to the chief one he said, ‘Please do not pass by’, because if he would not pass by, his companions would stay with him. According to this version, it (אד-ני) is profane (Shev. 35b) (i.explanation., it does not refer to G-d). “
(And after this he explains a second interpretation, as will be discussed)
It is not understood:
In the beginning of his comment, Rashi states:
“To the chief one he said this“,
meaning that Avraham said “My lord, if only I have“ (not to all three men, but just) to the chief of them. Therefore, why does Rashi state immediately afterwards “he called them all lords”?
2. Afterwards Rashi continues:
“Another explanation: It (אד-ני) is holy, and he was telling the Holy One, blessed be He, to wait for him until he would run and bring in the wayfarers. And although this (“Do not pass by”) is written after “and ran toward them,” the statement (to G-d, “do not pass by”) preceded it. It is customary for the verses to speak in this manner, as I explained in reference to (above 6:3) “Let My spirit not quarrel forever concerning man” (the decree that G-d would wait 120 years before bringing the Flood) which was written after (5:32): “And Noah begot.” However, it is impossible to say otherwise than that the decree preceded the birth (of Japheth) by 120 years. And the two interpretations (of אד-ני as being profane and holy in this context) are in Genesis Rabbah.”
One must understand:
Moreover: since in most places, the titles “ad-nay” is holy, it comes out that the explanation “it is profane”
(meaning that the translation of the word “ad-nay” here is different than most places)
is further than the simple understanding of the verse than if it would be translated as “it is holy”. Therefore, why is this presented as the first (and primary) comment?
3. After Rashi concludes both comments, he adds:
“And the two interpretations are in Bereshit Rabbah.”
This is not understood:
However, it is not understood:
In Tractate Shavuot, both explanations are cited.
(And there are no textual variants in the Talmud’s words).
Therefore why does Rashi cite, that the source of both explanations is from “Bereshit Rabbah”, which follows just one version of Bereshit Rabbah (and in this – not the widespread version), and does not cite the Talmud in Shavuot?
4. The explanation of this is:
After it states:
“My lord, if only I have found favor in your eyes, please do not pass on from beside your servant“,
it immediately states in the following verses (as a continuation of Avraham ‘s speech)
“Please let a little water be taken, and bathe your feet . . And I will take a morsel of bread, and sustain your hearts etc. “.
And since before “Please let a little water be taken” it again states “and he said”, it is understood that all this was spoken by Avraham in one saying
(And “if only I have found etc.” was stated as a preface to “Please let a little water be taken”)
And since Avraham said “Please let a little water be taken and bathe your feet” to the “three men”, the five year old Chumash student understands (plainly) that even the beginning of the speaking “My lord, if only “ was said (not to G-d, but) to the “three men”
(Therefore Rashi does not need to forewarn immediately in the beginning of his explanation that “it is profane”. For the five-year-old Chumash student understands it on his own).
The question however, arises:
Why did Avraham begin to speak to the “three men” (not in the plural tense, but) in the singular –
“if only I have found favor in your eyes please do not pass on from beside your servant” (אִם-נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ--אַל-נָא תַעֲבֹר, מֵעַל עַבְדֶּךָ) ?
Rashi forewarns this by stating:
“To the chief one he said this“.
This means that he just spoke to one of them – to the chief of them. Therefore, he spoke in the singular.
However, according to this one could ask:
When “three men” are standing before one, it is not customary for one to address just one of them (even - to the greatest of them). Therefore, how is it that Avraham just spoke to the greatest of them?
Therefore, Rashi adds, “he called them all lords“. It is just that his “speaking” (his speaking “if only I have found favor etc.”) was to the “greatest of them”. However, his addressing them (ווענדן) - (calling them/“קראם“) with the term “lord”
(before saying “if only I have found favor in your eyes”)
was to all three men – he called them all lords.
However, it remains not understood:
Avraham wanted that all three men should be his guests. Therefore, why did he say, “please do not pass on”, in the singular- only to one of them?
Therefore, Rashi continues:
“To the chief one he said this, and he called them all lords, and to the chief one he said, “Please do not pass by,” because if he would not pass by, his companions would stay with him “.
This means that with his saying “please do not pass” to the “greatest of them”, he intended that even “his friends” should remain with him.
5. However, after all this, it is still not straightforward:
Why did Avraham need to influence the other two, by speaking to the “greatest of them”? He could have requested this by addressing them all in a straightforward manner – “please do not pass” (in the plural) (אל נא תעברו)!
And although requesting from all of them has no actual purpose, since, in any event, this is dependent of the decision of the “greatest of them”. Nevertheless, since by saying “please do not pass” only to the “greatest of them”, one can mean that he specifically is excluding them, therefore he should have also included them in this and said “please do not pass” in the plural (אל נא תעברו).
Because of this difficulty, Rashi states another comment:
“Another explanation: It is holy, and he was telling the Holy One, blessed be He etc. “
This means that the statement “My L-rd, if only I have found favor in Your eyes “was
(not to the three men, as a preface to “Please let a little water be taken”, but)
to G-d “to wait for him until he would run and bring in the wayfarers“.
6. However, Rashi cites this explanation as the second comment (in other words, it is less fitting to the simple understanding of the verse than the first interpretation) – since:
(Moreover, as soon as the angels came (“three men were standing beside him”) – where one of them came to “heal Avraham” – one could say that Avraham was immediately healed, even before he brought them to his tent etc. (for the healing that comes through an angel, must not be drawn out ()). And since the “L-rd appeared to him“ in order to “visit the sick”, it comes out that after the arrival of the angels, and his healing, there is no further reason for G-d to be with him. Therefore, why did he ask “please do not pass etc.” - to wait for him etc.?)
Therefore, Rashi places this explanation (“he was telling the Holy One, blessed be He“) as the second comment. For according to this explanation, there are more (and more severe) difficulties than according to the first comment “To the chief one he said this”.
7. According to the aforementioned, it becomes understood why Rashi states, “According to this version it is profane” at the end of the (first) comment whereas “it is holy” is stated immediately at the beginning of the second comment:
For from the simple understanding of the verses it is proven (as aforementioned) that the “and he said” was to the “three men”. Therefore, in the first comment, where the innovation is only in that which he “spoke to the greatest of them”, he does not begin with “it is profane” since the innovation of this comment does not reside in this aspect.
However, since it is still not so straightforward that one should use the term “ad-nay/lord” on a person – Rashi therefore forewarns at the conclusion of his comment “According to this version it is profane” meaning that “ad-nay/lord” here is different than in the majority of places.
Whereas, in the second comment Rashi states “It is holy ” immediately at the beginning of his comment, for:
(not like the simple understanding, that the saying was to the three men)
is, as aforementioned, that according to this explanation, it is more straightforward to say that the translation of the word “ad-nay”, here is just like everywhere (meaning G-d). Therefore Rashi begins with “it is holy” – to emphasize that, in this, there exists the proof to explain that “he was telling the Holy One, blessed be He “.
8. Since both comments are (not just non-straightforward) but also far from a clear (ריינעם) explanation, therefore Rashi adds:
“The two interpretations are in Bereshit Rabbah”.
In other words that the source for both comments is in the Midrash (However, it is such a type of homily that is, in Rashi’s words) “serves to clarify the words of Scripture in a way which fits those words “.
Therefore Rashi states the words: “The two interpretations are in Bereshit Rabbah”, in the end of (both) his comments. For only after thoroughly learning both comments and understanding that they are far from a “clean” interpretation, one must then, come to the conclusion that they are taken from the Midrash.
According to this, it is also understood why Rashi states, “The two interpretations are in Bereshit Rabbah” and does not cite the source from the Talmud. For specifically by citing that “The two interpretations are in Bereshit Rabbah” – the Midrash – does he emphasize that both explanations are a Aggadah/homily. As opposed to the Talmud, where many of the aspects that are learnt from Scripture, (also) conform to the simple meaning – Pshat.
MSichas Shabbat Parshat Vayeira 5740
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