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Vayeira: Guarding the Entrance

וירא אליו ה' באלני ממרא והוא ישב פתח האוהל כחם היום.

“And Hashem appeared to him in the plains of Mamrei; and he was sitting at the entrance of the tent in the heat of the day.” (Bereishis 18:1)

Why is it important to mention in whose plain Avrohom had settled at that time and that he was sitting at the entrance of his tent?

This verse carries an important message that can be understood from these seemingly minor details.

Hashem created the entire word, the heavens and the earth, and sealed it with His holy Name. Why did Hashem create such a contrasting world? The heavens are holy domains that are purely spiritual, while the earth is physical and unspiritual. What was the purpose of creating such severely opposing entities?

Our sages answer this question by saying that Hashem created the world “on behalf of Yisroel who is called ‘the first one’ and on behalf of the Torah that is called ‘the first one.’” When the Jewish people learn and keep the Torah, they purify the earth and elevate it to the level of heaven. This brings both worlds together and the entire universe becomes united with the same purpose. This is indeed what will happen at the End of Days, as it says (Yeshaya 11:9): “For the earth will be full of knowledge about Hashem as the water that covers the sea.” We have the ability to transform earth into heaven!

This was Avrohom’s goal in life. He went around spreading knowledge about Hashem and teaching people the truth of our existence. He wanted people to know and believe that Hashem doesn’t just rest in heaven, but He is also the G-d of the earth. We, the children of Avrohom, continue this mission throughout the generations. It is our privilege and duty to continue Avrohom’s legacy by spreading awareness about Hashem.

Unfortunately, due to our long and bitter exile, many Jews have strayed from the path of Avrohom Avinu. However, it says that before Moshiach will come, all lost Jewish souls will return. “The happenings of our ancestors are a sign for their children.” Everything that happened to Avrohom was an indication of what awaited his descendants in future generations. By carefully reading the Torah’s account of that day, we can see many references to ourselves and our present situation.

Avrohom sat at the entrance to his tent on that day, and Rashi clarifies that he did so in order “to see if there was any passerby who would turn around so he could bring him into his tent.” Avrohom was showing future generations that even someone who “passed by” and transgressed can still “turn around” and be brought back to the “tent of Hashem.”

Each and every person should consider his deeds and make a personal reckoning. If he finds that he sinned, he shall not lose hope, but he should remember that there is always an opportunity for tshuva. Hashem appeared to Avrohom in the plains of Mamrei. The word Mamrei is of the root word “mamrim – rebels” (see Devarim 9:7). A person who rebelled against the word of Hashem should never listen to the yetzer hara when he tries to convince him that he is beyond repentance, G-d forbid. One of the yetzer hara’s favorite tactics is to tell the person that if he has already sinned, he has been distanced from Hashem and will never be able to fully return. Nothing can be further from the truth! Hashem showed himself to Avrohom in the plains of Mameri – He showed Avrohom’s children that He will always accept them if they do tshuva even if they severely rebelled. Even those who have transgressed many times can still return, because the soul always remains essentially pure. The soul is a spark of Hashem; if it becomes soiled, it needs a thorough cleansing and then it becomes as good as new!

There is more to learn from the details of the verse. Avrohom sat in front of the opening to his tent to symbolize how important it is to guard every entrance to our hearts and minds. There are many openings in a person, such as the mouth, the eyes, and many other organs. Our mouths must be carefully guarded to remain pure. We must make sure to think before we speak and never open our mouths to say the wrong things. We should increase words of Torah so that our mouths should connect our hearts with our minds. When we daven, we should make sure to concentrate on what we say so that our mouths become conduits of blessing. The first letters of the words pesach haohel (entrance to the tent) spell the word “peh – mouth”. Just as Avrohom sat at the entrance of his tent we must all guard the entrance of our mouths to make sure that it is used properly.

The same applies to guarding the eyes. We must be extremely carefully to see only proper sights. The Yetev Lev writes: “The Torah tells us that Avrohom ‘raised his eyes’ and saw the three people approaching. Why does the Torah specify that he raised his eyes? This teaches us that Avrohom never lifted his eyes needlessly. He only looked where he had to, always for a reason and with a purpose.”

In the same way, we must be careful with all of our organs and use them to elevate ourselves and bring others closer to Hashem. In this merit, all of us will be helped with whatever we need. Those in need of a refuah or yeshuah will merit the fulfillment of their prayers. May we all merit greeting Moshiach together, speedily in our days, Amein.

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