A Place Called Be’er Lachai Roiee
Shoin, here we are at Parshas Chaya Soro; it’s only the 5th parsha in Sefer Bereishis and the world is already over two thousand years old. Many topics have been covered by the heylige Toirah ober avada you all chap or should that the heylige Toirah is not a history book. Therefore many historical events did not make their way into the script. What made it in and what didn’t? Whatever the RBSO decided. Shoin and fartig! And since many things were mistama left out, we get a chance to ask questions and proffer answers, some of which may taka have been historically emes.
Parshas Chaya Soro and its 105 pisukim are broken down as follows. Only 20 are dedicated to the passing and burial of Soro, the great majority, 67 Pisukim, are about the entire shidduch process and finding a suitable wife for Yitzchok, and the rest, 18, are about Avrohom’s life and new mishpocho post Soro’s passing and burial. His new life seems to have included a new wife, at least several concubines, and a bunch of children. Very impressive for a man of 140. Ober this week we will be focusing on a seemingly magical place called Be’er Lachai Roiee. So happens that for the last few years the Oisvorfer (when in town, if you chap) would regularly attend a shabbis morning chumish shiur with Rabbi Hain. His shiur does not focus on medroshim or even pshat, although he will throw a few out in passing. In recent years, he has instead been focusing this shiur on words and phrases. He will zero in on a few words or thoughts in the parsha and then find where similar words or phrases appear elsewhere in the heylige Toirah and then try to connect the dots. He always does. And in this, our sixth time around the parsha, we will take a page from his style and talk about Be’er Lachai Roiee. What the hec is a Be’er Lachai Roiee and what should one do if one encounters one of these? Nu, soon we’ll address that ober ershtens….
This first part of this week’s review was inspired by a specific event that took place just this past shabbis. One relatively recent Oisvorfer chosid advised that he read 5 Vayero reviews (2011-2015) -cover to cover and without interruption- and then commented that Vayero 2014 was his favorite. Nu after hearing the comment the Oisvorfer went back to see what pearls were mined for 2014 and found azoy: Vayero 2014 was not about the unusual way that Avrohom made Eliezer swear. And for those that don’t recall, back in the day, before the ability to swear on a bible or stack of them, the person swearing needed to chap or maybe hold onto the mila (penis) of the person he was swearing to. Grada the tighter he held, the more the other fellow screamed and shoin, soon enough, both were swearing. We previously touched upon that topic (more than once) and reminded everyone how the rebbe used to make his swear by holding his shtekin, if you chap. Nor was 2014 about the yearly debate as to how old Rivka was or might have been at the time of her ‘shadchan arranged marriage’ to Yitzchok. Many say she was as young as 3, ver veyst. That topic was also covered well; grada it gave birth to entire matchmaking gisheft. Why it took J-date, Frumster, Saw you at Sinai and so many others, a few thousand years to chap this Toirah inspired way of arranging marriages, ver veyst.
Instead, its focus was on Yishmoel and whether or not he was a good guy or bad guy. So happens that even those who suggest he was shelect mamish, and accuse him of heinous crimes including rape, murder, and much more, also agree that in the end he did tshuva (repented) and died the death of a righteous person. In describing his passing the heylige Toirah will use a term or maybe even two that are reserved for the death of good guys only, those the RBSO loves. And if he was taka not so bad and died a good guy, mistama he had a decent upbringing, after all his father was Avrohom Ovenu. Ober what about his mother Hogor who nebech had not such an easy life? Does she not deserve some decent credit for having raised him?
Indeed she does and in a previous edition of the Oisvorfer, we also took a good look at her – as did Avrohom, maybe more than once. And if Avrohom may have gone back to Hogor, so will we this week ober with a few questions and a few new ideas that will mamish give you more ha-no-oh (pleasure) than you might get at home this coming shabbis, if you don’t chap. Though Hogor gets considerable Toirah play and numerous shout-outs, and taka everyone like a shout-out, we need to take another look at this very special woman and her relationship not just with Soro and Avrohom but also with her stepson Yitzchok and a place called Be’er Lachai Roiee. Shoin what and where is this place?
Ober before we get into the maybe on-again, off-again romance and maybe marriages of Avrohom and Hogor, we need to chap that Yitzchok and Hogor also shared a relationship. They did? How close? Not what many of you are imagining, chazerim that you are; chas v’sholom. It wasn’t physical, ober as you will soon read, a special relationship it was and Be’er Lachai Roiee was involved.
Ober before we discuss that, one reader was very bothered by the fact that Ovrohom Ovenu somehow got himself entangled with a shiksa like Hogor. He was wondering how it was shayich (remotely possible) for one of our forefathers to have married a shiksa. He was even more bothered that not just was she a shiksa, she was also a ‘shifca’ (maidservant or salve) and to top it off, she was according to many, a mitzri, an Egyptian. Avada we know that Yiddin aren’t allowed to marry Egyptians. Moreover, avada you recall your rebbe teaching you that Avrohom Ovenu kept the entire Toirah kula. Efsher you’re wondering how this was possible? How could he keep something that wasn’t yet given? That’s a bazundira kasha (a question onto itself) ober we don’t ask questions about our forefathers. That’s what the rebbes taught us and beat into our heads with their shtekins. Shoin, let’s assume that he did, that he taka kept the entire Toirah, why should that bother you? Ober, oib azoy (that being the case), what’s taka pshat here? How was it that the RBSO selected Avrohom for greatness, much wealth, a beautiful wife, a few pilagshim (concubines) despite these facts? On the other hand, as we make our way through the heylige Toirah, you may have asked similar questions about Loit’s daughters and will likely be asking questions about Yaakov’s four wives, Yehudah’s unusual roadside encounter, Moishe’s Kushite wife or wives and a few more. Shoin, who are we to question the RBSO? Thankfully the RBSO has not been asking you too many questions though He will from time to time give you a patch to remind you. Veyter.
Shoin, these are taka not such stupid questions ober guess what? You are not the first to have been bothered by his marriage to a hot shiksa mitzri maidservant/semi-slave. It’s taka emes that Hogor was a maidservant, an Egyptian mamish and a shiksa, ober soon you will find out that our Sages and those who wrote myriad medroshim on these topics, chapped that a person like yourself, a person that’s only thinking what it’s like to enjoy a second helping from time to time in your own house with a shiksa Egyptian maidservant, will taka get stuck on these questions and begin to question the integrity and righteousness of our forefather Avrohom. Therefore they taka discussed these questions and developed answers. Are their answers mamish the way it went down, ver veyst? Let’s learn them and then you can decide if you like them or not. The bottom line: The RBSO accepted them and Avrohom, while you remain an oisvorf. Let’s go veyter. And, after we answer that question, we will go back and also chap how critical a role Hogor played in the lives of Avrohom and Yitzchok. And avada we will uncover the magic of Be’er Lachai Roiee. Nu, lommer lernin.
Shoin says the Marshoh azoy: when Soro concocted the idea for her husband to take Hogor as his wife/sex partner, she emancipated her and gave her her freedom. If that taka happened, that would taka solve one of the issues. Ober….we can easily shlog-up (contradict) that Marshoh with a posik from the Toirah mamish. Later on, when Soro demands that Avrohom get rid of Hogor, Avrohom will answer (Bereishis 16:5) and say azoy “here is your maidservant, do with her as you please.” Seemingly, she was not emancipated and zicher not free. It would appear that she remained the same shifcha she was when she entered the new arrangement. She was but his sex partner and the housekeeper, a model not unknown or unheard of bazman hazeh, if you chap. Moreover, Rashi will tell us that Soro, efsher out of jealousy and not very pleased with the way Avrohom and Hogor bonded and that she, Hogor, was now also efsher pregnant with his child, worked Soro even harder. Some say she tortured and abused her, ver veyst. On the other hand, when a woman gets jealous or pissed off, especially about another woman gunning for their man watch out! They do mishugina zachin. Grada the Oisvorfer has heard a few such stories, some earlier this week mamish. In any event, free she seemingly wasn’t. And….free or not, a Mitzri (an Egyptian) she was zicher. Gotcha! Shoin ober the Marshoh has a better answer and says he azoy: It’s taka emes that Avrohom kept the entire Toirah kula but not yet. Not when this story unfolded. When did he keep the entire Toirah? Only when he became a Yid mamish. And when did that happen? Much later when at the age of 99- he underwent circumcision. He lost a piece of his member, if you chap, but gained membership – the first- in a new religion and faith. Givaldig and who can argue? Shoin, case settled. Whatever Avrohom did with his bris, if you chap, before the real bris, does not count. Case closed?
Moreover, If the RBSO ever did instruct Avrohom not to marry a shiksa or a Mitzri, this prohibition didn’t come until at least 13 years after his marriage to Hogor. And if He did give such instructions, we might even suggest that Avrohom taka left her – or- that he had a role in sending her off with her infant son Yishmoel. And only taka after Soro passed, did he, at the end of our parsha go back and efsher remarry her. Indeed she was still efsher a Mitzri (Egyptian) ober the prohibition against marrying a Mitzri came about only after the Yiddin were enslaved to the Egyptians for over 200 years. Shoin, Avrohom has been cleared.
Shoin, let’s talk about the main event and a place called Be’er Lachai Roiee. Nu, if you recall anything about the parsha, you will remember that when Eliezer was escorting Rivka back from her father’s house (by camel) to meet her new husband to be, Yitzchok, it so happened that he, Yitzchok, was coming from a place called Be’er Lachai Roiee (Bereishis 24:62). So? What’s the big deal about this place and why is the place Toirah mention worthy? Before we answer that, let’s think back….where have we seen this place before? Have we? Indeed we have and let’s taka roll back -as we did the clock this past weekend- to Lech Lecho (16:13-14) and to the myseh where Hogor ran away from what she considered an abusive boss by the name of Soro. And there we will read her more than amazing story, one that doesn’t get enough play. There by a spring of water, she had not one and not two and not even three but four different encounters with a malach that the RBSO sent down to talk to her. And says Rashi azoy: each encounter was with a different malach. Hogor did not respond to the unnamed angel #1, nor to the others. Ober the RBSO seemingly deemed her worthy and didn’t give up on her. He sent yet another malach, a fourth, and this time Hogor listened and returned to Soro knowing that she would endure additional hardships but that she would be rewarded with a son who would go on the become a nation. OMG! All this happened to the shiksa, Egyptian maidservant? Indeed it did and when it was over, when Hogor was finally convinced that the RBSO meant business, she named this place Be’er Lachai Roiee. Is this myseh gishmak or what? It is!
Shoin, that’s taka a nice story ober what was Yitzchok doing in this place? He wasn’t even born when Hogor had these encounters; how and why did he end up in Lachai Roiee? Not to worry because here comes Rashi and others with the answer. In our parsha, Yitzchok is on his way back from there because he went to bring Hogor back so that his father Avrohom, newly widowed, can marry or-remarry her. Shoin, Yitzchok did not want his father to be lonely and knew that Avrohom and Hogor had previously bonded and was there to reunite them.
Some say he went there to daven for a shidduch -good things happen near wells and well water to Toirah personalities- hoping that Eliezer did not come back with an ugly 8 year old. Maybe 3 was his limit, ver veyst. Ober why daven there? Because he seemingly knew that this was the place, the very special place where Hogor was saved and where malochim appeared. Seemingly both Avrohom and Yitzchok chapped that if the RBSO sent four different malochim to Hogor, that she must have been epes a special person, and that the place – Be’er Lachai Roiee too must have some, if not a lot, of holiness attached to it. Therefore, Yitzchok made his way back there. Mamish also gishmak.
Ober, towards the end of the parsha mamish, Be’er Lachai Roiee gets yet another shout out, its third. Says the heylige Toirah (Bereishis 25:11) azoy: “And Yitzchok lived with “Be’er Lachai Roiee.” What’s pshat, he lived with this place and not in this place? Shoin to chap this, let’s recall a posik from Bereishis (21:33), which tells us that Avrohom, had built an ‘eishel’. What’s an eishel you ask? Shoin, Rashi will quote a machloikes (disagreement), what else is new, between Rav and Shmuel. As an aside, these two good fellows argued about everything and agreed on nothing. In any event, Rashi will tell us that an eishel is a hotel/motel/inn of some sort and that Avrohom built this place in order to do his kiruv (outreach) work. After taking good care of his guests, he would ask them where all the food they enjoyed came from and slowly convert them to the ways of the RBSO. Kiruv mamish. Food, especially free or heavily discounted, always works when it comes to kiruv. So does a weekend with a few singles. And where was this place located? In Be’er Sheva. And says the Targum that Be’er Sheva is also Be’er Lachai. Shoin, issue solved. Avrohom built his kiruv hotel in Be’er Sheva aka Be’er Lachai Roiee. Why there? Because he chapped that Hogor had a transformative experience there when she met as many as four different malochim (angles) and figured it was a holy place. Maybe Hogor lived there after being kicked out of the Avrohom Ovenu household. This taka makes good sense because a hotel/inn is where many move into after being kicked out by the wife, if you chap, and shoin. Following Soro’s passing, Yitzchok either moved in with Hogor to run the business, or, he just traveled there to get Hogor and bring her back to Avrohom all the way to Chevroin for the chasunah (wedding). Maybe they both got married. Is this gishmak or not. And pshat is that since Yitzchok continued the kiruv work at the hotel, it’s like he lived ‘with Be’er Lachia Roiee’ not just in it. Wow!
And the bottom line? If in fact all these events went down as advertised, if Hogor taka met four different malochim, or even one sent by the RBSO, the place was special and holy. Accordingly, she named it Be’er Lachai Roiee which literally translated means ‘The Well of The Living One Appearing to Me’. If all those things happened and why not -all you need to do is believe- efsher we can kler that the RBSO showed extreme patience in dealing with Hogor. She did rebuff the malochim three times before she agreed to return to Soro’s house. And if He taka showed such patience with a shiksa, Egyptian maidservant and efsher slave, imagine how much patience He has shown and might continue to show you, not that you deserve it. Thankfully, the RBSO, at times has boundless patience and awaits your return from the myriad hotels/motels and inns you may have visited, even for a short stint, if you chap.
A gittin Shabbis-
The Oisvorfer Ruv