Danny Ginsbourg
Danny GinsbourgINN:DG

Congratulations to Danny Ginsbourg, a shining example of "Torah im Derech Eretz," who this Shabbat celebrates two years of parasha thoughts to the Raanana community, which he kindly shares with Arutz Sheva.

We read in our Parsha (24:1):’Now Avraham was old, well on in years, and Hashem blessed Avraham בכל: with everything’.

Rashi comments: 'the word) בכל is numerically equal to בן: son : since he had a son, he had to find him a wife’.

The Maharal adds:’Rashi comments that בכל is numerically equal to בן: son, as why otherwise is it mentioned here, that Hashem ‘blessed Avraham בכל’? And, this was only mentioned by allusion, and not stated, because all the time that Avraham had not yet had a son, it was as if he had not been blessed, as he said to Hashem:(20)’And what will you give me, when I have no son, and my servant will inherit me’.

‘Only now, that I have a son, I have been blessed ‘with everything’. ‘Therefore it is now written that ‘Hashem blessed Avraham with everything’: He gave him a son’.

The Gemara (Baba Batra 16:) ‘expands’ on this interpretation of our verse, passuk, asking:’What is the meaning of בכל: ‘with everything’? Rabbi Meir says:That he had no daughter; Rabbi Yehuda says: That he had a daughter’.

The Ktav Sofer brings the comment of the Ramban, explaining that the blessing to Avraham was that he did not have a daughter, because there was no one but the accursed Canaanites whom she could marry- and we learn from what happened to Yaakov Avinu’s daughter,Dina (abducted by the Canaanites), what would likely have been the result, had Avraham had a daughter.

‘The opposite view, that Avraham was blessed to have a daughter, is that this silenced the scoffers, who said that Avimelech, and not the aged Avraham, was the father of Yitzchak (Isaac).

‘Hashem therefore blessed Avraham to later father a daughter, to prove that he was able to, and did, father to Yitzchak.

‘He therefore called the name of his daughter בכל, the numerical value of which is בן: son, because her birth proved that Avraham had a son, from Sarah’.

Rav Shlomo Kluger brings Rashi’s commentary, and wonders: ‘Why did Abraham Avinu wait till now to seek a wife for his son?’.

He answers:’He did not seek a wife for Yitzchak till now, because he knew that the mockers were saying that Avimelech, and not he, was the father of Yitzchak. He therefore feared that his family would not give their daughter to Yitzchak, saying he was not the son of Avraham.

However now, after the Akeida, it was clear to all that Yitzchak WAS the son of Avraham, as clearly it could not be a test for Avraham, if Yitzchak was the son of Avimelech!

Therefore, when all heard that Hashem had commanded Avraham to ‘offer’ HIS son, Yitzchak, they accepted that Avraham was his father, and that he now was ‘acceptable’ to his family’.

The Rav brings in aid a Midrash, on the Psukim (24:50-51):’Then Laban and Bethuel said..The matter stemmed from Hashem; Here, Rivkah is before you, take her and go, and let her be a wife to your master’s son, as Hashem has spoken’: ’: Where did Hashem speak? R’Levi says: From Har Moriah’.

‘Meaning: When they heard of the events at Har Moriah, of the Akeida, they saw it as proof from Hashem, that Yitzchak was the son of Avraham, and a proper match for their daughter, Rivkah’.

Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch cautions us, lest we conclude that having a daughter is not a bracha.

‘Not only is having a son and a daughter the ‘objective’ of marriage’, he notes, but, more so, ‘no Parsha than ours is less appropriate to hold such a view, as our Parsha is a paean of praise to our Matriachs, Sarah and Rivkah.

‘The meaning of the Passuk, that ‘Hashem blessed Avraham with everything- that he did not have a daughter- is that in all that he did, Avraham was blessed with Hashem’s Hashgacha Pratit; and here, where Avraham was engaged in finding a wife for his son, Avraham would surely have been greatly troubled, indeed distressed, IF he had a daughter, and had to find her a husband, and the only available mates were the Canaanites or Aramites, as his daughter would then be ‘lost’ to him.

‘Hashem ‘blessed’ HIM by not giving him a daughter, to spare his beloved Avraham, from this tragic outcome’.

Rav Yosef Salant offers an original interpretation of the blesssing of בכל: ‘in everything’.

He brings Rashi’s comment, and asks:’Why do we need a gematriya to tell us that Avraham had a son? We already know this!’.

He answers:’Rather, it comes to teach us about another ‘aspect’ of the search for a wife for Yitzchak.

‘On first thought, surely the most appropriate wife for Yitzchak was the daughter of his servant and close disciple, Eliezer.

‘Avraham knew that this was the thought of Eliezer, and now saw the need to tell his faithful servant, that this could not be, for ‘the accursed cannot mate with the blessed’- Eliezer was from the ‘accursed’ Canaanites, and therefore his daughter could not be the wife of the ‘blessed‘ Yitzchak.

‘Here we ask: Yitzchak was not blessed by Hashem, until after the death of Avraham, so how did Yitzchak merit to be called ‘blessed’?

He answers:’True, we do not find a specific blessing to Yitzchak, but we earlier read of the Angel blessing Avraham, immediately after the Akeida(22:26):’ברך אברכך: that I shall surely bless you..’.

‘Our Sages, noting the double expression: ברך אברכך, derive that it is a ‘double’ blessing: a blessing for Avraham, and a blessing for his son.

‘This is the allusion in the comment of Rashi, that the blessing ‘בכל’ has the numerical value of ‘a son’- to make clear that, as Yitzchak had already been blessed, therefore your daughter, my faithful servant, Eliezer, cannot be his wife.

‘Therefore I am entrusting you with the mission of going to my family, to find a wife for Yitzchak.

‘And, as this blessing to Yitzchak was not openly stated, so too, here, it is only related by allusion, by the gematriya’.

A parting thought from Rav Moshe Feinstein:’All of the material blessings that Hashem had showered on Avraham-indeed all the pleasures of this world-were as nought in his eyes as against the blessing of a son, who would carry out his mission to spread Hashem’s Name and Torah, in the world.

‘This is the deeper meaning of the blessing ‘in everything’, alluding to ‘a son’- THE true blessing’.

לרפואת נועם עליזה בת זהבה רבקה ונחום אלימלך רפאל בן זהבה רבקה, בתוך שאר חולי עמנו.