Rabbi Avraham Brandwein of Yerushalayim 5764
With the help of Heaven
At the beginning of the Parsha, it tells of Avraham, Avinu (our Father), that
after he circumcised himself at the age of 99, and as is well known, on the
third day after circumcision, the pain is greatly increased, nevertheless,
he sat at the entrance to the tent and waited for travelers to arrive.
Three men arrived, appearing as Arabs, and Avraham Avinu, ran to call them,
and he gave them water to wash their feet, bread, and he ran to prepare for
them a great feast. It is written (in the verse), “And they ate.” Chazal
say, “They made it appear as if they were eating (Midrash Bereishis
Rabbah, Chapter 48).
In the end of the Parsha, there is the well known story of the Akeidas Yitzchak,
(the binding of Isaac), which is one of the ten “tests” that
Hakadosh Baruch Hu tested Avraham Avinu, to slaughter his beloved son, Yitzchak.
After Avraham bound Yitzchak and took the knife to slaughter him, an angel
came and said to him, “Do not send your hand to this young man; do
not do anything to him.”
From these two stories, at the beginning and end of the Parsha, we learn that
the main benefit (and accomplishment) in the performance of a Mitzvah is
the actual effort itself, since even after the preparation of Avraham with
the guests, in the end, they were angels and did not eat. Also, in the test
of the Akeida, in the end, he did not slaughter his son. Rather, the actual
preparation and traveling is considered as if (the Mitzvah) had already come
This corresponds well to the principle of the Baal HaSulam (Rabbi Yehuda Leib
Ashlag), may the Tzaddik be remembered for a blessing, who explained the
words of the Mishna, “Rabbi Chananya Ben Akashya says, ‘Hakadosh
Baruch Hu wanted to (provide opportunities) for Israel to achieve merit (Lizakos),
therefore, (he gave) them much Torah and Mitzvos.’” The word “Lizakos,” (to
give opportunities for merit), can be explained as “Lizakaich,” (to
give opportunities for self-refinement). The reason is a follows. A person
is created with a “desire to receive (pleasure) for themselves.” Therefore,
they are distant and separate from the Creator, may He be blessed, since
He only (has the desire) to emanate; He does not (have the desire) to receive
for Himself at all.
The role of the Mitzvos is to refine a person’s “desire to receive”,
and to fulfill the Mitzvos from a desire to emanate (pleasure to Hashem). Thereby,
the person comes close to the Creator, may He be blessed.
Therefore, even though the final result is that (a Mitzvah) may not have come
to fruition, behold, the main accomplishment was done. (The accomplishment)
is the effort and devotion, whose intent was a “desire to emanate and
The first story relates to the Mitzvos (which deal with issues) between man
and his fellow man. The Akeida relates to Mitzvos between man and Hashem.
Both types of Mitzvos have the same goal, to refine a person’s “desire
to receive,” and to acquire the attribute of “the desire to emanate.” Thereby,
a person is able to immediately receive the spiritual emanation from Hakadosh