Avraham Avinu and His Three Guests

Question:

Hashem came to visit Avraham Avinu on the third day of his circumcision and when Avraham saw the three guests coming, he left Hashem to welcome the guests. How did he that he was permitted to do that?


Answer:

1. According to those who understand that Hashem appeared to Avraham Avinu in a prophetic vision or dream (Rambam Moreh HaN'vukhim 2:43, Rashbam) it seems to me that your question does not begin.


2. Even according to those who reject this notion (Ramban, for example), I am not convinced that your question is a valid one. We do not know exactly how Avraham perceived Hashem and what he experienced, and cannot therefore speculate on such things. Or rather, we can speculate, but that's all it is, speculation.


3. I am reminded of the Agadha in TB B'rakhot about a certain Chassid who slept in the graveyard on the night of Rosh HaShana and heard two spirits conversing, etc. etc. See 'En Ya'aqov and Maharsha ad loc. – they were both perturbed by the thought of a Chassid sleeping in a place of tumah on Rosh HaShana of all nights. They suggest in the name of Rittba that it was all a dream that he experienced that night. See too HaRav Ya'abess ad loc. (brilliant as usual). It seems to me that such questions need not be asked. As Rambam writes in Moreh HaN'vukhim, the purpose of Agadha is to convey a profound insight and cannot be taken literally; asking technical qushyoth on divre Agadha based on a literal reading is to miss the point.


Monday, 01 November 2010

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