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Friday, October 26

The Weekly Shtikle - Lech Lecha

In the beginning of the parsha we are taught of Avram and Sarai's sojourn to Egypt due to the famine in Cana'an. It is evident that Lot accompanied the two to Egypt. However, there is no mention of Lot whatsoever in the entire episode until after they leave. What seems puzzling is that even if the Egyptians believed that Avram and Sarai were brother and sister, why did they not suspect Lot of being Sarai's husband? Furthermore, Rashi infers from the singular form of the verb "kevo" (12:14) that Sarai was hidden in a box and only Avram was visible. Should the pasuk not have used plural tense anyway because of Lot? Why does his presence seem to be ignored.
The first question may be answered by Sifsei Chachamim in pasuk 13. There, they ask how it was possible that Avram entrapped the Egyptians and lead them to commit the grievous crime of Eishes Ish. They answer from Chizkuni that they told the Egyptians that Sarai was in fact married but that her husband was overseas. This way they made it known that she was married. And with this we can also understand why they did not suspect Lot of being Sarai's wife either.
To answer the second question, we again turn to Sifsei Chachamim. They ask why Rashi inferred from the word "kevo" rather than the word "vayeireid" in pasuk 10 which is also in singular. They answer that in that pasuk, before Sarai's beauty is addressed, Avram is the only significant figure and the pasuk need only refer to him. However, in pasuk 14, Sarai has already become an integral part of this journey and we would have expected her to pluralize the word "kevo." In that case, since Lot was never an integral part of the journey but rather more of a tag-along, we would not expect him to turn the verb into a plural.
On a related note, the Torah mentions Lot's accompanying Avram twice. First, we are told (12:4) "Avram went as he was instructed by HaShem and Lot went with him." The very next pasuk states "Avram took his wife, Sarai and his nephew, Lot." I have seen a number of commentaries attempt to reconcile the apparent repetition. However, I have not been able to come up with and explanation for the clear discrepency between the two. First, it says that Lot went with Avram. This seems to indicate Lot coming along of his own accord. However, the second pasuk uses the vayikach. This verb is many times interpreted as a "taking with words," involving a certain degree of convincing (which is supported by Onkelos' rendering "vedabar.") Why does it seem at first that Lot came on his own but then it is implied that he needed to be convinced?

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

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