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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Beresheet: Parashat Vayera: Hashem Appeared to him

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi

"Hashem appeared to him near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day." (Genesis 18:1)

The first verse in this week's parasha is somewhat cryptic. The verse states that Hashem appeared to "him" without specifying who the "him" is. From the context of the next verses, it is obvious that the "him" is Abraham Avinou. As the midrash tells us, Hashem appeared to Abraham on the third most-difficult day after his circumcision.

The question our Rabbis ask is simple: Why does the verse suppress the name "Abraham" and not explicitly mention the name of our forefather?

The Qeli Yaqar answers that Abraham Avinou had two specific aspects to his nature:
1. His name – Abraham
2. His Humility
Abraham's name "Abraham" is a combined form of "Av" (father) Hamon (many) Goyim (nations). As we read in last week's parasha, "No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations." (Genesis 17:5) This name depicts the worldly Abraham, the person all are familiar with, the father of nations, converting man to monotheism. Abraham's name through the very meaning depicts his greatness and his importance.

However, the other side to Abraham, was his intense humility. As we see here: "Then Abraham spoke up again: "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to Hashem, though I am nothing but dust and ashes" (Genesis 18,27). Abraham compares himself to dust and ashes.

Had the verse stated "Hashem appeared to Abraham" we might have mistakenly conclude that Hashem is relating to Abraham due to the side of Abraham connoted by his name, i.e. his greatness. However, the verse chose to omit the name, thereby revealing to us that Hashem is connecting to Abraham without his "name", i.e. by way of his humility.
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