Parshas Vayera 5758
Blessings in Disguise
Volume 4 Issue 4
by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky
In Pashas Vayera, Sora, the 90-year-old wife of Avraham, receives a most
surprising piece of information from an even more surprising source. She
is told by Arab nomads, who had found obliging accommodation in Avraham's
house, that in one year she will have a child. Instinctively, she reacts
in disbelief to this predicton. She laughs.
Immediately, Hashem appears to Avraham He is upset. "Why did Sora laugh?
Is there something that is beyond the Almighty? At the appointed time I
shall return, and behold Sora will have a son (Genesis 18:12-13).
Hashem's ire must be explained. After all, Sora was not told by Hashem
that she will have a baby. She was informed by what appeared to be Arab
wanderers. And though the Talmud explains that the three nomads were
indeed angels sent by the Almighty, they did not identify themselves as
such. So what does G-d want from Sora?
A man once entered the small study of the revered the Steipler Gaon,
Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievski with a plea. "I'd like a blessing from
the Rav. My daughter has been looking to get married for several years.
All her friends are married and she would like to get married too, but
nothing is working. Can the Rosh Yeshiva bless her to find her bashert?
(appropriate one)," he asked.
The Steipler turned to the man and asked, "Is this your first
"No," replied the distraught parent, "Why do you ask?"
"When she was born did you celebrate with a kiddush?" ( a celebratory
party in a religious setting)
The man was perplexed. "No. But, that was 27 years ago," he stammerred,
"and she was my third girl. I may have made a l'chayim while the minyan
was leaving shul, but I never made a proper kiddush. But what does a
missed kiddush 27 years ago have to do with my daughter's shidduch
"When one makes a kiddush at a festive occasions," explained Rav
Kanievski, " each l'chayim he receives is accompanied by myriad
blessings. Some are from friends, others from relatives, and those
blessings given by total strangers.
Among those blessings are definitely the perfunctory wishes for an easy
time in getting married. By not making a kiddush for your daughter, how
many blessings did you deprive her of? I suggest you make your daughter
the kiddush that she never had."
The man followed the advice, and sure enough within weeks after the
kiddush the girl had met her mate.
At the bris (circumcision) of his first son (after ten girls), my uncle,
Rabbi Dovid Speigel, the Ostrove-Kalushin Rebbe of Cedarhurst, Long
Island, quoted the Ramban (Nachmanides) in this week's portion.
The reason that Hashem was upset at Sora was that even if an Arab nomad
gives the blessing, one must be duly vigilant to respond, "Amen." One
never knows the true vehicle of blessing and salvation. Hashem has many
conduits and messengers. Some of those messengers' divinity is inversely
proportional to their appearance.
We have to do is wait, listen, and pray that our prospective exalter is
the carrier of the true blessing. And then, we have to believe.
Quite often, we have ample opportunities to be blessed. Whether it is
from the aunt who offers her graces at a family gathering or the simple
beggar standing outside a doorway on a freezing winter day, blessings
always come our way. Sometimes they come from the co-worker who cheers
you on at the end of a long day or the mail carrier who greets you with
the perfunctory "have a nice day" as he brings today's tidings. Each
blessing is an opportunity that knocks. And each acknowledgment and look
to heaven may open the door to great salvation. The only thing left for
us to do is let those blessings in. Good Shabbos.
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