You Get What You Pay For by Yoni Shenkman


Parshat Vayera begins with Avraham sitting on the third day after being circumcised looking for visitors to serve.  Three angels appear, and he runs to feed and clean them.  Later in the Parsha, Avraham tries to save Sedom from being destroyed, claiming that there might be a few righteous people still left in the city.  Avraham asks that “justice” then be used, and that the city be spared. 

Shlomo Ressler, ( in his weekly email Dvar Torah, asks how this can be justice, that an entire city of evil people should be saved because of as few as 10 righteous people?  The answer he gives is that for Hashem to spare Sedom for Avraham would have been justice, because Avraham did more then he had to in hosting guests and being kind to strangers.  In the story at the beginning of the Parsha it was on the third day, which was the hottest day and the most painful day after the circumcision.  Therefore, Avraham was never expected to have been so kind.  Hashem had to act the same way towards Avraham and grant him more then he normally would have. Although his argument was not strong enough for Sedom in the end, Avraham’s argument was still  valid, and was good enough to save Lot and his daughters. 

Shlomo Ressler applies this principle to us.  The Torah is replete with of rules of equality (do onto others what you would have done to you, love your neighbor as you love yourself and the rules of giving charity to those less fortunate).  Even the rules of paying back things that one has stolen are based on restoring equality and take embarrassment into account.  The same rules apply to our relationship with Hashem.  We can do only what we have to do and receive the reward we deserve.  Or we can look for ways to do more that is required, and subsequently be rewarded far beyond that which we merely deserve.  In every relationship, finding a way to do more is what shows our love and builds the relationship, and our relationship with Hashem deserves no less!

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