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Isn't it pretty?

Friday, October 29, 2004

Parshas Vayera

My current roommate and I met while we were both studying in Israel at Jewel, which is an program of Aish Hatorah. One of the classes that we attended focused on in-depth textual study of the Torah. It just so happened that the portion that our teacher focused on was Vayera, this week's parsha. So every year when Parshas Vayera comes up, we refer to it as "our Parsha," and we revel in the fact that there is one section of the Torah that we know really well. So in honor of the fact that I know this parsha, I wanted to share a small thing that I remember learning. The parsha opens with Avraham sitting at the entrance to his tent, three days after his Bris. It is extremely hot, and Avraham must be in pain considering the situation. Hashem appears to Avraham, but doesn't say anything. The question was asked regarding why Hashem doesn't say anything to Avraham, to comfort him, to give him some encouragement, to tell him that he will feel better soon. A proposed answer was that sometimes you don't need to say anything, just the fact that you are there is comforting. It is enough to know that you care. Words can be trite and meaningless at times, but just the warm presence and knowledge that someone cares can reassuring. This is often hard for those of us who are trying to comfort our sick friends and family. Silence can be awkward and many times we feel a need to counter that silence with any words. But a hug, a touch, or just the knowledge that someone is there, and they care, can be more reassuring than the common words that often are given. A soothing presence can be the best medicine. And Hashem, who is always there for us with His comforting presence, even though He doesn't always speak to us in words, should be the most soothing reassurance we could possibly want.

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