Chapter 18

1Now the Lord appeared to him in the plains of Mamre, and he was sitting at the entrance of the tent when the day was hot.   אוַיֵּרָ֤א אֵלָיו֙ יְהֹוָ֔ה בְּאֵֽלֹנֵ֖י מַמְרֵ֑א וְה֛וּא ישֵׁ֥ב פֶּֽתַח־הָאֹ֖הֶל כְּחֹ֥ם הַיּֽוֹם:
And [the Lord] appeared to him: to visit the sick (Tan. Buber, Vayera 1). Said Rabbi Chama the son of Chanina: It was the third day from his circumcision, and the Holy One, blessed be He, came and inquired about his welfare (B. M. 86b).   וַיֵּרָא אֵלָיו: לְבַקֵּר אֶת הַחוֹלֶה. אָמַר רַבִּי חָמָא בַּר חֲנִינָא, יוֹם שְׁלִישִׁי לְמִילָתוֹ הָיָה, וּבָא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וְשָׁאַל בִּשְׁלוֹמוֹ (בבא מציעא פ"ו):
in the plains of Mamre: He [Mamre] was the one who counseled him about circumcision. Therefore, He appeared to him [Abraham] in his [Mamre’s] territory. — [from Tan. Vayera 3]   באלוני מַמְרֵא: הוּא שֶׁנָּתַן לוֹ עֵצָה עַל הַמִּילָה, לְפִיכָךְ נִגְלָה עָלָיו בְּחֶלְקוֹ (בראשית רבה):
was sitting: It is written יֹשַׁב [without a “vav,” and may therefore be read: “he sat”]. He wished to stand. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, “Sit and I will stand, and you will be a sign for your children that I am destined to stand in the congregation of the judges, and they will sit,” as it is said (Ps. 82: 1): “God stands in the Divine assembly.” - [from Gen. Rabbah 48:7]   יושב: ישב כְּתִיב, בִּקֵּשׁ לַעֲמֹד, אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֵׁב וַאֲנִי אֶעֱמֹד, וְאַתָּה סִימָן לְבָנֶיךָ שֶׁעָתִיד אֲנִי לְהִתְיַצֵּב בַּעֲדַת הַדַּיָּנִים וְהֵן יוֹשְׁבִין, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אֱלֹהִים נִצָּב בַּעֲדַת אֵל (תהילים פ"ב) (בראשית רבה):
at the entrance of the tent: to see whether there were any passersby whom he would bring into his house. — [from B. M. 86b]   פֶּֽתַח־הָאֹהֶל: לִרְאוֹת אִם יֵשׁ עוֹבֵר וָשָׁב וְיַכְנִיסֵם בְּבֵיתוֹ:
when the day was hot: (B.M. 86b) The Holy One, blessed be He, took the sun out of its sheath so as not to trouble him with wayfarers, but since He saw that he was troubled that no wayfarers were coming, He brought the angels to him in the likeness of men. — [from Gen. Rabbah 48:9, Exod. Rabbah 25:2]   כחום הַיּֽוֹם: הוֹצִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא חַמָּה מִנַּרְתִּיקָהּ, שֶׁלֹּא לְהַטְרִיחוֹ בְּאוֹרְחִים, וּלְפִי שֶׁרָאָהוּ מִצְטַעֵר שֶׁלֹּא הָיוּ אוֹרְחִים בָּאִים, הֵבִיא הַמַּלְאָכִים עָלָיו בִּדְמוּת אֲנָשִׁים (בבא מציעא שם):
2And 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.   בוַיִּשָּׂ֤א עֵינָיו֙ וַיַּ֔רְא וְהִנֵּה֙ שְׁלשָׁ֣ה אֲנָשִׁ֔ים נִצָּבִ֖ים עָלָ֑יו וַיַּ֗רְא וַיָּ֤רָץ לִקְרָאתָם֙ מִפֶּ֣תַח הָאֹ֔הֶל וַיִּשְׁתַּ֖חוּ אָֽרְצָה:
and behold, three men: One to bring the news [of Isaac’s birth] to Sarah, and one to overturn Sodom, and one to heal Abraham, for one angel does not perform two errands (Gen. Rabbah 50:2). You should know that [this is true] because throughout the entire chapter, Scripture mentions them in the plural, e.g., (below verse 8): “and they ate” ; (ibid. verse 9): “and they said to him.” Concerning the announcement, however, it says (ibid. verse 10): “And he said: I will surely return to you.” And concerning the overturning of Sodom, it says (below 19:22): “For I will not be able to do anything”; (ibid. verse 21): “I will not overturn” (Gen. Rabbah 50:11). And Raphael, who healed Abraham, went from there to save Lot. This is what is stated: “And it came to pass when they took them outside, that he [the angel] said, ‘Flee for your life.’” You learn that only one acted as a deliverer.   וְהִנֵּה שְׁלשָׁה אֲנָשִׁים: אֶחָד לְבַשֵּׂר אֶת שָׂרָה וְאֶחָד לַהֲפֹךְ אֶת סְדוֹם וְאֶחָד לְרַפְּאוֹת אֶת אַבְרָהָם, שֶׁאֵין מַלְאָךְ אֶחָד עוֹשֶׂה שְׁתֵּי שְׁלִיחֻיּוֹת (בראשית רבה). תֵּדַע לְךָ, שֶׁכֵּן כָּל הַפָּרָשָׁה הוּא מַזְכִּירָן בִּלְשׁוֹן רַבִּים וַיֹּאכֵלוּ, וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו, וּבַבְּשׂוֹרָה נֶאֱמַר וַיֹּאמֶר שׁוֹב אָשׁוּב אֵלֶיךָ, וּבַהֲפִיכַת סְדוֹם הוּא אוֹמֵר כִּי לֹא אוּכַל לַעֲשׂוֹת דָּבָר לְבִלְתִּי הָפְכִּי, וּרְפָאֵל שֶׁרִפֵּא אֶת אַבְרָהָם הָלַךְ מִשָּׁם לְהַצִּיל אֶת לוֹט; הוּא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיְהִי כְהוֹצִיאָם אֹתָם הַחוּצָה וַיֹּאמֶר הִמָּלֵט עַל נַפְשֶׁךָ, לָמַדְתָּ שֶׁהָאֶחָד הָיָה מַצִּיל (בראשית רבה):
were standing beside him: Heb. עָלָיו, lit. over him. Before him, like (Num. 2:20): “And next to him (וְעָלָיו), the tribe of Manasseh,” but it is a euphemism in reference to the angels.   נִצָּבִים עָלָיו: לְפָנָיו, אֲבָל לָשׁוֹן נְקִיָּה הוּא כְּלַפֵּי הַמַּלְאָכִים:
and he saw: Why is וַיַרְא written twice [in this verse?] The first is to be understood according to its apparent meaning [i.e., and he saw], and the second means “understanding.” He observed that they were standing in one place, and he understood that they did not wish to burden him. And although they knew that he would come out toward them, they stood in their place out of respect for him, to show him that they did not wish to trouble him, and he went out first and ran toward them. (This is the reading in an old Rashi ms.) In Bava Metzia (ad loc.) it is written: “standing beside him,” and then it is written: “and he ran toward them!” When they saw that he was untying and tying [his bandages], they separated from him. Immediately, “he ran toward them.”   וַיַּרְא: מַהוּ וַיַּרְא וַיַּרְא שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים? הָרִאשׁוֹן כְּמַשְׁמָעוֹ וְהַשֵּׁנִי לְשׁוֹן הֲבָנָה, נִסְתַּכֵּל שֶׁהָיוּ נִצָּבִים בְּמָקוֹם אֶחָד וְהֵבִין שֶׁלֹּא הָיוּ רוֹצִים לְהַטְרִיחוֹ, וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיּוֹדְעִים הָיוּ שֶׁיֵּצֵא לִקְרָאתָם עָמְדוּ בִמְקוֹמָם לְכְבוֹדוֹ, לְהַרְאוֹתוֹ שֶׁלֹּא רָצוּ לְהַטְרִיחוֹ, וְקָדַם הוּא וְרָץ לִקְרָאתָם, בְּבָבָא מְצִיעָא, כְתִיב נִצָּבִים עָלָיו, וּכְתִיב וַיָּרָץ לִקְרָאתָם? כַּד חַזְיוּהוּ דַּהֲוָה שָׁרֵי וְאָסַר פֵּרְשׁוּ הֵימֶנּוּ, מִיָּד וַיָּרָץ לִקְרָאתָם:
3And he said, "My lords, if only I have found favor in your eyes, please do not pass on from beside your servant.   גוַיֹּאמַ֑ר אֲדֹנָ֗י אִם־נָ֨א מָצָ֤אתִי חֵן֙ בְּעֵינֶ֔יךָ אַל־נָ֥א תַֽעֲבֹ֖ר מֵעַ֥ל עַבְדֶּֽךָ:
And he said, “My lords, if only I have, etc.”: To the chief one he said this, and he called them all lords, and to the chief one he said, “Please do not pass by,” because if he would not pass by, his companions would stay with him. According to this version, it (אֲדֹנָי) is profane (Shev. 35b) (i.e., it does not refer to God). Another explanation: It (אֲדֹנָי) is holy, and he was telling the Holy One, blessed be He, to wait for him until he would run and bring in the wayfarers. And although this [“Do not pass by”] is written after “and ran toward them,” the statement [to God, “do not pass by”] preceded it. It is customary for the verses to speak in this manner, as I explained in reference to (above 6:3) “Let My spirit not quarrel forever concerning man” [the decree that God would wait 120 years before bringing the Flood] which was written after (5:32): “And Noah begot.” But it is impossible to say otherwise than that the decree preceded the birth [of Japheth] by 120 years. And the two interpretations [of אֲדֹנָי as being profane and holy in this context] are in Genesis Rabbah.   וַיֹּאמַר אֲדֹנָי אִם־נָא וגו': לַגָּדוֹל שֶׁבָּהֶם אָמַר וּקְרָאָם כֻּלָּם אֲדוֹנִים וְלַגָּדוֹל אָמַר אַל נָא תַעֲבֹר, וְכֵיוָן שֶׁלֹּא יַעֲבֹר הוּא יַעַמְדוּ חֲבֵרָיו עִמּוֹ, וּבְלָשׁוֹן זֶה הוּא חֹל (שבועות ל"ה). דָּבָר אַחֵר קֹדֶשׁ הוּא, וְהָיָה אוֹמֵר לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְהַמְתִּין לוֹ עַד שֶׁיָּרוּץ וְיַכְנִיס אֶת הָאוֹרְחִים וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁכָּתוּב אַחַר וַיָּרָץ לִקְרָאתָם, הָאֲמִירָה קֹדֶם לָכֵן הָיְתָה, וְדֶרֶךְ הַמִּקְרָאוֹת לְדַבֵּר כֵּן, כְּמוֹ שֶׁפֵּרַשְׁתִּי אֵצֶל לֹא יָדוֹן רוּחִי בָאָדָם, שֶׁנִּכְתַּב אַחַר וַיּוֹלֶד נֹחַ, וְאִי אֶפְשַׁר לוֹמַר אֶלָּא שֶׁהָיְתָה הַגְּזֵרָה קֹדֶם לַלֵּדָה כ' שָׁנָה, וּשְׁתֵּי הַלְּשׁוֹנוֹת בִּבְרֵאשִׁית רַבָּה:
4Please let a little water be taken, and bathe your feet, and recline under the tree.   דיֻקַּח־נָ֣א מְעַט־מַ֔יִם וְרַֽחֲצ֖וּ רַגְלֵיכֶ֑ם וְהִשָּֽׁעֲנ֖וּ תַּ֥חַת הָעֵֽץ:
Please let…be taken: through a messenger, and the Holy One, blessed be He, rewarded his [Abraham’s] children through a messenger, as it is said (Num. 20:11): “And Moses raised his hand, and he struck the rock.” - [from B.M. 86b]   יֻקַּח־נָא: עַל יְדֵי שָׁלִיחַ, וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שִׁלֵּם לְבָנָיו עַל יְדֵי שָׁלִיחַ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיָּרֶם מֹשֶׁה אֶת יָדוֹ וַיַּךְ אֶת הַסֶּלַע (במדבר כ'):
and bathe your feet: He thought that they were Arabs, who prostrate themselves to the dust of their feet, and he was strict not to allow any idolatry into his house. But Lot, who was not strict, mentioned lodging before washing, as it is said (below 19:2): “and lodge and bathe your feet.” - [from Gen. Rabbah 50:4]   וְרַֽחֲצוּ רַגְלֵיכֶם: כַּסָּבוּר שֶׁהֵם עַרְבִיִּים שֶׁמִּשְׁתַּחֲוִים לַאֲבַק רַגְלֵיהֶם וִהִקְפִּיד שֶׁלֹא לְהַכְנִיס עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה לְבֵיתוֹ; אֲבָל לוֹט שֶׁלֹּא הִקְפִּיד, הִקְדִּים לִינָה לִרְחִיצָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְלִינוּ וְרַחֲצוּ רַגְלֵיכֶם:
under the tree: under the tree. [Heb. עֵץ can mean either “tree” or detached “wood”; the Targum clarifies this ambiguity by translating as Aram. אִילָן, meaning specifically “tree.”] — [from Targumim]   תַּחַת הָעֵֽץ: תַּחַת הָאִילָן:
5And I will take a morsel of bread, and sustain your hearts; after[wards] you shall pass on, because you have passed by your servant." And they said, "So shall you do, as you have spoken."   הוְאֶקְחָ֨ה פַת־לֶ֜חֶם וְסַֽעֲד֤וּ לִבְּכֶם֙ אַחַ֣ר תַּֽעֲבֹ֔רוּ כִּֽי־עַל־כֵּ֥ן עֲבַרְתֶּ֖ם עַל־עַבְדְּכֶ֑ם וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ כֵּ֥ן תַּֽעֲשֶׂ֖ה כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבַּֽרְתָּ:
and sustain your hearts: In the Torah, in the Prophets, and in the Hagiographa, we find that bread is the sustenance of the heart. In the Torah — “and sustain your hearts” ; in the Prophets — (Jud. 19:5) “Sustain your heart with a morsel of bread”; in the Hagiographa — (Ps. 104:15) “and bread sustains man’s heart.” Said Rabbi Chama: לְבַבְכֶם is not written here, but לִבָּכֶם. This teaches us that the evil inclination does not rule over the angels. — [from Gen. Rabbah 48:11]   וְסַֽעֲדוּ לִבְּכֶם: בַּתּוֹרָה, בַנְּבִיאִים וּבַכְּתוּבִים מָצִינוּ דְּפִתָּא סַעֲדָתָא דְלִבָּא. בַּתּוֹרָה וְסַעֲדוּ לִבְּכֶם, בַּנְּבִיאִים סְעָד לִבְּךָ פַּת לֶחֶם (שופטים י"ט), בַּכְּתוּבִים וְלֶחֶם לְבַב אֱנוֹשׁ יִסְעָד (תהל' ק"ד). אָמַר רַבִּי חָמָא, לְבַבְכֶם אֵין כְּתִיב כָּאן אֶלָּא לִבְּכֶם, מַגִּיד שֶׁאֵין יֵצֶר הָרַע שׁוֹלֵט בַּמַּלְאָכִים (בראשית רבה):
after[wards] you shall pass on: Afterwards, you shall go.   אַחַר תעבורו: אַחַר כֵּן תֵּלְכוּ:
because you have passed by: For I request this from you [i.e., to sustain your hearts] because you have passed by me [i.e., have stopped in my home] to honor me.   כִּֽי־עַל־כֵּן עֲבַרְתֶּם: כִּי הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה אֲנִי מְבַקֵּשׁ מִכֶּם מֵאַחַר שֶׁעֲבַרְתֶּם עָלַי לִכְבוֹדִי:
because: כִּי עַל כֵּן is like עַל אֲשֶׁר, because, and so is every כִּי עַל כֵּן in Scripture, e.g., (below 19:8): “because (כִּי עַל כֵּן) they have come in the shadow of my roof”; (below 33:10): “because (כִּי עַל כֵּן) I have seen your countenance”; (below 38:26): “because (כִּי עַל כֵּן) I have not given her”; (Num. 10:31): “because (כִּי עַל כֵּן) you know our encamping.”   כִּֽי־עַל־כֵּן: כְּמוֹ עַל אֲשֶׁר, וְכֵן כָּל כִּי עַל כֵּן שֶׁבַּמִּקְרָא, כִּי עַל כֵּן בָּאוּ בְּצֵל קֹרָתִי (בראשית י"ט), כִּי עַל כֵּן רָאִיתִי פָנֶיךָ (בראשית ל״ג:י׳), כִּי עַל כֵּן לֹא נְתַתִּיהָ (שם ל"ח), כִּי עַל כֵּן יָדַעְתָּ חֲנֹתֵנוּ (במדבר י'):
6And Abraham hastened to the tent to Sarah, and he said, "Hasten three seah of meal [and] fine flour; knead and make cakes."   ווַיְמַהֵ֧ר אַבְרָהָ֛ם הָאֹ֖הֱלָה אֶל־שָׂרָ֑ה וַיֹּ֗אמֶר מַֽהֲרִ֞י שְׁל֤שׁ סְאִים֙ קֶ֣מַח סֹ֔לֶת ל֖וּשִׁי וַֽעֲשִׂ֥י עֻגֽוֹת:
meal [and] fine flour: The fine flour for the cakes [and] the meal for the starch used by cooks to cover the pot, to draw out the scum. — [from B.M. 86b]   קֶמַח סֹלֶת: סֹלֶת לְעֻגוֹת, קֶמַח לַעֲמִילָן שֶׁל טַבָּחִים, לְכַסּוֹת אֶת הַקְּדֵרָה לִשְׁאֹב אֶת הַזֻּהֲמָא:
7And to the cattle did Abraham run, and he took a calf, tender and good, and he gave it to the youth, and he hastened to prepare it.   זוְאֶל־הַבָּקָ֖ר רָ֣ץ אַבְרָהָ֑ם וַיִּקַּ֨ח בֶּן־בָּקָ֜ר רַ֤ךְ וָטוֹב֙ וַיִּתֵּ֣ן אֶל־הַנַּ֔עַר וַיְמַהֵ֖ר לַֽעֲשׂ֥וֹת אֹתֽוֹ:
a calf, tender and good: There were three calves, in order to feed them three tongues with mustard. — [from B.M. 86b]   בֶּן־בָּקָר רַךְ וָטוֹב: ג' פָּרִים הָיוּ, כְדֵי לְהַאֲכִילָן ג' לְשׁוֹנוֹת בְּחַרְדָּל (בבא מציעא פ"ז):
to the youth: This was Ishmael, to train him to perform mitzvoth. — [from Aboth d’Rabbi Nathan, ch. 13]   אֶל־הַנַּעַר: זֶה יִשְׁמָעֵאל, לְחַנְּכוֹ בְּמִצְוֹת (בראשית רבה):
8And he took cream and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and he placed [them] before them, and he was standing over them under the tree, and they ate.   חוַיִּקַּ֨ח חֶמְאָ֜ה וְחָלָ֗ב וּבֶן־הַבָּקָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֔ה וַיִּתֵּ֖ן לִפְנֵיהֶ֑ם וְהֽוּא־עֹמֵ֧ד עֲלֵיהֶ֛ם תַּ֥חַת הָעֵ֖ץ וַיֹּאכֵֽלוּ:
And he took cream and milk, etc.: But he did not bring bread, because Sarah became menstruous, for the manner of the women returned to her on that day, and the dough became ritually unclean. — [from B.M. 87a]   וַיִּקַּח חֶמְאָה וגו': וְלֶחֶם לֹא הֵבִיא, לְפִי שֶׁפֵּרְסָה שָׂרָה נִדָּה, שֶׁחָזַר לָהּ אֹרַח כַּנָּשִׁים אוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם, וְנִטְמֵאת הָעִסָּה (בבא מציעא שם):
cream: the fat of the milk that is skimmed off the top.   חֶמְאָה: שֻׁמַּן הֶחָלָב שֶׁקּוֹלְטִין מֵעַל פָּנָיו:
and the calf that he had prepared: that he had prepared. Each one that he prepared, he took and brought before them. — [from B.M. 86b]   וּבֶן־הַבָּקָר אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה: אֲשֶׁר תִּקֵּן; קַמָּא קַמָּא שֶׁתִּקֵן אַמְטִי וְאַיְיתִי קָמַיְהוּ:
and they ate: They appeared to be eating. From here we learn that a person should not deviate from custom. — [from B.M. ad loc., Gen. Rabbah 48:14, Targum Jonathan]   וַיֹּאכֵֽלוּ: נִרְאוּ כְמִי שֶׁאָכְלוּ, מִכָּאן שֶׁלֹּא יְשַׁנֶּה אָדָם מִן הַמִּנְהָג (בבא מציעא שם):
9And they said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?" And he said, "Behold in the tent."   טוַיֹּֽאמְר֣וּ אֵלָ֔יו אַיֵּ֖ה שָׂרָ֣ה אִשְׁתֶּ֑ךָ וַיֹּ֖אמֶר הִנֵּ֥ה בָאֹֽהֶל:
And they said to him: Heb. אֵלָיו. There are dots over the letters איו in the word אֵלָיו. And we learned: Rabbi Simeon the son of Eleazar says: “Wherever the [undotted] letters are more than the dotted ones, you must expound on the [undotted] letters, etc.” And here, the dotted letters are more than the [undotted] letters, and you must expound on the dotted [letters]. [The meaning is that] they also asked Sarah, “Where (אַיוֹ) is Abraham?” (Gen. Rabbah 48:15) We learn that a person should ask in his lodging place of the husband about the wife, and of the wife about the husband (B.M. 87a). In Bava Metzia (ad loc.) it is said: The ministering angels knew where our mother Sarah was, but [they asked in order] to make known that she was modest, in order to endear her to her husband. Said Rabbi Joseph the son of Chanina: In order to send her a cup of blessing (i.e., the cup of wine upon which the Grace after Meals is recited).   וַיֹּֽאמְרוּ אֵלָיו: נָקוּד עַל אי"ו שֶׁבְּאֵלָיו, וְתַנְיָא רַ"שִׁ בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר אוֹמֵר כָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁכְּתָב רַבֶּה עַל הַנְּקֻדָּה, אַתָּה דוֹרֵשׁ הַכְּתָב; וְכָאן הַנְּקֻדָּה רַבָּה עַל הַכְּתָב אַתָּה דּוֹרֵשׁ הַנְּקֻדָּה, שֶׁאַף לְשָׂרָה שָׁאֲלוּ אַיּוֹ אַבְרָהָם, לָמַדְנוּ שֶׁיִּשְׁאַל אָדָם בְּאַכְסַנְיָא שֶׁלּוֹ לָאִישׁ עַל הָאִשָּׁה וְלָאִשָּׁה עַל הָאִישׁ. בְּבָבָא מְצִיעָא אוֹמְרִים יוֹדְעִים הָיוּ מַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת שָׂרָה אִמֵּנוּ הֵיכָן הָיְתָה, אֶלָּא לְהוֹדִיעַ שֶׁצְּנוּעָה הָיְתָה, כְּדֵי לְחַבְּבָהּ עַל בַּעֲלָה. אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בַּר חֲנִינָא, כְּדֵי לְשַׁגֵּר לָהּ כּוֹס שֶׁל בְּרָכָה:
Behold in the tent: She is modest. — [from B.M. ad loc., Mid. Ps. 128:3]   הִנֵּה בָאֹֽהֶל: צְנוּעָה הִיא:
10And he said, "I will surely return to you at this time next year, and behold, your wife Sarah will have a son." And Sarah heard from the entrance of the tent, and it was behind him.   יוַיֹּ֗אמֶר שׁ֣וֹב אָשׁ֤וּב אֵלֶ֨יךָ֙ כָּעֵ֣ת חַיָּ֔ה וְהִנֵּה־בֵ֖ן לְשָׂרָ֣ה אִשְׁתֶּ֑ךָ וְשָׂרָ֥ה שֹׁמַ֛עַת פֶּ֥תַח הָאֹ֖הֶל וְה֥וּא אַֽחֲרָֽיו:
at this time next year: At this time in the coming year. It was Passover, and on the following Passover, Isaac was born, since we do not read כְּעֵת [at “a” time], but כָּעֵת [at “this” time]. כָּעֵת חַיָּה means: at this time, when there will be life for you, when you will all be alive and well. — [from Targum Yerushalmi, Targum Jonathan]   כָּעֵת חַיָּה: כָּעֵת הַזֹּאת לַשָּׁנָה הַבָּאָה, וּפֶסַח הָיָה, וּלְפֶסַח הַבָּא נוֹלַד יִצְחָק, מִדְּלָא קָרֵינַן כְּעֵת אֶלָּא כָּעֵת כָּעֵת חַיָּה כָּעֵת הַזֹּאת שֶׁתְּהֵא חַיָּה לָכֶם, שֶׁתִּהְיוּ כֻּלְּכֶם שְׁלֵמִים וְקַיָּמִים:
I will surely return: The angel did not announce that he [himself] would return to him, but he was speaking to him as an emissary of the Omnipresent. Similarly (above 16:10): “And the angel said to her: I will greatly multiply [your seed],” but he [the angel] did not have the power to multiply [her children], but he spoke as an emissary of the Omnipresent. Here too, it was as an emissary of the Omnipresent that he said this to him. (Elisha said to the Shunamite woman (II Kings 4:16): “At this season, at this time next year, you will be embracing a son.” And she said, “No my lord, O man of God, do not fail your maidservant. Those angels who announced to Sarah said (below verse 14): ‘At the appointed time, I will return,’” [but Elisha did not promise to return]. Elisha replied, “Those angels, who live and endure forever, said, ‘At the appointed time, I will return.’ But I am flesh and blood, alive today and dead tomorrow. Whether I shall be alive or dead, ‘At this time, etc. [you will embrace a son.’”] (Gen. Rabbah 53:2).   שׁוֹב אָשׁוּב: לֹא בִשְּׂרוֹ הַמַּלְאָךְ שֶׁיָּשׁוּב אֵלָיו, אֶלָּא בִשְׁלִיחוּתוֹ שֶׁל מָקוֹם אָמַר לוֹ, כְּמוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר לָהּ מַלְאַךְ ה' הַרְבָּה אַרְבֶּה, וְהוּא אֵין בְּיָדוֹ לְהַרְבּוֹת, אֶלָּא בִּשְׁלִיחוּתוֹ שֶׁל מָקוֹם, אַף כָּאן בִּשְׁלִיחוּתוֹ שֶׁל מָקוֹם אָמַר לוֹ כֵּן (בּרֵאשִׁית רַבָּה). אֱלִישָׁע אָמַר לַשּׁוּנַמִּית לַמּוֹעֵד הַזֶּה כָּעֵת חַיָּה אַתְּ חֹבֶקֶת בֵּן וַתֹּאמֶר אַל אֲדֹנִי אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים אַל תְּכַזֵּב בְּשִׁפְחָתֶךָ, אוֹתָן הַמַּלְאָכִים שֶׁבִּשְּׂרוּ אֶת שָׂרָה אָמְרוּ לַמּוֹעֵד אָשׁוּב, אָמַר לָהּ אֱלִישָׁע אוֹתָם הַמַּלְאָכִים שֶׁהֵם חַיִּים וְקַיָּמִים לְעוֹלָם אָמְרוּ לַמּוֹעֵד אָשׁוּב, אֲבָל אֲנִי בָשָׂר וָדָם שֶׁהַיּוֹם חַי וּמָחָר מֵת – בֵּין חַי וּבֵין מֵת לַמּוֹעֵד הַזֶּה וגו':
and it was behind him: The entrance was behind the angel.   וְהוּא אַֽחֲרָֽיו: הַפֶּתַח הָיָה אַחַר הַמַּלְאָךְ:
11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, coming on in years; Sarah had ceased to have the way of the women.   יאוְאַבְרָהָ֤ם וְשָׂרָה֙ זְקֵנִ֔ים בָּאִ֖ים בַּיָּמִ֑ים חָדַל֙ לִֽהְי֣וֹת לְשָׂרָ֔ה אֹ֖רַח כַּנָּשִֽׁים:
ceased to have: It had ceased from her. — [from Gen Rabbah 48:16]   חָדַל לִֽהְיוֹת: פָּסַק מִמֶּנָה:
the way of the women: the menstrual cycle.   אורח כַּנָּשִֽׁים: אֹרַח נִדּוֹת:
12And Sarah laughed within herself, saying, "After I have become worn out, will I have smooth flesh? And also, my master is old."   יבוַתִּצְחַ֥ק שָׂרָ֖ה בְּקִרְבָּ֣הּ לֵאמֹ֑ר אַֽחֲרֵ֤י בְלֹתִי֙ הָֽיְתָה־לִּ֣י עֶדְנָ֔ה וַֽאדֹנִ֖י זָקֵֽן:
within herself: She looked at her insides and said, “Is it possible that these insides will carry a child; that these breasts, which have dried up, will give forth milk?” - [from Tan. Shoftim 18]   בְּקִרְבָּהּ: מִסְתַּכֶּלֶת בְּמֵעֶיהָ וְאָמְרָה אֶפְשַׁר הַקְּרָבַיִם הַלָּלוּ טְעוּנִין וָלָד? הַשָּׁדַיִם הַלָּלוּ שֶׁצָּמְקוּ מוֹשְׁכִין חָלָב? תַּנְחוּמָא:
smooth flesh: Heb. עֶדְנָה, smoothness of flesh, and in the language of the Mishnah (Meg. 13a, Men. 86a): “It causes the hair to fall out and smoothes (מְעַדֵּן) the flesh.” Another explanation: an expression of time (עִדָּן), the time of the menstrual period. — [from Gen. Rabbah 48:17]   עֶדְנָה: צִחְצוּחַ בָּשָׂר, וּלְשׁוֹן מִשְׁנָה מַשִּׁיר אֶת הַשֵּׂעָר וּמְעַדֵּן אֶת הַבָּשָׂר. דָבָר אַחֵר לְשׁוֹן עִדָּן; זְמַן וֶסֶת נִדּוּת:
13And the Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Is it really true that I will give birth, although I am old?'   יגוַיֹּ֥אמֶר יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶל־אַבְרָהָ֑ם לָ֣מָּה זֶּה֩ צָֽחֲקָ֨ה שָׂרָ֜ה לֵאמֹ֗ר הַאַ֥ף אֻמְנָ֛ם אֵלֵ֖ד וַֽאֲנִ֥י זָקַֽנְתִּי:
Is it really true: Is it really true that I will give birth?-   הַאַף אֻמְנָם: הֲגַם אֱמֶת אֵלֵד?
although I am old: Scripture altered [her statement] for the sake of peace, for she had said, “and my master is old.” - [from B.M. 87a]   וַֽאֲנִי זָקַֽנְתִּי: שִׁנָּה הַכָּתוּב מִפְּנֵי הַשָּׁלוֹם, שֶׁהֲרֵי הִיא אָמְרָה וַאדֹנִי זָקֵן:
14Is anything hidden from the Lord? At the appointed time, I will return to you, at this time next year and Sarah will have a son."   ידהֲיִפָּלֵ֥א מֵֽיהֹוָ֖ה דָּבָ֑ר לַמּוֹעֵ֞ד אָשׁ֥וּב אֵלֶ֛יךָ כָּעֵ֥ת חַיָּ֖ה וּלְשָׂרָ֥ה בֵֽן:
Is…hidden: Heb. הֲיִפָּלֵא, as the Targum renders: הַיִתְכַּסֵי. Is anything too hidden and separated and concealed from Me [to prevent Me] from doing My will?   הֲיִפָּלֵא: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ הֲיִתְכַּסִּי? וְכִי שׁוּם דָּבָר מֻפְלָא וּמֻפְרָד וּמְכֻסֶּה מִמֶּנִּי מִלַּעֲשׂוֹת כִּרְצוֹנִי:
At the appointed time: At that time that was appointed, that I set for you yesterday, [when I said] (17:21): “at this time next year.”   לַמּוֹעֵד: לְאוֹתוֹ מוֹעֵד הַמְיֻחָד שֶׁקָּבַעְתִּי לְךָ אֶתְמוֹל, לַמּוֹעֵד הַזֶּה בַּשָּׁנָה הָאַחֶרֶת:
15And Sarah denied, saying, "I did not laugh," because she was afraid. And He said, "No, but you laughed."   טווַתְּכַחֵ֨שׁ שָׂרָ֧ה | לֵאמֹ֛ר לֹ֥א צָחַ֖קְתִּי כִּ֣י | יָרֵ֑אָה וַיֹּ֥אמֶר | לֹ֖א כִּ֥י צָחָֽקְתְּ:
because she was afraid… but you laughed: The first כִּי serves as an expression of “because,” for it gives the reason for the matter: “And Sarah denied…because she was afraid,” and the second כִּי serves as an expression of “but.” And He said, “It is not as you say, but you did laugh.” For our Sages said: כִּי has four different meanings: if, perhaps, but, and because. — [from R.H. 3a]   כִּי יָרֵאָה וגו' כִּי צָחָֽקְתְּ: הָרִאשׁוֹן מְשַׁמֵּשׁ לְשׁוֹן דְּהָא, שֶׁנּוֹתֵן טַעַם לַדָּבָר וַתְּכַחֵשׁ שָׂרָה – לְפִי שֶׁיָּרְאָה; וְהַשֵּׁנִי מְשַׁמֵּשׁ בִּלְשׁוֹן אֶלָּא, וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא כִדְבָרֵךְ הוּא אֶלָּא צָחַקְתְּ, שֶׁאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ כִּי מְשַׁמֵּשׁ בְּאַרְבַּע לְשׁוֹנוֹת, אִי, דִּלְמָא, אֶלָּא, דְּהָא:
16And the men arose from there, and they looked upon Sodom, and Abraham went with them to escort them,   טזוַיָּקֻ֤מוּ מִשָּׁם֙ הָֽאֲנָשִׁ֔ים וַיַּשְׁקִ֖פוּ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י סְדֹ֑ם וְאַ֨בְרָהָ֔ם הֹלֵ֥ךְ עִמָּ֖ם לְשַׁלְּחָֽם:
and they looked: Heb. וַיַשְׁקִיפוּ. Whenever the word הַשְׁקָפָה occurs in Scripture, it denotes evil, except (Deut. 26:15) “Look (הַשְׁקִיפָה) from Your holy dwelling,” for the power of gifts to the poor is so great that it converts the Divine attribute of wrath to mercy. — [from Tan. Ki Thissa 14]   וישקיפו: כָּל הַשְׁקָפָה שֶׁבַּמִּקְרָא לְרָעָה חוּץ מֵהַשְׁקִיפָה מִמְּעוֹן קָדְשְׁךָ (דברים כ"ו), שֶׁגָּדוֹל כֹּחַ מַתְּנוֹת עֲנִיִּים שֶׁהוֹפֵך מִדַּת הָרֹגֶז לְרַחֲמִים:
to escort them: Heb. לְשַׁלְּחָם, to escort them. He thought that they were wayfarers. — [from Zohar, vol. 1, 104a]   לְשַׁלְּחָֽם: לְלַוּוֹתָם; כַּסָּבוּר אוֹרְחִים הֵם:
17And the Lord said, "Shall I conceal from Abraham what I am doing?   יזוַֽיהֹוָ֖ה אָמָ֑ר הַֽמֲכַסֶּ֤ה אֲנִי֙ מֵֽאַבְרָהָ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֖ר אֲנִ֥י עֹשֶֽׂה:
Shall I conceal: Heb. הַמְכַסֶה ? This is a question.[i. e., The “hey” is not the definite article but the interrogative “hey.”]   הַֽמֲכַסֶּה אֲנִי: בִּתְמִיהָ:
what I am doing: in Sodom? It would be improper for Me to do this thing without his knowledge. I gave him this land, and these five cities are his, as it is said (10:19): “And the border of the Canaanite was from Sidon…, as you come to Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.” I called him Abraham, the father of a multitude of nations. Now, can I destroy the sons without informing the father, who loves Me?- [from Gen. Rabbah 49:2, Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer ch. 25]   אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי עושה: בִּסְדוֹם. לֹא יָפֶה לִי לַעֲשׂוֹת דָּבָר זֶה שֶׁלֹּא מִדַּעְתּוֹ. אֲנִי נָתַתִּי לוֹ אֶת הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת, וַחֲמִשָּׁה כְּרַכִּין הַלָּלוּ שֶׁלּוֹ הֵן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: גְּבוּל הַכְּנַעֲנִי מִצִּידֹן בֹּאֲכָה סְדֹמָה וַעֲמֹרָה וְגוֹ' (בראשית י'). קָרָאתִי אוֹתוֹ אַבְרָהָם – אַב הֲמוֹן גּוֹיִם, וְאַשְׁמִיד אֶת הַבָּנִים וְלֹא אוֹדִיעַ לָאָב, שֶׁהוּא אוֹהֲבִי?
18And Abraham will become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the world will be blessed in him.   יחוְאַ֨בְרָהָ֔ם הָי֧וֹ יִֽהְיֶ֛ה לְג֥וֹי גָּד֖וֹל וְעָצ֑וּם וְנִ֨בְרְכוּ־ב֔וֹ כֹּ֖ל גּוֹיֵ֥י הָאָֽרֶץ:
And Abraham will become: [According to] a Midrash Aggadah (Yoma 38b) (Prov. 10:7): “The mention of a righteous man is for a blessing.” Since He mentioned him, He blessed him. Its simple meaning is, however: Shall I conceal this from him? He is so dear to Me as to become a great nation, and through him will be blessed all the nations of the earth.   וְאַבְרָהָם הָיוֹ יִֽהְיֶה: מִדְרַשׁ אַגָּדָה: זֵכֶר צַדִּיק לִבְרָכָה, הוֹאִיל וְהִזְכִּירוֹ – בֵּרְכוֹ. וּפְשׁוּטוֹ: וְכִי מִמֶּנּוּ אֲנִי מַעֲלִים, וַהֲרֵי הוּא חָבִיב לְפָנַי לִהְיוֹת לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל וּלְהִתְבָּרֵך בּוֹ כָּל גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶץ.
19For I have known him because he commands his sons and his household after him, that they should keep the way of the Lord to perform righteousness and justice, in order that the Lord bring upon Abraham that which He spoke concerning him."   יטכִּ֣י יְדַעְתִּ֗יו לְמַ֩עַן֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר יְצַוֶּ֜ה אֶת־בָּנָ֤יו וְאֶת־בֵּיתוֹ֙ אַֽחֲרָ֔יו וְשָֽׁמְרוּ֙ דֶּ֣רֶךְ יְהֹוָ֔ה לַֽעֲשׂ֥וֹת צְדָקָ֖ה וּמִשְׁפָּ֑ט לְמַ֗עַן הָבִ֤יא יְהֹוָה֙ עַל־אַבְרָהָ֔ם אֵ֥ת אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֖ר עָלָֽיו:
For I have known him: Heb. יְדַעְתִּיו, an expression of love, like (Ruth 2:1) “a kinsman (מוֹדַע) of her husband”; (ibid. 3:2) “And now, Boaz our kinsman (מֹדַעְתָּנוּ)”; (Exod. 33:17): “and I shall know you (וָאֵדָעֲךָ) by name.” But, in fact, the primary meaning of them all is none other than an expression of knowing, for if one loves a person, he draws him near to himself and knows him and is familiar with him. Now why do I love him? “Because he commands” … for he commands his sons concerning Me, to keep My ways. But if you explain it as the Targum renders: “I know about him that he will command his sons, etc.,” the word לְמַעַן does not fit into the sense [of the verse].   כִּי יְדַעְתִּיו: לְשׁוֹן חִבָּה, כְּמוֹ מוֹדָע לְאִישָׁהּ (רות ב'), הֲלֹא בֹעַז מֹדַעְתָּנוּ (שם ג'), וָאֵדָעֲךָ בְּשֵׁם (שמות ל"ג). וְאָמְנָם עִקַּר לְשׁוֹן כֻּלָּם אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא לְשׁוֹן יְדִיעָה, שֶׁהַמְחַבֵּב אֶת הָאָדָם מְקָרְבוֹ אֶצְלוֹ וְיוֹדְעוֹ וּמַכִּירוֹ, וְלָמָּה יְדַעְתִּיו? לְמַעַן אֲשֶׁר יְצַוֶּה לְפִי שֶׁהוּא מְצַוֶּה אֶת בָּנָיו עָלַי לִשְׁמֹר דְּרָכַי. וְאִם תְּפָרְשֵׁהוּ כְתַרְגּוּמוֹ, יוֹדֵעַ אֲנִי בוֹ שֶׁיְּצַוֶּה אֶת בָּנָיו וְגוֹ', אֵין לְמַעַן נוֹפֵל עַל הַלָּשׁוֹן:
because he commands: Heb. יְצַוֶּה, a present tense (i.e., a habitual action), like (Job 1:5) “So would Job do (יַעֲשֶׂה)”; [(Num. 9:20) “in accordance to the utterance of the Lord they would camp” (יַחֲנוּ)].   יְצַוֶּה: לְשׁוֹן הוֹוֶה, כְמוֹ כָּכָה יַעֲשֶׂה אִיּוֹב (איוב א'):
in order that [the Lord] bring: So would he command his sons, “Keep the way of the Lord in order that the Lord bring upon Abraham, etc.” It does not say “upon the house of Abraham” but “upon Abraham.” We learn from this that whoever raises a righteous son is considered as though he does not die. — [from Gen. Rabbah 49:4]   לְמַעַן הָבִיא: כָּךְ הוּא מְצַוֶּה לְבָנָיו, שִׁמְרוּ דֶּרֶך ה' כְּדֵי שֶׁיָּבִיא ה' עַל אַבְרָהָם וְגוֹ'; עַל בֵּית אַבְרָהָם לֹא נֶאֱמַר אֶלָּא עַל אַבְרָהָם, לָמַדְנוּ, כָּל הַמַּעֲמִיד בֵּן צַדִּיק כְּאִלוּ אֵינוֹ מֵת:
20And the Lord said, "Since the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah has become great, and since their sin has become very grave,   כוַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהֹוָ֔ה זַֽעֲקַ֛ת סְדֹ֥ם וַֽעֲמֹרָ֖ה כִּי־רָ֑בָּה וְחַ֨טָּאתָ֔ם כִּ֥י כָֽבְדָ֖ה מְאֹֽד:
And the Lord said: to Abraham, for He did as He had said, that He would not conceal from him.   וַיֹּאמֶר ה': אֶל אַבְרָהָם שֶׁעָשָׂה כַּאֲשֶׁר אָמַר, שֶׁלֹּא יְכַסֶּה מִמֶּנּוּ:
since [it] has become great: Wherever רָבָּה appears in Scripture, the accent is on the last syllable, on the “beth,” because they are translated: “great,” or “becoming great.” But this one has its accent on the first syllable, on the “resh,” because it is to be translated: “has already become great,” as I have explained regarding (above 15:17): “Now it came to pass that the sun had set (בָּאָה)”; (Ruth 1:15): “Lo, your sister-in-law has returned (שָׁבָה).”   כִּי־רָבָּה: כָּל רַבָּה שֶׁבַּמִּקְרָא הַטַּעַם לְמַטָּה בַּבֵּי"ת, לְפִי שֶׁהֵן מְתֻרְגָּמִין גְּדוֹלָה, אוֹ גְּדֵלָה וְהוֹלֶכֶת, אֲבָל זֶה טַעֲמוֹ לְמַעְלָה בָּרֵי"ש, לְפִי שֶׁמְּתֻרְגָּם גָדְלָה כְּבָר כְּמוֹ שֶׁפֵּרַשְׁתִּי וַיְהִי הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ בָּאָה, הִנֵּה שָׁבָה יְבִמְתֵּךְ:
21I will descend now and see, whether according to her cry, which has come to Me, they have done; [I will wreak] destruction [upon them]; and if not, I will know."   כאאֵֽרֲדָה־נָּ֣א וְאֶרְאֶ֔ה הַכְּצַֽעֲקָתָ֛הּ הַבָּ֥אָה אֵלַ֖י עָשׂ֣וּ | כָּלָ֑ה וְאִם־לֹ֖א אֵדָֽעָה:
I will descend now: This teaches judges that they should not decide capital punishment cases unless they see it [i.e., they must go to the site of the crime and investigate the matter.]- [Divrei David] Everything is as I explained in the chapter dealing with the dispersion (Tan. Noah 18). Another explanation: I will descend to the end of their deeds (to fathom the results thereof). - [Be’er Mayim Chayim]).   אֵֽרֲדָה־נָּא: לִמֵּד לַדַּיָּנִים שֶׁלֹא יִפְסְקוּ דִינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת אֶלָּא בִרְאִיָּה, הַכֹּל כְּמוֹ שֶׁפֵּרַשְׁתִּי בְפָרָשַׁת הַפַּלָּגָה. דָּבָר אַחֵר, אֵרְדָה נָא לְסוֹף מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם:
whether according to her cry: [i.e., the cry] of the land.   הַכְּצַֽעֲקָתָהּ: שֶׁל מְדִינָה:
which has come to Me, they have done: And [if] they remain in their state of rebellion, I will wreak destruction upon them, but if they do not remain in their state of rebellion, I will know what I will do, to punish them with suffering, but I will not destroy them. Similar to this we find elsewhere (Exod. 33:5): “But now, leave off your ornament from yourself, so that I may know what to do to you.” Therefore, there is a pause marked by the cantillation sign of a פְּסִיק between עָשׂוּ and כָּלָה, in order to separate one word from another. Our Sages, however, interpreted הַכְּצַעֲקָתָה to refer to the cry of a certain girl, whom they killed with an unusual death because she gave food to a poor man, as is delineated in [chapter] Chelek (Sanh. 109b).   הַבָּאָה אֵלַי עָשׂוּ: וְכֵן עוֹמְדִים בְּמִרְדָּם, כָּלָה אֲנִי עוֹשֶׂה בָהֶם, וְאִם לֹא יַעַמְדוּ בְמִרְדָּן אֵדְעָה מָה אֶעֶשֶׂה לְהִפָּרַע מֵהֶן בְּיִסּוּרִין וְלֹא אֲכַלֶּה אוֹתָן. וְכַיּוֹצֵא בוֹ מָצִינוּ בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר, וְעַתָּה הוֹרֵד עֶדְיְךָ מֵעָלֶיךָ וְאֵדְעָה מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה לָּךְ (שמות ל"ג); וּלְפִיכָךְ יֵשׁ הֶפְסֵק נְקֻדַּת פְּסִיק בֵּין עָשׂוּ לְכָלָה, כְּדֵי לְהַפְרִיד תֵּבָה מֵחֲבֶרְתָּהּ. וְרַבּוֹתֵינוּ דָרְשׁוּ הַכְּצַעֲקָתָהּ – צַעֲקַת רִיבָה אַחַת שֶׁהָרְגוּ מִיתָה מְשֻׁנָּה עַל שֶׁנָּתְנָה מָזוֹן לְעָנִי, כַּמְּפֹרָשׁ בְּחֵלֶק:
22And the men turned from there and went to Sodom, and Abraham was still standing before the Lord.   כבוַיִּפְנ֤וּ מִשָּׁם֙ הָֽאֲנָשִׁ֔ים וַיֵּֽלְכ֖וּ סְדֹ֑מָה וְאַ֨בְרָהָ֔ם עוֹדֶ֥נּוּ עֹמֵ֖ד לִפְנֵ֥י יְהֹוָֽה:
And [the men] turned from there: from the place to which Abraham had escorted them.   וַיִּפְנוּ מִשָּׁם: מִמָּקוֹם שֶׁאַבְרָהָם לִוָּם שָׁם:
and Abraham was still standing, etc.: But is it not so that he did not go to stand before Him, but the Holy One, blessed be He, came to him and said to him (above verse 20): “Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah has become great, etc.,” and it should have been written here: “and the Lord was still standing beside Abraham?” But this is a scribal emendation (Gen. Rabbah 49:7).   וְאַבְרָהָם עוֹדֶנּוּ עומד לִפְנֵי ה': וַהֲלֹא לֹא הָלַךְ לַעֲמֹד לְפָנָיו, אֶלָּא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בָּא אֶצְלוֹ וְאָמַר לוֹ, זַעֲקַת סְדֹם וַעֲמֹרָה כִּי רָבָּה, וְהָיָה לוֹ לִכְתֹּב "וַה' עוֹדֶנּוּ עוֹמֵד עַל אַבְרָהָם"? אֶלָּא תִּקּוּן סוֹפְרִים הוּא זֶה (אֲשֶׁר הֲפָכוּהוּ רבותינו זִכָּרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה לִכְתֹּב כֵּן) (בראשית רבה):
23And Abraham approached and said, "Will You even destroy the righteous with the wicked?   כגוַיִּגַּ֥שׁ אַבְרָהָ֖ם וַיֹּאמַ֑ר הַאַ֣ף תִּסְפֶּ֔ה צַדִּ֖יק עִם־רָשָֽׁע:
And Abraham approached and said: We find [the expression]“ approaching” for war (II Sam. 10:13): “And Joab drew forward, etc.;” and “approaching” for placating (below 44:8): “And Judah approached him;” and “approaching” for prayer (I Kings 18:36): “And Elijah the prophet came near.” For all these, Abraham approached: to speak harshly [i.e., when he requested justice], to placate, and to pray. — [from Gen. Rabbah 49:8]   וַיִּגַּשׁ אַבְרָהָם: מָצִינוּ הַגָּשָׁה לַמִּלְחָמָה, וַיִּגַּשׁ יוֹאָב וְגוֹ' (שמואל ב י'), וְהַגָּשָׁה לְפִיוּס וַיִּגַּשׁ אֵלָיו יְהוּדָה, וְהַגָּשָׁה לִתְפִלָּה, וַיִּגַּשׁ אֵלִיָּהוּ הַנָּבִיא (מלכים א י"ח), וּלְכָל אֵלֶּה נִכְנַס אַבְרָהָם לְדַבֵּר קָשׁוֹת וּלְפִיּוּס וְלִתְפִלָּה:
Will You even destroy: Heb. הַאַף. Will You also destroy? And according to the translation of Onkelos, who rendered אַף as an expression of wrath, this is its interpretation: Will wrath entice You that You should destroy the righteous with the wicked?   הַאַף תִּסְפֶּה: הֲגַם תִּסְפֶּה. וּלְתַרְגּוּם שֶׁל אֻנְקְלוֹס, שֶׁתִּרְגְּמוֹ לְשׁוֹן רֹגֶז, כָּךְ פֵּרוּשׁוֹ, הַאַף יַשִּׂיאֲךָ שֶׁתִּסְפֶּה צַדִּיק עִם רָשָׁע:
24Perhaps there are fifty righteous men in the midst of the city; will You even destroy and not forgive the place for the sake of the fifty righteous men who are in its midst?   כדאוּלַ֥י יֵ֛שׁ חֲמִשִּׁ֥ים צַדִּיקִ֖ם בְּת֣וֹךְ הָעִ֑יר הַאַ֤ף תִּסְפֶּה֙ וְלֹֽא־תִשָּׂ֣א לַמָּק֔וֹם לְמַ֛עַן חֲמִשִּׁ֥ים הַצַּדִּיקִ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר בְּקִרְבָּֽהּ:
Perhaps there are fifty righteous men: ten righteous men for each city, because there were five places. — [from Targum Jonathan]   אוּלַי יֵשׁ חֲמִשִּׁים צדיקים: עֲשָׂרָה צַדִּיקִים לְכָל כְּרַךְ וּכְרַךְ, כִּי ה' מְקוֹמוֹת יֵשׁ:
25Far be it from You to do a thing such as this, to put to death the righteous with the wicked so that the righteous should be like the wicked. Far be it from You! Will the Judge of the entire earth not perform justice?"   כהחָלִ֨לָה לְּךָ֜ מֵֽעֲשׂ֣ת | כַּדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֗ה לְהָמִ֤ית צַדִּיק֙ עִם־רָשָׁ֔ע וְהָיָ֥ה כַצַּדִּ֖יק כָּֽרָשָׁ֑ע חָלִ֣לָה לָּ֔ךְ הֲשֹׁפֵט֙ כָּל־הָאָ֔רֶץ לֹ֥א יַֽעֲשֶׂ֖ה מִשְׁפָּֽט:
Far be it from You: And if You say that the righteous will not save the wicked, why should You kill the righteous?- [from Gen. Rabbah 49:8]   חלילה לְּךָ: וְאִם תֹּאמַר: לֹא יַצִּילוּ הַצַּדִּיקִים אֶת הָרְשָׁעִים, לָמָּה תָּמִית הַצַּדִּיקִים?
Far be it from You: Heb. חָלִילָה. It is profane (חוּלִין) , [i.e., unfitting] for You. They will say, “So is His craft. He inundates everyone, righteous and wicked.” So You did to the Generation of the Flood and to the Generation of the Dispersion. — [from Tan. Vayera 8]   חלילה לְּךָ: חֻלִּין הוּא לְךָ, יֹאמְרוּ כָךְ הוּא אֻמָּנוּתוֹ, שׁוֹטֵף הַכֹּל, צֵדִּיקִים וּרְשָׁעִים, כָּךְ עָשִׂיתָ לְדוֹר הַמַּבּוּל וּלְדוֹר הַפַּלָּגָה:
a thing such as this: Neither this nor anything similar to it. —   כַּדָּבָר הַזֶּה: לֹא הוּא וְלֹא כַּיּוֹצֵא בוֹ:
Far be it from You: for the World to Come. — [from Tan. Buber]   חלילה לְּךָ: לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא:
Will the Judge of the entire earth: The “hey” of הֲשֹׁפֵט is vowelized with a “chataf pattach,” as an expression of wonder: Will He Who judges not perform true justice?!   השופט כָּל־הָאָרֶץ: נָקוּד בַּחֲטַף פַּתָּח ה"א שֶׁל הֲשׁוֹפֵט, לְשׁוֹן תְּמִיהָ, וְכִי מִי שֶׁהוּא שׁוֹפֵט לֹא יַעֲשֶׂה מִשְׁפַּט אֱמֶת:
26And the Lord said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous men within the city, I will forgive the entire place for their sake."   כווַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהֹוָ֔ה אִם־אֶמְצָ֥א בִסְדֹ֛ם חֲמִשִּׁ֥ים צַדִּיקִ֖ם בְּת֣וֹךְ הָעִ֑יר וְנָשָׂ֥אתִי לְכָל־הַמָּק֖וֹם בַּֽעֲבוּרָֽם:
"If I find in Sodom, etc., the entire place”: [Sodom refers to] all the cities, but because Sodom was the metropolis and the most important of them all, Scripture ascribes [the fifty righteous men] to it.   אִם־אֶמְצָא בִסְדֹם וגו' לְכָל־הַמָּקוֹם: לְכָל הַכְּרַכִּים; וּלְפִי שֶׁסְּדוֹם הָיְתָה מֶטְרוֹפּוֹלִין וַחֲשׁוּבָה מִכֻּלָּם, תָּלָה בָהּ הַכָּתוּב:
27And Abraham answered and said, "Behold now I have commenced to speak to the Lord, although I am dust and ashes.   כזוַיַּ֥עַן אַבְרָהָ֖ם וַיֹּאמַ֑ר הִנֵּה־נָ֤א הוֹאַ֨לְתִּי֙ לְדַבֵּ֣ר אֶל־אֲדֹנָ֔י וְאָֽנֹכִ֖י עָפָ֥ר וָאֵֽפֶר:
although I am dust and ashes: I was already fit to be dust at the hands of the kings and ashes at the hands of Nimrod, were it not for Your mercies that stood by me.   וְאָֽנֹכִי עָפָר וָאֵֽפֶר: וּכְבָר הָיִיתִי רָאוּי לִהְיוֹת עָפָר עַל יְדֵי הַמְּלָכִים, וְאֵפֶר עַל יְדֵי נִמְרוֹד, לוּלֵי רַחֲמֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר עָמְדוּ לִי:
I have commenced: [I am] willing, like "and Moses consented" [Shemot 2:21].   הוֹאַלְתִּי: רָצִיתִי כְּמוֹ וַיּוֹאֶל מֹשֶׁה (שמות ב'):
28Perhaps the fifty righteous men will be missing five. Will You destroy the entire city because of five?" And He said, "I will not destroy if I find there forty-five."   כחאוּלַ֠י יַחְסְר֞וּן חֲמִשִּׁ֤ים הַצַּדִּיקִם֙ חֲמִשָּׁ֔ה הֲתַשְׁחִ֥ית בַּֽחֲמִשָּׁ֖ה אֶת־כָּל־הָעִ֑יר וַיֹּ֨אמֶר֙ לֹ֣א אַשְׁחִ֔ית אִם־אֶמְצָ֣א שָׁ֔ם אַרְבָּעִ֖ים וַֽחֲמִשָּֽׁה:
Will You destroy because of five: Will there not be nine for each city? And You, the Righteous One of the world, will be counted with them. — [from Gen. Rabbah 49:9]   הֲתַשְׁחִית בַּֽחֲמִשָּׁה: וַהֲלֹא הֵן ט' לְכָל כְּרַךְ, וְאַתָּה צַדִּיקוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם תִּצְטָרֵף עִמָּהֶם:
29And he continued further to speak to Him, and he said, "Perhaps forty will be found there." And He said, "I will not do it for the sake of the forty."   כטוַיֹּ֨סֶף ע֜וֹד לְדַבֵּ֤ר אֵלָיו֙ וַיֹּאמַ֔ר אוּלַ֛י יִמָּֽצְא֥וּן שָׁ֖ם אַרְבָּעִ֑ים וַיֹּ֨אמֶר֙ לֹ֣א אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֔ה בַּֽעֲב֖וּר הָֽאַרְבָּעִֽים:
Perhaps forty will be found there: And four cities will be saved, and so thirty will save three of them, or twenty will save two of them, or ten will save one of them. — [from Zohar, vol. 1, omissions, 255b]   אוּלַי יִמָּֽצְאוּן שָׁם אַרְבָּעִים: וְיִמָּלְטוּ ד' הַכְּרַכִּים וְכֵן ל' יַצִּילוּ ג' מֵהֶם אוֹ כ' יַצִּילוּ ב' מֵהֶם אוֹ י' יַצִּילוּ אֶחָד מֵהֶם:
30And he said, "Please, let the Lord's wrath not be kindled, and I will speak. Perhaps thirty will be found there." And He said, "I will not do it if I find thirty there."   לוַ֠יֹּ֠אמֶר אַל־נָ֞א יִ֤חַר לַֽאדֹנָי֙ וַֽאֲדַבֵּ֔רָה אוּלַ֛י יִמָּֽצְא֥וּן שָׁ֖ם שְׁלשִׁ֑ים וַיֹּ֨אמֶר֙ לֹ֣א אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֔ה אִם־אֶמְצָ֥א שָׁ֖ם שְׁלשִֽׁים:
31And he said, "Behold now I have desired to speak to the Lord, perhaps twenty will be found there." And He said, "I will not destroy for the sake of the twenty."   לאוַיֹּ֗אמֶר הִנֵּה־נָ֤א הוֹאַ֨לְתִּי֙ לְדַבֵּ֣ר אֶל־אֲדֹנָ֔י אוּלַ֛י יִמָּֽצְא֥וּן שָׁ֖ם עֶשְׂרִ֑ים וַיֹּ֨אמֶר֙ לֹ֣א אַשְׁחִ֔ית בַּֽעֲב֖וּר הָֽעֶשְׂרִֽים:
Behold now I have desired: Heb. הוֹאַלְתִּי. I have desired, as in (Exod. 2:21): “And Moses was willing (וַיוֹאֶל).”   הוֹאַלְתִּי: רָצִיתִי, כְּמוֹ וַיּוֹאֶל מֹשֶׁה (שמות ב'):
32And he said, "Please, let the Lord's wrath not be kindled, and I will speak yet this time, perhaps ten will be found there." And He said, "I will not destroy for the sake of the ten."   לבוַ֠יֹּ֠אמֶר אַל־נָ֞א יִ֤חַר לַֽאדֹנָי֙ וַֽאֲדַבְּרָ֣ה אַךְ־הַפַּ֔עַם אוּלַ֛י יִמָּֽצְא֥וּן שָׁ֖ם עֲשָׂרָ֑ה וַיֹּ֨אמֶר֙ לֹ֣א אַשְׁחִ֔ית בַּֽעֲב֖וּר הָֽעֲשָׂרָֽה:
perhaps ten will be found there: For fewer [than ten] he did not ask. He said, “In the Generation of the Flood, there were eight: Noah and his sons, and their wives, but they did not save their generation.” And for nine, together with counting [God] he had already asked, but did not find.   אוּלַי יִמָּֽצְאוּן שָׁם עֲשָׂרָה: עַל הַפָּחוּת לֹא בִקֵּשׁ, אָמַר דוֹר הַמַּבּוּל הָיוּ ח', נֹחַ וּבָנָיו וּנְשֵׁיהֶם, וְלֹא הִצִּילוּ עַל דּוֹרָם; וְעַל ט' עַל יְדֵי צֵרוּף כְּבָר בִּקֵּשׁ וְלֹא מָצָא:
33And the Lord departed when He finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.   לגוַיֵּ֣לֶךְ יְהֹוָ֔ה כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֣ר כִּלָּ֔ה לְדַבֵּ֖ר אֶל־אַבְרָהָ֑ם וְאַבְרָהָ֖ם שָׁ֥ב לִמְקֹמֽוֹ:
And the Lord departed, etc.: Since the defender was silent, the Judge left.   וַיֵּלֶךְ ה' וגו': כֵּיוָן שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּתֵּק הַסָּנֵגוֹר הָלַךְ לוֹ הַדַּיָּן:
and Abraham returned to his place: The Judge left, the defender left, and the prosecutor is accusing. Therefore: “And the two angels came to Sodom,” to destroy (Gen. Rabbah 49:14). One to destroy Sodom and one to save Lot, and he [the latter] is the same one who came to heal Abraham, but the third one, who came to announce [Isaac’s birth] to Sarah, since he had performed his mission, he departed (Tan. Vayera 8).   וְאַבְרָהָם שָׁב למקומו: נִסְתַּלֵּק הַדַּיָּן נִסְתַּלֵּק הַסָּנֵגוֹר, וְהַקָּטֵיגוֹר מְקַטְרֵג וּלְפִיכָךְ וַיָּבֹאוּ שְׁנֵי הַמַּלְאָכִים סְדֹמָה, לְהַשְׁחִית: