Sign up to TorahFax


Monday, Mar-Cheshvan 6, 5780 / November 4, 2019


In this week’s Parsha, Lech Lecha, the Torah relates how, after Abraham and Sarah came to the Land of Canaan, there was a famine in the land.  Abraham and Sarah then went down to Egypt. 


On the way to Egypt, Abraham said to Sarah, “I realize that you are a very attractive woman. When the Egyptians will know that you are my wife, they will kill me and keep you for their king.  Please say that you are my sister, so they will favor me because of you and my life will be spared.”


As Abraham predicted, the Egyptians took Sarah to Pharaoh. That night G-d sent a terrible plague upon Pharaoh and his household. Realizing that it was because of Sarah, he sent her back to Abraham and also compensated Abraham and Sarah with great wealth.


The Torah continues that Abraham was heavily laden with wealth – with cattle, silver and gold. They returned from Egypt to Canaan on the same route and stayed in the same lodgings as when they went to Egypt, until he returned to where he lived before.


Q.The famine and their move to Egypt was one of the ten tests with which G-d tested Abraham and Sarah, which eventually helped their descendants. How did this test help the Jewish people later?


A.Our sages say that whatever happened to our forefathers eventually happened to their descendants. In this episode, G-d planted the seeds of redemption for the Jewish people from Egypt.  History repeats itself.  Abraham and Sarah left Canaan because of a famine. He went to Egypt, where there was plenty of food and came out of Egypt with great wealth.


The exact thing happened to the Jewish people 200 years later.  Jacob moved his family to Egypt due to a famine in the land of Canaan and when the Jewish people left Egypt after 210 years, they came out with great wealth.  Abraham and Sarah set the stage for their descendants hundreds of years later.  


Q.  Why does the Torah emphasize that upon their return, Abraham and Sarah travelled on the same roads and stayed in the same places as when they went to Egypt?


A.   On his way to Egypt everyone made fun of Abraham and Sarah. Here was a couple whom G-d promised that if they move to Canaan they will be blessed with children and wealth.  Yet, they were childless and penniless. In fact, they didn’t even have enough to pay for their lodging on the way to Egypt. People asked them why they still believe in a G-d who cannot keep His promises.


This is why Abraham and Sarah made it a point to return the exact same route and stay in the exact same places, so they can pay back whatever they owed for their lodging on the way to Egypt. It also gave them the opportunity to answer the many questions people had about G-d. They showed everyone that G-d did come through on His promises and that whatever G-d does is for the best.