ב ' ח
Bereisheit Limood Chapter 20
Genesis 20.1 - 18
Bereisheit Limood Video
Where Torah Does Not Exist
By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk
Dean of Jewish Studies
B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC
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Chapter 20 - Where Torah does Not Exist
Bereisheit 20.1 - 18
Dear Reader, have you asked yourself one of the following questions?
Am I normal?
Do I see things differently than others?
Am I different?
What makes me different?
Do my co-workers see me as being strange or odd?
Awhile back I chose to become part of a 501 c 3 organization that helps the community. This was not a religious organization. They are known for doing a lot of good yet it is a crusty place to visit... It smells awful. My first visit was uncomfortable. They do a lot of things I have no interest in. I looked around. It was clear I was different. What made me different? Why did I feel uncomfortable? Why did this organization that has helped so many down through the years make me feel entirely out of place?
Reader can you identify?
Do you work in a place that is not comfortable? Do you attend a school that is not comfortable? Do you live in a home which is not comfortable?
My wife, Revi arrived home after school one afternoon to find her clothes in a single box on the front porch. Can we imagine what it must of felt like for a sixteen year old woman to be tossed out of the family home. How did the most precious of places become such a place of pain?
Dear Reader, we look at our home as a place of safety from the world where those around us tenderly love us, support us, nurture us and encourage us. Our home is supposed to be a safety net, God Willing, a place where we can get away from the world. Unfortunately one's home can be changed into a very undesirable place quickly.
It was 8:00 am in the morning. It was time to report to work. I was a little early. Shortly after entering the large manufacturing building while walking towards the time clock a fellow worker cut me off. He got in front of me. He said what are you doing here?
I responded, I'am preparing to punch my time card and begin working.
He said, You don't work here any more.
I inquired, Why?
He said something like, We don't want any dirty Jews around here!!
Shortly after the conversation began about a dozen men from that company surrounded me. I was in the center of a circle that formed. They began terrorizing me. It happened so fast. It felt like they were about to hurt me when the owner of the company came rushing out of his office ordering them to halt. He took me back into the office and said, You cannot work here! File a law suit if you will. I will pay it but you cannot work here. File for unemployment, I will pay it but you cannot work here. What happened? They found out I was Jewish...
Dear Ones there may be times throughout our lives where we will be forced to operate in areas where we may feel uncomfortable. Will we be required to interact outside of our comfort zone?
Avraham was placed in a situation where he was forced to interact and associate with the people of Gerar. He was new to the area. Things got off to a rugged start. It was very uncomfortable for he and Sarah and their followers. Lets define why it was challenging. Our Sages say that Avraham moved because He saw the cities of Sedom were destroyed and travelers ceased from passing by. In addition, Avraham chose to distance himself from Lot who had acquired a bad reputation because he was incestuous with his daughters.
And Abraham journeyed from there toward the Negev, and lived between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister; and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. But God Came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, you are but a dead man, because of the woman whom you have taken; for she is a man's wife. But Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, Lord, will you slay also a righteous nation? Said he not to me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother; in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. And God Said to him in a dream, Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart; for I also kept you from sinning against me; therefore I did not let you touch her. Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a Prophet, and he shall pray for you, and you shall live; and if you restore her not, know you that you shall surely die, you, and all who are yours. Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears; and the men were very afraid. Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said to him, What have you done to us? And in what have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done.
וַיֹּאמֶר אֲבִימֶלֶךְ אֶל־אַבְרָהָם מָה רָאִיתָ כִּי עָשִׂיתָ אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה1:1
And Abimelech said to Abraham, What did you see, that you have done this thing?
וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם כִּי אָמַרְתִּי רַק אֵין־יִרְאַת אֱלֹהִים בַּמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה וַהֲרָגוּנִי עַל־דְּבַר אִשְׁתִּי1:1
And Abraham Said, Because I Said, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake.
Within our world we do business with and interact with people we may choose not to associate with. Abraham was placed in a situation like this when the King of Gerar took his wife, Sarah. What would you do if placed in the same situation?
Let's first remember that Avraham was a Prophet. This means Avraham had Visions and Dreams. This means Avraham spoke Words from God. We read in Ha Torah that Avraham Said.
וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם כִּי אָמַרְתִּי
Many translations use the Word 'thought' as in I thought Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake.
However Avraham was a Prophet. Avraham didn't just think the Fear of God is not in this place. Avraham Saw through a Vision that the Fear of God was not in this place. The Word אָמַרְתִּי normally means to say. One must ask was Avraham attempting to be politically correct here, when he spoke with King Abimelech? I don't think so! Avraham condemned the king because as a Prophet he Saw the Fear of God was absent. He took actions because of his Vision. Sarah did like wise. Sarah agreed with her husbands Vision. Sarah had a Vision. Sarah could see what an evil man Abimelech was. Our Sages reveal a discussion between our Creator and Abimelech which is not mentioned in Ha Torah.
After the destruction of Sedom, Abraham again changed his residence, moving his tent from Chevron to the Philistine city of Gerar. For what reasons did Abraham leave Charon?
1, Abraham was forced to forsake his old neighborhood because rumors of Lot's actions with his daughters were circulating. Lot's bad reputation also reflected in Avraham who was Lot's uncle. Avraham, afraid of a Chiluil The Lord, [profanation of the Divine Name] decided therefore to settle in a different place. 141
2. [Abraham's] overwhelming desire to perform kindness made him seek guests constantly. After the destruction of Sedom the roads in that area were deserted. Avraham consequently returned to Gerar where there would be wayfarers for him to serve.142
Avraham knew the people living in Gerar were not God fearing. As a result for safety reasons, he called himself Sarah's brother, like he did in Egypt. Rabbi Moshe Weissman, The Midrash Says (Brooklyn, New York: Benei Yakov Publications 1980), p. 180
The Midrash informs us that once Sarah was forcibly taken to Abimelech's palace she told him, 'I am a married woman!' Avimelech ignored Sarah but the Lord sent the Angel Michael to protect her. He could not even approach Sarah.
The Lord Spoke to Abimelech in a dream Saying, 'The woman you took to your palace is married! As a result you deserve to die according to the Seven Noachide Laws. Avimelech objected. He claimed to be righteous.
The All Seeing Eternal Judge Said, Your claim to righteousness is not justified, since it was I who Prevented you from touching her... You are deserving of death! You kidnapped Sarah! Stealing is a prohibition of the Noachide Law of 'robbery' in the Ha Torah. Now, return this woman to her husband at once! Rabbi Moshe Weissman, The Midrash Says (Brooklyn, New York: Benei Yakov Publications 1980), pp 180 - 181
וַיֹּאמֶר אֲבִימֶלֶךְ אֶל־אַבְרָהָם מָה רָאִית כִּי עָשִׂיתָ אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה
[What Do You] See?
ר200 א1 י10 ת400 = 611
As a Prophet Avraham Saw an absence of Torah Observances. Avraham Saw an absence of righteousness. When the Observances of Ha Torah are absent from our world our world is NOT the place our Creator Intended it to be!!
The Words Avimelech asked Abraham are 'What do you see?' Mystically the Words ask, 'Do you see Torah? Do you see [anyone] Observing the Torah?' The answer is no!
ת400 ו6 ר200 ה5 = 611
Each of us are required to Observe various Commands within Ha Torah. It does not matter if we are Jewish or not. Why? Our Creator Established His Will and His Rule for this World, He Created it. His Will and His Rule remains the same today as when He Created this Universe. His Will includes joining Him in Heaven after our life on this earth is concluded. His Will is for us to IMPROVE as individuals.
So if the home place does not Observe Torah the Home place is a scary place to be. If the Work place does not Observe Ha Torah the Work Place is a frightening place to be. God Teaches us Seven Laws to follow and to Observe that makes every place a good happy loving wonderful place to live.