Questions on Parashah Vayeira

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Questions on Parashah Vayeira

Postby Hart60 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:36 pm

I have seen many commentaries following Gen.18:7. that Avram killed three cows to enable him to serve each of his three visitors tongue with mustard, but how do the sages derive that three cows were killed from the text - "And to the cattle did Abraham run, and he took a calf, tender and good, and he gave it to the youth, and he hastened to prepare it." ?
And -
What is meant by "it was Passover" because Lot baked unleavened bread ?
Gen.19:3. "And he urged them strongly, and they turned in to him, and came into his house, and he made them a feast, and he baked unleavened cakes, and they ate."
How could they celebrate the Passover in Egypt before it had happened ? or does it mean that Lot and his family were passed over during the destruction ? or was Lot baking Matzo because he knew they would have to leave their home in a hurry ?

Thanks.
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Re: Questions on Parashah Vayeira

Postby martinbrody » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:59 pm

Rashi makes one of his briefest comments on the words Lot fed his guests matzah. He just says, " it was Pesach".
It obviously was not Pesach because the Exodus was not for another 4 centuries.
So Rashi was making a philosophical comment.
Perhaps it was reference to Lot being the quintessential assimilated Jew who didn't want to leave his new found homeland despite the dangers ahead. indeed the "angels" had to drag him out.
Rashi could have been referencing the Haggadah where it admonishes the wicked son as one that would have not left Egypt. We have a midrashic tradition that large numbers of Jews died in the 9th plague of darkness for not being "onboard" with the mission at hand and wanting to be Egyptian etc. We see that repeated several times during the wanderings in he desert and wanting to go back to Egypt.
Hope that helps,
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Re: Questions on Parashah Vayeira

Postby Hart60 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:12 pm

It does thanks Martin, It seems strange that even Rashi seems to emphasize the link -He baked matzo so it was Passover.
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Re: Questions on Parashah Vayeira

Postby Kira » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:41 am

It was certainly "Pesach" for Lot. There are several references in the Text that remind us of Pesach, not only Matzot, but also the words, "he kept delaying" (same word used in Pesach, "you must not delay"), and the role of the door / doorposts. Outside = danger; inside = safety, but only temporarily.

Matzot are the original fast food. You mix up some flour and water, you throw it on the taboon (hot metal surface), you eat.

The other reason it tells us what Lot served his guests is to contrast it with what Avraham and Sarah served their guests.

I think, that among other things, it highlights that Mrs. Lot was no Mrs. Avraham...

-Kira
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Re: Questions on Parashah Vayeira

Postby Hart60 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:03 pm

Thanks Kira,I thought it might have referred to Lot, any ideas on the three cows commentaries also in my OP ?
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Re: Questions on Parashah Vayeira

Postby Kira » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:10 pm

Ah, I missed that. I will look it up, but not tonight

-Kira
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Re: Questions on Parashah Vayeira

Postby Hart60 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:16 pm

:lol: Ha ha ! thanks Kira.
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Re: Questions on Parashah Vayeira

Postby Kira » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:59 am

It's based on a Midrash quoted in Talmud Bava Metzia 86b. Paraphrasing:

It says, "he took a calf, tender and good" - a calf, that's 1, tender = 2, good = 3. But it says, "he gave it to the servant"? Each one was given to a different servant to prepare.

Chazal are trying to magnify the expense and trouble that Avraham was willing to go to in order to serve his guests.

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Re: Questions on Parashah Vayeira

Postby Hart60 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:48 pm

Thanks Kira,I thought that might have been the reason, but isn't that pushing the point a bit far ? - "and he took a calf, (singular) tender and good,(the condition of the meat) and he gave it (singular) to the youth, and he hastened to prepare it (singular)." I wondered if the transliteration from biblical Hebrew might have been lacking something ?
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Re: Questions on Parashah Vayeira

Postby Kira » Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:33 pm

No problem with the translation. The way you're reading it is Peshat (normal, simple meaning), and what they're doing is a different action called "Derash", where words are given their full possible meanings and added into the equation. It's not something that we can do ourselves any more, it's a lost art.

The Peshat meaning is real and true, and most likely, what actually happened (although not necessarily, it's never a historical account). Derash is even more real and true, but probably not what actually happened. Or it might be.

The Text intends both, and sometimes several other levels in addition.

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