Rosh Hashanah


Bereishit 21:1 Hashem had remembered Sarah as He had said; and Hashem did for Sarah as He had spoken.

Rashi on 21:1 HASHEM REMEMBERED SARAH. This section was placed next to [the preceding section] to teach you that whoever begs for mercy for his friend, when he needs the same thing, he is answered first, for it is said (v20:17) “Avraham prayed, etc.,” and immediately following it. “Hashem remembered Sarah,” i.e., He had already remembered her before He healed Avimelech.

REMEMBERED SARAH AS HE SAID. Concerning [the promise of] conception.

AS HE HAD SPOKEN. Concerning [the promise of] birth. Now where is [the expression] “saying” and where is [the expression] “speaking”? “Saying” (amirah) is mentioned (above 17:19): “And G-d said (vayomer): Indeed, your wife Sarah, etc…” “Speaking” (divur) [is mentioned] (above 15:1): “The word of (devar) Hashem came to Avram'” in the Covenant Between the Parts, where it is stated (ibid. 4): “This one [Eliezer] will not inherit you, etc.” and He brought forth the heir from Sarah.


21:2 Sarah conceived and bore a son unto Avraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which G-d had spoken with him.

Rashi on 21:2 AT THE APPOINTED TIME OF WHICH G-D HAD SPOKEN. Rabbi Yudan and Rabbi Chama dispute. Rabbi Yudan says: This teaches us that he was born after nine months, so that it should not be said that he was [conceived] in Avimelech’s household, and Rabbi Chama says: After seven months.

AT THE APPOINTED TIME OF OF WHICH G-D HAD SPOKEN, i.e., the time that He had spoken and fixed, when he [the angel] said to him (18:14): “At the appointed time, I will return to you.” He made a scratch on the wall, and said to him, ”When the sun reaches this scratch next year, she will give birth.

IN HIS OLD AGE means that his [Yitzchak’s] facial features were like his.

21:6 Sarah said, “G-d has made laughter for me; whoever hears will laugh for me.”

Rashi on 21:6 WILL LAUGH FOR ME. Hebrew: yitzchak will rejoice for me (Targum Onkelos). And the Midrashic interpretation (Bereishit Rabbah 53:8) is: Many barren women were remembered with her; many sick people were healed on that very day; many prayers were answered with hers, and there was much joy in the world.

21:7 And she said, “Who is the One Who said to Avraham, ‘Sarah would nurse children’? For I have borne a son in his old age!”

Rashi on 21:7 WHO IS THE ONE WHO SAID TO AVRAHAM. An expression of praise and esteem, as in (Yeshayahu 41:4): “Who has wrought and done?”; (ibid. 40:26): “Who has created these?” See what He is and Who He is (and how great He is), He Who keeps His promise! The Holy One, blessed be He, promises and does.

SAID. Hebrew: milel. Scripture uses an unusual word and does not say diber because its numerical value [of milel] is 100, i.e., at the end of one hundred [years] of Avraham.

SARAH WOULD NURSE CHILDREN. Why is “children” in the plural? On the day of the feast, the princesses brought their children with them, and she nursed them, for they were saying, “Sarah did not give birth, but brought in a foundling from the street.”

21:8 The child grew and was weaned; and Avraham made a great feast on the day Yitzchak was weaned.

Rashi on 21:8 AND WAS WEANED. At the end of twenty-four months.

A GREAT FEAST for all the prominent people of the generation were there: Shem, ‘Ever, and Avimelech.

21:9 Sarah saw the son of Hagar, the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Avraham, mocking.

Rashi on 21:9 MOCKING. Hebrew: metzachek. An expression of idolatry, as it is said (Shemot 32:6): “and they rose up to make merry” (letzachek). Another explanation: An expression of illicit sexual relations, as it is said (below 39:17): “to mock (letzachek.” Another explanation: An expression of murder, as it is said (2Shmuel 2:14): “Let the boys get up now and sport (visachaku before us, etc.”

21:10 So she said to Avraham, “Drive out this slavewoman and her son, for the son of that slavewoman shall not inherit with my son, with Yitzchak!”

Rashi on 21:10 WITH MY SON. From Sarah’s reply, “For the son of this handmaid shall not inherit with my son,” you learn that he would quarrel with Yitzchak regarding the inheritance and say, ”I am the firstborn and should take two portions,” and they would go out to the field, and he would take his bow and shoot arrows at him, as it is said (Mishlei 26:18f.): “Like one who wearies himself shooting firebrands, etc. and says: Am I not joking?”

WITH MY SON, WITH YITZCHAK. Just because he is my son, even if he were not as deserving as Yitzchak, or [if he were] as deserving as Yitzchak, even if he were not my son, this one [Yishmael] does not deserve to inherit with him. How much more so [does he not deserve to inherit] with my son, with Yitzchak, who has both qualities!.

21:11 The matter greatly distressed Avraham regarding his son.

Rashi on 21:11 REGARDING HIS SON. Because he heard that he had fallen to wicked ways. According to its simple meaning, however, [it means] because she told him to send him away.

21:12 So G-d said to Avraham, “Be not distressed over the youth or yoru slavewoman: Whatever Sarah tells you, heed her voice, since through Yitzchak will offspring be considered yours.

Rashi on 21:12 HEED HER VOICE - (to the voice of the holy spirit within her.) We learn from here that Avraham was inferior to Sarah in prophecy.

21:14 So Avraham arose early in the morning, took bread and a skin of water, and gave them to Hagar; he placed them on her shoulder and the boy, and sent her off. And she went, and strayed in the desert of Beer-sheva.

Rashi on 21:14 BREAD AND A SKIN OF WATER. But not silver and gold, because he hated him for falling to evil ways.

AND THE BOY. He also placed the child on her shoulder, because Sarah had cast an evil eye upon him, and he was seized by a fever so that he could not walk on his feet.

and she went, and strayed. She reverted to the idols of her father’s house.

21:15 The water of the skin was finished, and she cast off the boy beneath one of the trees.

Rashi on 21:15 THE WATER OF THE SKIN WAS FINISHED. Because sick people habitually drink great amounts.

21:16 She went and sat herself at a distance, some bowshots [away], for she said, “Let me not see the death of the child.” And she sat at a distance, lifted her voice, and wept.

Rashi on 21:16 AT A DISTANCE. Hebrew: mineged.

SOME BOWSHOTS [AWAY]. Hebrew: kimtachavei keshet. As far as two bowshots, and it is an expression of shooting an arrow. [It is used so] in the language of the Mishnah (Yevamot 90b, Sanhedrin 46a): “who cohabited (hetich) with his wife,” because the semen shoots like an arrow. Now if you ask: it should have been kimtachei, [I will answer you that] it is grammatically correct to insert a “vav” here, as in (Shir HaShirim 2:14): “in the clefts of (bechagvei) the rock,” from the [same] root as (Yeshayahu 19:17): “And the land of Yehudah will be to Egypt for a breach (lechaga),” and from the [same] root as (Tehillim 107:27): “They reeled (yachogu) and staggered like a drunkard.” Similarly (ibid. 65:6): “the ends of (katzvei) the earth,” being derived from katzeh (end).

AND SHE SAT AT A DISTANCE. When he drew near death, she went further away.

21:17 G-d heard the voice of the youth, and an angel of G-d called to Hagar from the heavens and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for G-d has heeded the cry of the youth as he is, there.

Rashi on 21:17 THE VOICE OF THE YOUTH. From here [we learn] that the sick person’s prayer is more effective than the prayer of others on his behalf, and is the first to be accepted.

AS HE IS, THERE. According to the deeds that he does now he is judged and not according to what he is destined to do. For the ministering angels were accusing and saying, ”O Master of the Universe, for one who is destined to kill Your children with thirst, You are bringing up a well?!” And He answered them, “What is he now, righteous or wicked?” They replied, “Righteous.” He said to them, “According to his present deeds I judge him.” And that is the meaning of “as he is, there.” Now where did he kill the Yisraelim with thirst? When Nebuchadnezzar exiled them, as it is stated (Yeshayahu 21: 13f.): “The harsh prophecy concerning Arabia, etc. Toward the thirsty bring ye water, etc.” When they led them beside the Arabs’ the Yisraelim said to their captors, “Please lead us beside the children of our uncle Yishmael, and they will have mercy on us,” as it is stated: “the caravans of the Dedanim.” Do not read Dedanim but dodim (uncles). And these [Yishmaelim] went forth toward them and brought them salted meat and fish and inflated skins. The Yisraelim thought that they were full of water, but when one would place it into one’s mouth and open it, the air would enter his body and he would die.

21:10 G-d was with the youth and he grew up; he dwelt in the desert and became a shooter, an archer.

Rashi on 21:20 G-D WAS WITH THE YOUTH… AND BECAME A SHOOTER, AN ARCHER, one who shoots arrows with a bow. Kashat. [He is so designated] because of his occupation, like kamar, donkey driver, gamal, camel driver, tzayad, hunter. Therefore, the “shin” is punctuated with a “dagesh.” He would dwell in the desert and waylay the passers-by. That is what is meant by (above 16:12): “his hand will be upon all,etc.”

21:21 He dwelt in the desert of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

Rashi on 21:21 FROM THE LAND OF EGYPT from the place where she grew up, as it is stated (v16:1): “and she had an Egyptian handmaid, etc.” That is what people say, “Throw a stick into the air, and it will land on its place of origin (the ground).”

21:22 At that time, Avimelech and Fikol, general of his legion, said to Avraham, “G-d is with you in all that you do.

Rashi on 21:22 G-D IS WITH YOU. Because they saw that he had come out of the region of Sedom unscathed, and that he had fought with the kings and they fell into his hand, and that his wife was remembered [with a child] in his old age.

21:23 Now swear to me here by G-d that you will not deal falsely with me or with my child or with my grandchild; according to the kindness that I have done with you, do with me, and with the land in which you have sojourned.”

Rashi on 21:23 OR WITH MY CHILD OR WITH MY GRANDCHILD. Thus far is a father’s compassion for his son.

ACCORDING TO THE KINDNESS THAT I HAVE DONE WITH YOU, DO WITH ME when I said to you (v20:15): “Here is my land before you.”

21:25 Then Avraham disputed with Avimelech regarding the well of water that Avimelech’s servants had seized.

Rashi on 21:25 THEN AVRAHAM DISPUTED WITH AVIMELECH. He disputed with him concerning this.

21:30 And he said, “Because you are to take these seven ewes from me, that it may serve me as witness that I have dug this well.”

Rashi on 21:30 THAT IT MAY SERVE ME. [In order that] this [be for me].

AS WITNESS. Hebrew: leedah, an expression of testimony in the feminine form, like (v31:52): “and the monument is a witness (veedah).”

THAT I HAVE DUG THIS WELL. Avimelech’s shepherds were contending about it and saying, ”We dug it.” They agreed among themselves that whoever would appear beside the well and the water would rise toward him-it [the well] was his. And they [the waters] rose toward Avraham.

21:33 He planted an ‘eshel’ in Beer-sheva, and there he proclaimed the Name of Hashem, G-d of the universe.

Rashi on 21:33 AN ESHEL. [There is a dispute between] Rav and Shmuel. One says that it was an orchard from which to bring fruits for the guests at the meal, and one says that it was an inn for lodging, in which there were all sorts of fruits. We find the expression of planting (netiah) used in conjunction with tents, as it is written (Daniel 11:45): “And he will pitch (veyita) his palatial tents.”

AND THERE HE PROCLAIMED. By means of that “eshel”' the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, was called “G-d of the whole world.” After they would eat and drink, he would say to them, “Bless the One of Whose [food] you have eaten. Do you think that you have eaten of my [food]? [You have eaten of the food] of the One Who spoke and the world came into being!”

21:34 And Avraham sojourned in the land of the Pelishtim many days.

Rashi on 21:34 MANY DAYS more than those in Chevron. In Chevron he spent twenty-five years, and here twenty-six. For he was seventy-five years old when he left Charan. That year, (v13:18): “and he came, and he dwelt in the plain of Mamre [in Chevron].” For we do not find prior to this that he settled anywhere but there, for everywhere, he was a wayfarer, camping and continually traveling, as it is stated (ibid.12:6): “And Avram passed”; (ibid. v8): “And he moved from there”; (ibid. v10): “And there was a famine in the land, and Avram descended to Egypt.” In Egypt he spent only three months, because Pharaoh sent him away. Immediately, (ibid. 13:3): “And he went on his journeys” until (ibid. v18): “and he came, and he dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Chevron.” There he dwelt until Sedom was overturned. Immediately, (ibid. 20:1): “Avraham traveled from there,” because of the disgrace caused by Lot, and he came to the land of the Pelishtim. He was ninety-nine years old, for on the third day of his circumcision, the angels came to him. This totals twenty-five years [from the year he left his father’s house and settled in Chevron until he came to the land of the Pelishtim]. It is written here [that he lived in the land of the Pelishtim] “many days” [meaning] more than the preceding [days in Chevron]. Scripture does not come to obscure but to clarify, for if they [the days in the land of the Pelishtim] exceeded [the days in Chevron] by two years or more, it would have stated so plainly. You must conclude that they did not exceed them by more than one year, hence twenty-six years [in the land of the Pelishtim]. He immediately left there and returned to Chevron, and that year preceded the binding of Yitzchak by twelve years. So it is explained in Seder Olam (chapter 1).

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