Pearls of Rashi – Parshas Vayeiro

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In this week’s Torah reading, Vayeiro, we read of Avrohom and Soroh miraculously having a baby; our forefather Yitzchak. Despite the fact that Avrohom was already 100 years old, and his wife Soroh, our matriarch, was 90 years old, G-d’s promise that they would have children was fulfilled. They finally gave birth to a son who would continue the chain of Judaism which his father began.

This great miracle caused Soroh to declare[1], “Who would have said to Avrohom that Soroh would nurse children, for I have given birth to a son in his old age!” Rashi cites the words from the verse “Soroh would nurse children (in the plural),” and explains as follows. “Why is the word ‘children’ in the plural? On the day of the feast[2], the princesses brought their children with them, and she nursed them. (Why? Because) they were saying that, ’Soroh did not give birth, but rather she took in a foundling from the street.’” In other words, she demonstrated that despite her advanced age, she was capable of nursing babies, many babies. Hence, they knew that she had been pregnant.

It seems that Rashi’s comments are open to question. Granted, the fact that “Soroh would nurse children” proved that she was pregnant. However, it did nothing to dispel the claim that Avrohom was not the father. Further on the Torah tells us that[3] “These are the generations of Yitzchok the son of Avrohom; Avrohom begot Yitzchok.”  Rashi cites the words “Avrohom begot Yitzchok” and explains as follows; “the scoffers of the generation were saying that Soroh had conceived from Avimelech, for she had lived with Avrohom for many years and had not conceived from him.”

Here, in our verse, this does nothing to assuage this false claim. It only demonstrated that Soroh was pregnant; however, it did nothing to show that Avrohom was the child’s father!

The explanation is, that the princesses of whom Rashi speaks did not question that Avrohom was the father. They knew that Avrohom was able to father Yishmoel at age 86! The only ones who had a question were the “scoffers of the generation.” These were individuals whose constant occupation was laughing at others. They are not looking for answers; they only seek questions, to be used as ammunition for mocking others.

May Hashem grant us the strength to stand up to these people, and never be ashamed of doing the right thing.

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Mr. Sholom Moshe Hacohen
ben Reb Shlomo Meir Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה הכהן בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יו”ל ע”י חתנו ובתו שיחיו
הרה”ת ר’ שמואל ורבקה שי’ מענדלסאהן

[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 21:7.

[2]. They made a feast when Yitzchok was weaned. See our Parshah, Bereishis 21:8.

[3]. See the beginning of Parshas Toldos, Bereishis 25:19.

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