1. At the beginning of the Parsha we have the three Arab guests who come to Avraham Avinu. The Gemara in Maseches Shabbos 127a (8 lines from the bottom) which is well-known says (אמר רב יהודה אמר רב גדולה הכנסת אורחין מהקבלת פני שכינה). We learn from here that Avraham Avinu who was busy being Mekabeil Pnei Hashechina and diverted himself to accepting these guests and from here we learn that greater is Hachnosas Orchim than Kabbalas Pnei Hashechina.
Rav Shlomo Heiman in his Chiddushei Rav Shlomo, Nichtavim Siman 34 asks, Osek Mitzvah Patur Min Hamitzvah. Avraham Avinu is not obligated in Hachnosas Orchim. The Halacha is that if you are Osek in one Mitzvah you are Patur from a different Mitzvah. Therefore, the entire idea seems to be off. We don’t measure Osek Mitzvah in how great a Mitzvah is. If you are busy with one Mitzvah you don’t go and do another Mitzvah instead.
Rav Shlomo answers that the rule of Osek B’mitzvah Patur Min Hamitzvah does not apply to a Mitzvah Kiyumis. Meaning to say, that an obligation like that of shaking a Lulav or blowing a Shofar is a Mitzvah which you are obligated to do or the Gemara has an example of someone who finds an Aveida and you are taking care of it then Osek B’mitzvah Patur Min Hamitzvah. That is something that he must do. But there are Mitzvos Kiyumis, Mitzvos that you don’t have to do but you choose to do, you elect to do and we don’t say Osek B’mitzvah Patur Min Hamitzvah. This is Rav Shlomo’s Yesod.
There is a source for this in the Nesivos Hamishpat Siman 72:19 who writes that someone who is Osek in Gabaos for a Tzedaka, he is in the Yeshiva working in the office busy collecting money for the Yeshiva. Or he is involved in board meetings for a Shul. He is Osek in Gabaos which is something that is involved in Tzorchei Mitzvah and at that time an Ani comes to him, so Lechora we should say Osek B’mitzvah Patur Min Hamitzvah, if he busy with Tzorchei Tzibbur he should be Patur from giving Tzedakah.
The Nesivos says no, that is a Mitzvah Kiyumis, he is not obligated to be involved in the Shul, he is not obligated to be involved, it is a Mitzvah but it is not an obligation Mitzvah, it is a Mitzvah Kiyumis and we do not say Osek B’mitzvah Patur Min Hamitzvah. Here we have a beautiful Yesod that Osek B’mitzvah Patur Min Hamitzvah does not apply by a Mitzvah that you are not obligated to do.
The Imrei Binah in Orach Chaim Siman 13 asks a Kasha on the Nesivos. This rule seems to be contradicted in Maseches Sukkah 26a that says that someone who is busy selling Tefillin is Patur from Mitzvos because Osek B’mitzvah Patur Min Hamitzvah. We learn that Osek B’mitzvah Patur Min Hamitzvah from the Posuk of Uv’lecticha Baderech. B’leches B’derech Didach. You should be involved in other Mitzvos V’lo B’leches Shamayim. Not when you are busy doing Shamayim Mitzvos. Therefore, the Gemara says that someone who is a Mocher Tefillin is Osek B’mitzvah Patur Min Hamitzvah. That seems to contradict the Nesivos and Rav Shlomo. A Kasha. According to that the Kasha comes back on our Parsha.
The Chavatzeles Hasharon brings a beautiful Teretz. A Teretz that is very Mistaver. He says the rule that we know from Gemara Osek B’mitzvah Patur Min Hamitzvah, if you are involved in one Mitzvah you don’t have to do another Mitzvah, there are really two parts to it. One is that you are really Patur, you are not obligated to drop one Mitzvah to do another. What about if you want to, you want to drop one to do another. Well Osek B’mitzvah Patur Min Hamitzvah is also an Issur. You are doing a Mitzvah, you don’t drop it to go do another Mitzvah. The Nesivos and Rav Shlomo are referring to the second part. The fact that when you are Osek B’mitzvah you don’t have to do another Mitzvah that is true in all cases and therefore, someone selling Tefillin is not obligated to go sit in a Sukkah and do other Mitzvos. The Issur of doing another Mitzvah, that doesn’t apply to a Mitzvah Kiyumis. If you are sitting in a board meeting or if you are involved in collecting money for a poor family, it is not Assur to go do another Mitzvah. After all, you are not obligated to do the first Mitzvah at all. You can stop it and just to go to sleep, certainly you can stop it to do something else. Therefore, Osek B’mitzvah Patur Min Hamitzvah that you are not allowed to do another Mitzvah, that is true when it is a Mitzvah Chiyuvis an obligatory Mitzvah, however, by a Mitzvah Kiyumis you can divert to go do another Mitzvah.
With this we understand much better Avraham Avinu. Avraham Avinu was Mekabeil Pnei Hashechina, he could have said that I am Osek in a Mitzvah and I don’t have to go and greet the Hachnosas Orchim but since Gedola Hachnasas Orchim, he chose, he elected to divert from a Mitzvah Kiyumis to do another Mitzvah. Ad Kan this is what it says there. Very Geshmak.
A person should learn from this Gemara that someone who is selling Tefillin and is Osek B’mitzvah and the Gemara says if you find something and you are busy putting it away you are Osek B’mitzvah. There are many things that we do that we do not fully appreciate and they fall under the category of Osek B’mitzvah. It would be natural for someone now to ask the following Shaila. What happens if I am Davening and a collector comes around, do I say in that case that Osek B’Mitzvah Patur Min Hamitzvah or not? Maybe it should be the same rule?
Rav Chaim Kanievsky in his Derech Emunah, Hilchos Matnas Aniyim, Perek Yud. In the Shaar Hatzion on the bottom Os 96 is Mesupaik, he expresses a Safeik if you are in the middle of Davening whether you break to give Tzedakah. After all, Davening is a Mitzvah Chiyuvas and it should be Assur.
Many years ago, in the Am Hatorah journal which is published by the Agudas Yisrael, there was a letter from Rav Dovid Feinstein in which he responded to this Shaila and he said something very Geshmak. The Shaila was in the middle of Davening are you Osek B’mitzvah and Patur from giving Tzedakah. Rav Dovid answered very wisely. He said it is a Sugya in the Gemara and the Shulchan Aruch that in middle of Birchas Kriyas Shema if a person comes and says good morning are you allowed to respond to him and there the Halacha is that if it is Mipnei Kevodo, if you have to have respect for him you do answer him. In middle of Pesukai D’zimra certainly.
Zagt Hagaon Rav Dovid if so, if there is someone collecting, since there is a specific exception that during Birchas Kriyas Shema and certainly Pesukai D’zimra you are allowed to be Mafsik to say Aleichem Shalom, so if it is someone that you have Kavod for, you have respect for, you give him Tzedakah. On the other hand, if there is someone who is obviously not religious, as for example there is a fellow who comes around collecting in Flatbush and when they say Kedusha he has no idea why the people are standing straight and he has no idea what Kedusha is. He may be a Tinok Shenishba but there is no obligation of respect for him, no Kavod for him. In this case it would seem that one is Dafka not Mafsik in order to give him Tzedakah. Ad Kan, we got into a Lomdeshe Sugya.
2. Let’s talk about an Inyan of Machshava. At the end of the Parsha is the Akeidah. The Gemara in Maseches Rosh Hashana 16a (3 lines from the bottom) says that we blow Shofar on Rosh Hashana with a Shofar of an Ayil (ram). Why? Because HKB”H said (אמר רבי אבהו למה תוקעין בשופר של איל אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא תקעו לפני בשופר של איל כדי שאזכור לכם עקידת יצחק). The Akeida is not the ram, the ram is something that Avraham did afterwards as sort of a consolation prize. He had the big Mitzvah to be Makriv his son and then the Ribbono Shel Olam sent a Malach to say don’t do it and then he brought an Ayil in his place. Bringing the ram is not a big Mitzvah, the Mitzvah is the Akeida. Why is blowing the Shofar Shel Ayil something that reminds Hashem Kavayochel of the Akeida.
A more pointed question, if you look in the Parsha you will see that Avraham Avinu is ready to sacrifice his son and the Malach says in 22:12 (אַל-תִּשְׁלַח יָדְךָ אֶל-הַנַּעַר, וְאַל-תַּעַשׂ לוֹ, מְאוּמָה). Don’t do anything to him. Then the Malach says to him that (כִּי עַתָּה יָדַעְתִּי, כִּי-יְרֵא אֱלֹרים אַתָּה). Now I know that you are a Yir’ai Elokim and it doesn’t give him any promise of reward. After that, Avraham brings a ram, as a sacrifice and after the ram is offered the Malach speaks to him again and then he says 22:16 (יַעַן אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ אֶת-הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה, וְלֹא חָשַׂכְתָּ, אֶת-בִּנְךָ אֶת-יְחִידֶךָ). Then he says 22:17 (כִּי-בָרֵךְ אֲבָרֶכְךָ, וְהַרְבָּה אַרְבֶּה אֶת-זַרְעֲךָ). Then he promises him a reward. Again, there seems to be something important about this ram because before the ram was offered there is no promise of reward only afterwards. Halo Davar Hu! Why is it that way?
A third question. After Avraham refrains from Shechting Yitzchok the Posuk says 22:13 (וַיִּשָּׂא אַבְרָהָם אֶת-עֵינָיו, וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה-אַיִל, אַחַר, נֶאֱחַז בַּסְּבַךְ בְּקַרְנָיו). There was another ram in the brush stuck with his horns. The word Acher seems to be wrong. Why is it mentioning another ram? What other ram, there is only one ram?
The Har Tzvi Al Hatorah says a Pshat and I have seen this elsewhere. He says beautifully. He says the Etzem Akeidas Yitzchok was a Nisayon, but after all, Avraham heard the command straight from the Ribbono Shel Olam, so is it such a tremendous Chiddush that he did what Hashem wanted? Ok, it is a Nisayon. What made Avraham’s behavior exemplary was this. Afterwards, when the Malach said to Avraham do not kill your son, do not offer your son as a sacrifice, Avraham should have danced for joy.
Avraham was disappointed. He wanted to be able to express his Ahavah to the Ribbono Shel Olam. He wanted somehow to be able to do something, an extraordinary act. He saw (אַיִל, אַחַר, נֶאֱחַז בַּסְּבַךְ בְּקַרְנָיו), he saw a second sacrifice. The Ayil wasn’t just a separate incident, a consolation prize. Avraham’s tremendous drive to do the Ratzon Hashem and to bring him a Korban which he thought he would do with his own son was instead done with this ram. The ram is an exhibition, it shows the tremendous Ahavah, the tremendous Mesirah of Avraham Avinu. Therefore, after that then the Malach promised him reward. (כִּי-בָרֵךְ אֲבָרֶכְךָ, וְהַרְבָּה אַרְבֶּה אֶת-זַרְעֲךָ כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם). Because it is one thing to offer your son as a sacrifice when you heard it directly from G-d and it is another thing to feel let down when the Ribbono Shel Olam asks you not to do it.
And so, a tremendous lesson. A tremendous lesson in devotion to HKB”H. There are times that we do things that are not easy for us to serve Hashem. There are times that we sacrifice. We have to learn to do with a Ratzon, there should be a desire to sacrifice. Giving something up for HKB”H is a tremendous opportunity. If you are sitting and learning and you are exhausted, you are tired and you have a good excuse, you can space out, you can put your head down, you can go home and instead you push yourself. You have a Daf Yomi Shiur and you stand up instead of feeling drowsy when you are sitting with everyone. You pull over a Shtender, you rededicate yourself after you have an excuse to bow out, that makes everything that much more Chashuv. So push yourself and be willing to do more to show that that which you are doing is with a tremendous Ahavas Hashem.
And so, an amazing Parsha, Parshas Vayeira, one for which there is so much to learn from. A Gut Gebenched Shabbos to one and all!