Category Archives: Vayeira

Parshat Vayeira

In this week’s Parsha God appears to Avraham as he sits at the entrance to his tent (Bereishit 18:1). Before Avraham gets a chance to react, he see three men (angels, actually) at the tent, who he welcomes with extraordinary hospitality.

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So what happened to his interaction with God?

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks offers a truly incredible insight here  by suggesting that in Pasuk 3, Avraham is not actually addressing the guests when he says, “My lords, if only I have found favor in your eyes, please do not pass on from beside your servant,” but he’s talking to God.

Wait a minute. Avraham is asking God to wait while he serves human beings?

Rabbi Sacks’s explanation is unbelievably profound. He explains that in Avraham’s time, people worshiped the sun, the stars and the forces of nature — God’s creations. Avraham, by contrast, understood that God is beyond nature.

The Torah tells us that out of all of God’s creations, only one was set in His image: the human being.

Rabbi Sacks explains that, “the forces of nature are impersonal, which is why those who worship them eventually lose their humanity. You cannot worship impersonal forces and remain a person: compassionate, humane, generous, forgiving.”

He further explains that “because we believe that G‑d is personal, someone to whom we can say “You,” we honor human dignity as sacrosanct.”

Avraham recognized the Divine in the faces of the strangers. Welcoming them was an affirmation of God Himself. Avraham was honouring God through honouring His image – humanity.

This week’s recipe is inspired by the three strangers that came to Avraham to deliver the news of Sarah’s impending pregnancy. They were messengers from God – angels.

Grilled garlic chicken on angel hair pasta.

Bereishit 18:2 2. And he lifted his eyes and saw, and behold, three men were standing beside him, and he saw and he ran toward them from the entrance of the tent, and he prostrated himself to the ground.

Bereishit 18:2 And he lifted his eyes and saw, and behold, three men were standing beside him, and he saw and he ran toward them from the entrance of the tent, and he prostrated himself to the ground.

Grilled Garlic Chicken on Angel Hair Pasta

This recipe is ridiculously easy, but oh so delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breasts cut into strips 1 1/2″ wide
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons teriyaki or garlic sauce
  • 1  lb angel hair pasta

Directions:

  1. Cut up chicken breasts and marinade in garlic sauce for an hour.
  2. Bake chicken for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F in marinade.
  3. Remove chicken from oven (reserve sauce) and place on grill (if you don’t have a bar-b-q, you can broil it) for five minutes.
  4. Pour the sauce on top of the cooked pasta, adding another 2 tablespoons of garlic sauce. Place chicken on top of the pasta.

Enjoy!

B’tayavon and have a great Shabbos.

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Parshat Vayeira

The famous story of Lot, Avraham’s nephew takes place in this week’s Parsha. Threatened by the evil people of Sodom, Lot tries to appease them, but it only serves to stoke their anger. This incident takes place right after Avraham welcomes the three angels to his tent and offers a stark contrast between Avraham’s hospitality and generosity to the Sodomites barbaric cruelty.

Rav Kook has a beautiful vort on the salt of Sodom. He points out the Talmud’s connecting of Sodom and the ritual to wash one’s hands at meals. Washing hands before eating is a is a D’Rabanan mitzvah “similar to partial immersion in a mikveh (ritual bath).”

Mayim Achronim (washing before bentching) however in Talmud Chulin is for the purpose of removing the salt of Sodom that can blind the eyes. Rav Kook explains that the people of Sodom had a single-minded obsession with their physical self-gratification, to the point that there was no energy left over for kindness.

There is a certain danger in any meal we eat, in the sense that the physical pleasure we attain increases the “value we assign to such activities, and decreases the importance of spiritual activities.” Washing before eating is a reminder of the Kohanim eating from the Trumah and elevates the act of eating and it imbues it with holiness. To negate the physicality of eating we ritually cleanse after the meal to wash away the salt of Sodom,

…the residue of selfish preoccupation in sensual pleasures. This dangerous salt, which can blind our eyes to the needs of others, is rendered harmless through the purifying ritual of mayim acharonim.

This week’s recipes are salt-oriented.

First is Delish Fish.

(Bereishit 19:26) And his wife looked from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

This fish is sooooo good. It’s adapted from a recipe from Food.com.

Salt and Vinegar Potato Chip Fish

  • 1 lb sole filets
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • mayonnaise
  • coarsely crushed salt and vinegar potato chips

Directions:

  • Arrange fish on pan. (Either line with parchment paper or spray with Pam.)
  • Spread thin layer of mayonnaise on top of each filet.
  • Cover with crushed chips, pushed into mayo.
  • Bake at 400 degrees until fish flakes with a fork.

Recipe #2: Sweet baked potatoes with basil salt.

Sweet Potatoes with Basil Salt

  • 3 sweet potatoes, cut into fry shapes
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves (fresh)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  • Toss the sweet potatoes with oil and place on foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake approximately 45 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • After baking potatoes, remove from oven and toss with basil, salt and pepper.

B’tayavon and have a great Shabbos.

 

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