Avraham's Controversy Continues ©

Parshas Vayeira
Bereishis 18:1 - 22:24

By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

This study is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Donald Wayne Belk and Mr. Gary Lee Belk, may they rest in peace.

The Story Of Jews Facing Controversy
There was a middle-aged couple that moved into the Jewish community. They purchased a home that was considerably rundown. They purchased the home from the sons of a Jewish widow who passed away. The house was structurally sound but in a very rundown condition. They hired an electrician to check the electrical, a plumber to check the plumbing, a carpenter to make repairs and some minor updating and a painter / plasterer to patch, paint and wallpaper. Removal of old stained carpet revealed hardwood {oak} floors which in places had to be replaced. All in all, they completely refurbished this older home. It was a lovely place when it was restored. I believe it was their intention to live there the rest of their lives, but as things happened they were transferred to another location after a short time and had to move. They listed their house and sold it. Several months after selling their home they received a phone call from the real estate agent. It seems that the individuals who purchased their former home were dissatisfied ... The new owners claimed this Jewish couple had lied on their disclosure form and had deceived them which they claimed resulted in serious damages to the garden level and the need for additional plumbing work.

After their real estate agent related the false charges to them they felt very, very disappointed. In their hearts they knew they had not lied or deceived the new owners on their disclaimer form! Obviously this was a very difficult position for the former owners as well as the new owners ... This is a very unfortunate situation but it is not New!! The former Jewish owners spent much money upgrading and restoring the home. After months of restoration the home was very beautiful. There was no lie or deception! They had no knowledge or record of any plumbing problems during their ownership of their former home. So months later, non Jews began slinging false charges and threats of lawsuits ...

Holy reader, it is not so unusual for honest, diligent Jews or Spiritualists to face controversy. Unfortunately it happens, most recently, the horrible difficulties of violence and death that began in Yisroel which were supposedly the result of a Jewish leader visiting the Temple Site. However this leader was invited there by non Jews who used this to provoke riots and the unrest that has followed... Recently a major East Coast newspaper carried a front page picture of what they claimed was an Israeli soldier standing over a beaten Arab child. It turns out this was a Jewish Yeshiva student that an Israeli soldier was offering medical assistance to after he had been beaten by non Jews.

Why should we be so surprised by outrageous false accusations like these? Our father Avraham over 3,500 years ago faced such controversy with King Avimelech. Unfortunately Avraham’s controversy continues in this week's parsha.

Ha Torah records, And it was at this time he, Avimelech and Pichol, his general, spoke to Avraham, saying, ‘G-d {as in G-d as Creator, Owner and Judge} is with you in all that you do. And now, take an oath with me here, before G-d, that you will not lie to me and to my son and to my grandson. Like the deeds of kindness that I have done to you, do to me and to the inhabitants of the land that you are a stranger in.’

And spoke Avraham, ‘I take an oath’ Then Avraham Vih Hoh Chee Ach {admonished} Avimelech from Aleph to Tav regarding the well of water that Avimelech’s servants took by force.

And said Avimelech, ‘I did not know from Aleph to Tav of this thing and in addition you never told it to me and in addition I did not hear about it until today,’

And took Avraham sheep and cattle and gave them to Avimelech and the two of them cut an agreement. And Avraham set everything from Aleph to Tav of seven ewes apart by themselves.

And said Avimelech to Avraham, ‘What are these seven ewes that are apart by themselves?’

And [Avraham] said, ‘For everything from Aleph to Tav of these seven ewes take from my hand as proof as a witness that I dug this well.’ Therefore he called the place [of the agreement] Beer Sheva. They made a covenant in Beer Sheva. Avimelech and Pichol, his general, then rose and returned to the land of the Philistines... Bereishis 21:22-32

Dear classmates, at an earlier time Avimelech said to Avraham, Behold my land is before you. In goodness wherever you see stay. Bereishis 20:15 Avimelech’s statement represents ownership. This is reinforced by Avimelech’s denial of any knowledge of wrongdoing... If the land had been his to do with as he pleased then a denial would not have been necessary! But because the land belonged to Avraham it was necessary for King Avimelech to deny any knowledge of the improper seizure of Avraham’s well. We observe denials and claims of ignorance. What we don’t see is the material for peace, for resolving the problem ...

We observe this in the word Vih Hoh Chee Ach, meaning to 'admonish, reprove, reprimand and also to prove, to establish.' So we learn that Avraham both reprimanded Avimelech and proved to him his claim that his land and well had been stolen, taken... by force.

On the one hand we have the admonition and proof, and on the other hand we have the nature of man, the nature of men like Avimelech with the word Maw, meaning 'Who' {You’re kidding}, 'What' {I don’t believe it}, and 'Why' {They couldn’t have done such a thing...}. We also see the nature of 'they' or 'them' in Haym. We also observe the difference between righteousness {as in the righteousness of G-d} and deception / falsity of man {as in Avimelech} with the word Vee Chah Zayv {acting falsely} -- meaning G-d does not lie like man, G-d is not deceitful, G-d does not act falsely like man! We observe all this in the Gematria of 45.

We read nothing of Avimelech’s inquiry into the matter of Avraham’s claim... We read nothing of Avimelech questioning his general Pichol who was there with him regarding the incident... Avimelech’s only expressions are ignorance and denial!! All we observe is the 'Who' {You’re kidding!} And 'What' {I don’t believe it!} And 'Why' {They couldn’t have done such a thing}... Avimelech expresses no regret! Avimelech expresses no sorrow!! Avimelech expresses no intent to investigate the matter. He says nothing of arresting the violators. He says nothing of prosecuting the thieves. He does not assure Avraham that he will look into the matter. He does not say the land will be returned...

This type of conduct is NOT the basis for peace! This is not the basis for cooperation and equal and safe existence! Holy readers, these types of problems -- lies, denials, ignorance, absolution from prosecution for the guilty, amnesty for the guilty, freedom from restitution, etc. -- are the same problems that Yisroel faces today. These are the same problems Jews have faced for years... They are NOT the foundation stones for peace. This is why Avraham both proved his claim and reprimanded Avimelech.

Does this seem like what is happening in Eretz Yisroel today? What has changed in three years? This type of denial and brazenness has increased, G-d Forbid!!

Praying for our best!

Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Written in 5761
Updated in 5765

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