VaYera “and He appeared”

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1: And YHWH appeared to him in the plains of Mamre; and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day:
2. And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the ground:
3. And said, My Adonai, if now I have found favor in your sight, pass not away, I beseech you, from your servant:
4. Let a little water, I beseech you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:
5. And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and you comfort your hearts; after that you shall pass on; seeing that you are come to your servant; And they said, So do, as you have said:

Here we begin with Avraham sitting in the door to his tent. The Midrash indicates that this is about three days after his circumcision. He would have been just ending his sickness from the circumcision. Circumcision can cause an illness that peaks out in 2-3 days and ends in 3-4 days.

I know a young man who was circumcised at age 9. He was down for about a day and a half. The second day he was up and playing. By the end of the 3rd day he was back to climbing trees. So even today, I have seen first hand that the 3-4 day recovery time holds true.

We are told that he instructed Sarah to make cakes with 3 measures of flour. This was so that each of the guests would have an equal amount. In this we can see that we should treat our guests impartially as well.

The Midrash indicates that these three angels are: Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel. However, it is this authors opinion that one of these angels was actually Yeshua. Yeshua was the one whom Avraham was negotiating for the sake of any righteous in the area of Sodom. Yeshua would have been the only one with the authority to with hold the punishment deserved by those cities on the plain.

In these negotiations, we find Avraham starting out with 50 righteous people. Avraham was hoping for a righteous minion of ten in each of the five cities on the plain. Yet only Lot was found worthy to escape with his daughters and wife. They were only four people. And really only Lot as the others had already been heavily influenced by the surrounding community. Because the son-in-laws refused to leave, it is presumed that Lot had at least two other daughters in the city and that they stayed behind with their husbands. Perhaps this is why Lot’s wife looked back. To see if her other daughters escaped before the destruction came. It is said that Lot was the hind most person in the exit to Tzoar. Some have supposed that his wife was lagging behind and became a pillar of salt when the destruction overtook her . But the text says that “She looked behind HIM”. So she would have had to have been in front of Lot at the time this occurred.

Later we find that Yitzach , Avraham’s son, is brought to become an offering for Elohim. Can one imagine what would go on in your head should you be asked to offer your only son as an offering to Elohim? This son was promised to Avraham and was promised to be the progenitor of many nations, so that his seed would out number the sands of the sea.

But was Avraham commanded to slaughter his son? What does it mean for a person to take another and make them an offering? What of the promised nations from him? We, like Avraham did, generally assume that this means a death sacrifice.

There is another story in our Tanakh about person who offers up their offspring to Elohim.

Jude 11:30-40:
30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto Yahweh, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,
31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be Yahweh’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.
32 So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and Yahweh delivered them into his hands.
33 And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, [even] twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.
34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she [was his] only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.
35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! Thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto YHWH, and I cannot go back.
36 And she said unto him, My father, [if] thou hast opened thy mouth unto YHWH, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; for as much as YHWH hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, [even] of the children of Ammon.
37 And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows.
38 And he said, Go. And he sent her away [for] two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains.
39 And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her [according] to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel,
40 [That] the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.

As we can see by the above passages, Jephthah’s daughter went to lament her virginity. This indicates that she would not die, but would never have a chance to marry. The Levites and Cohainim in the temple could not marry her as she was not from their tribe. She went to serve in Elohim’s temple instead.

From this we can see that it was the intention of Elohim that Yitzach be put into Yahweh’s service. His life was no longer to be his own, but sacrificed.

Avraham, like we, believed that he was to kill Yitzak on an alter. It is said that the place of the offering is the same as where Yeshua was later offered. It is also said the location was the same as the first sacrifice done to provide Adam with skin. So a ram was presented to replace Yitzach. In this YHWH said that he would offer Himself a sacrifice. This specific phrasing alludes to the Messiah and the future offering of Yahushua.

Thus Yitzach became sanctified at this place. When Avraham returns to Sarah, he leaves Yitzach on the mountain. It is said that Yitzach remained there for three years. This parallels an agricultural law for trees that bear fruit. This law also applies to men and new converts as represented by the tree.

Leviticus 19:23-25
23 And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of.
24 But in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy to praise YHWH.
25 And in the fifth year shall ye eat of the fruit thereof, that it may yield unto you the increase thereof: I [am] YHWH your Elohim.

Yitzach was separated for three years to learn of Yahweh before returning to his family and to gain a bride. When a man marries, he is separated from his daily obligations for one year to praise Yahweh with his new bride. This is to establish a strong relationship between the husband and bride.

Also, when a new believer comes to the faith, he is not immediately sent out to evangelize the world. He is instead admonished to study, to learn how to conform to the image of Elohim. After this he is allowed to teach within the community, to serve the community. This helps the community to fine-tune him, to ensure that he knows what he is talking about. Also, the converts insights feed back into the community strengthening it. After this four year period, he is permitted to become a public teacher. Circumventing this process leads to unproductive fruit which will whither and die because it has not been properly nourished and prepared for its purpose.

Since Yitzach, it is said, was thirty-seven years of age at the time of his dedication, he would have been forty at the time he came back to the community. This is also indicative of how Yitzach honored his parents. He, at age thirty-seven could have easily over powered his father. But instead he honored his father and despite the potential loss of his own life, obeyed his fathers voice and allowed himself to be bound for slaughter at the alter.

This also demonstrates the strength of Yitzach's faith. His faith was so strong in Elohim that his fear of Elohim was greater than the fear of this mortal life. He knew that if Elohim wanted him to die, then there must be a reason for it. He also knew the prophecies that concerned his offspring which he has not had yet. He knew that what ever was going on he would not cease to be in the outcome.

Yitzach later becomes the father of Ya’acob, who becomes Yisrael, and through the dispersion, his seed now populates many nations and can no longer be numbered.

Shabbat Shalom.