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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Beresheet: Parashat Vayera: Torah Negotiations

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi


"He [Abraham] took cream and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and placed them before them [the angels]."

We see that Abraham took cream, milk and meat and served the guests that he had. However, in the preparation of the food, we see that Abraham requested that Sarah bake loaves of bread. These loaves were not brought to the guests, because as Rashi explains, Sarah became Niddah that day, and the dough was Tameh.

What is the meaning behind this interesting story of food being served to angels?

Our rabbis have given us a wonderful way of understanding these verses in this week's parasha. The entire meal was actually a negotiation between the angels and Abraham regarding the Torah. The angels wanted Hashem to keep the Torah in the heavens and give the Torah to the angels. Abraham wanted the Torah to be given to mankind.

Hashem built this world so that he could dwell in both the upper heavens with the angels, but also dwell with mankind below. Adam Harishon sinned and the land was cursed because of him. Hashem could no longer dwell in the lower world with mankind because of this sin. Hashem therefore planned to give mankind the Torah to repent and correct the sin of Adam, so that He could once again dwell with mankind.

The angels planned to eat with Abraham, make Birqat Hamazon and bless the land. In their actions, they would have made the correction for mankind, and Hashem would have no reason to bring the Torah to the world. Instead the Torah would stay in the heavens with the angels.

What happened?

Hashem intervened. Sarah became Niddah, and the dough was impure, and not served. The angels could not succeed in their plot. Abraham further showed them that the Torah has no place in the realm of the angels, for the Torah's primary objective is to guide us against Yeser Harah, the evil inclination inborn in man. The angels have no such bad inclination. Rashi explains "I will fetch you a morsel of bread that you may sustain yourselves" as meaning the Abraham taught the angels some concepts from the Torah, and proved to them that the Torah was no use to them.

"Libechem" and not "Levavchem" is written in the pasuk- One "Bet" and not two, indicating that the angels have no evil inclination. (In Shemah, there are two letter "Bets" indicating that we must worship Hashem with both our evil and good inclinations.)

Mankind inherited the Torah, and it is our obligation to always cherish this gift given to us by Hashem, Yishtabah Shemo.
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