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“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

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Please read the Introductory Notes to this commentary.

For a glossary of unfamiliar terms, CLICK HERE. For assistance in
pronouncing Hebrew terms, a pronunciation guide is located HERE.

The summary of the entire Torah is as simple as this:
Love what HaShem loves; hate what HaShem hates. All else is commentary.

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית • B'resheet
(“In Beginning” or “At First”)
The First Book of Moses,
Commonly Called


~ 18 ~

Parashah 4: Vayera
(“He Appeared,” Gen. 18:1-22:24)
(Small Roman numerals in the text indicate each 'aliyah.)

The brakah (blessing) to recite prior to reading the Parashah is here.

[Mamre/Hebron [MAP] 1868 BCE]

IV. Parashah Vayera (He appeared) (Gen. 18:1-22:24)

A. Birth of Yitzchak Promised (יְהוָה֒ Visits at Mamre)

1. Avraham’s Hospitality (18:1-8) [Mamre (Hebron)]

(i) 1יְהוָה֒ [GN] appeared to Avraham by Mamre’s oak grove in the heat of the day, as he was sitting at the entrance to his tent.[1] 2Avraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran[2] from the entrance to his tent to meet them, and he bowed low to the ground. 3He said, “My lord,[3] if I have found favor in your sight, please don’t pass your servant by. 4Let a little water be fetched, so you may wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree. 5I will bring a bit of bread so you can refresh yourselves. This is why you have passed your servant’s way. After that, you may continue on your way.”

“Yes,” they replied, “do as you have said.”

6So Avraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Prepare three seahs[6] of fine flour, knead it, and bake some bread.” 7Avraham ran to the herd, selected a tender, choice calf, and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8Then Avraham brought butter,[8a] milk, and the calf that had been prepared, and set them before the men. He stood by them under the tree while they ate.[8b]

2. Yitzchak Promised (18:9-10)

9They asked him, “Where is your wife Sarah?”

“There, in the tent,” he replied.

10Then יְהוָה֒ said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and hinneh,[GN] your wife Sarah will have a son!”

3. Sarah’s Response (18:11-15)

Sarah was behind Him, listening at the entrance to the tent. 11Now Avraham and Sarah were old, well along in years. Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. 12So she laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

13יְהוָה֒ asked Avraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Can I really bear a child when I am old?’ 14Is anything too difficult for יְהוָה֒? At the appointed time I will return to you, in about a year, and Sarah will have a son.”

(ii) 15Then Sarah denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh,” for she was afraid.

“No,” He replied, “but you did laugh.”[15]

B. Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (18:16-19:28)

1. HaShem Tells About Sodom (18:16-21) [Mamre (Hebron)]

16When the “men” got up to leave, they looked out over S'domSodom, and Avraham walked along with them to see them off. 17And יְהוָה֒ said, “Shall I hide from Avraham what I am ablout to do? 18Avraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and through him all the nations[18] of the earth will be blessed. 19For I have chosen him, so that he will command his children and his household after him to keep the way of יְהוָה֒ by doing what is right and just; in order that יְהוָה֒ may bring upon Avraham that which He has promised.” 20Then יְהוָה֒ said, “The outcry against S'domSodom and 'AmoraGomorrah is great. Because their sin is so grievous, 21I will go down now to see if their actions fully justify the outcry that has reached Me. If not, I will find out.”[21]

2. Abraham Intercedes (18:22-33)

22Two of the “men” turned away and went toward S'dom, but Avraham remained standing before יְהוָה֒. 23Avraham stepped forward and asked, “Will You really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24What if there are fifty tzadikimrighteous ones within the city? Will You really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty tzadikimrighteous ones who are there? 25Far be it from You to do something like that, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be that from You! Will not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?”

26יְהוָה֒ replied, “If I find fifty tzadikimrighteous ones within the city of S'dom, then for their sake I will spare the whole place.”[26] 27Avraham answered, “Now that I have ventured to speak to יְהוָה֒, although I am but dust and ashes, 28what if the fifty tzadikimrighteous ones lack five? Will you destroy all the city for lack of five?”

He replied, “If I find forty-five there, I will not destroy it.”

29Once again Avraham spoke to Him, “What if there are forty found there?”

He answered, “For the sake of the forty, I will not do it.”

30Then Avraham said, “Oh, don’t let יְהוָה֒ be angry, but let me will speak further. Suppose thirty are found there?”

He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

31And Avraham said, “Now that I have ventured to speak to ADONAI,[GN] suppose twenty are found there?”

He replied, “For the sake of the twenty, I will not destroy it.”

32Finally Avraham said, “Oh, don’t let ADONAI be angry, but let me speak just once more. Suppose ten are found there?”

He answered, “For the sake of the ten, I will not destroy it .”

33When יְהוָה֒ had finished speaking with Avraham, He departed, and Avraham returned home.

Chapter 19


  1. Here יְהוָה֒ appears to Abraham in human form. How can we know that this was God the Son? See John 8:56. [RETURN]

  2. Was this mere days after his circumcision, or had he had time to heal? [RETURN]

  3. “My lord," Hebrew אֲדֹנָ֗י (’ă·ḏō·nāy), a title of respect common to the time and place. [RETURN]

 6. One seah is about 7 liters, 1.9 gallons, 0.8 pecks. [RETURN]

 8a. Hebrew חֶמְאָ֜ה (ḥem·’āh), butter or curds (cottage cheese). [RETURN]

 8b. Please notice that HaShem and the two angels are eating meat and dairy in the same meal! If He does not object, why do the Rabbis? [RETURN] 

15. I believe that God was amused at Sarah’s unbelief, rather than angry, as some teach. [RETURN] 

18. The word translated “nations” is גּוֹיִם֙, goyim, which can also be translated “gentiles.” So it is through Avraham that the Gentiles of the nations have been and are being blessed. [RETURN]

21. This was obviously an explanation for Avraham’s benefit. HaShem is omniscient (knows everything) and omnipresent (is everywhere); He already knows everything there is to know without going anywhere. [RETURN]

26. God surely knew that there were only three righteous out of the entire two cities. I believe that He was going through this exercise with Avraham to teach him that it’s sometimes alright for us to question Him, as long as we do so respectfully (see Isa 1:18). [RETURN]

Originally posted on Friday, 21 August 2020
Added dates, map references, additional comments on Wednesday, 17 July 2021

Page last updated on Saturday, 14 May 2022 06:25 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return

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