Staying In The Same Place
“He proceeded on his journeys from the south to Beth-el, to the place where his tent had been at first…” (Genesis 13:3)
Rashi says that when Avraham returned from Egypt to Canaan, he would stay overnight in the lodgings in which he had originally stayed overnight on his way to Egypt.
The purpose of his behavior is to teach us proper conduct: a person should generally not change his accommodations when traveling along the same route, without having very good cause to do so.
In relation to this, Maharal (Gur Aryeh) comments that one who frequently skips from host to host in the same town might inadvertently give the impression that he is unhappy with the hospitality he was provided, or that the host himself is unhappy with his guest.
I would like to suggest an additional lesson we can glean from Avraham’s behavior:
In life, we often encounter people who extol the virtues of spiritual, God-centered living. Now, if the person hasn’t been blessed with material success – or is downright poor – it’s easy to dismiss him and say, “Yeah, it’s easy for him to talk so much about that stuff … he doesn’t have anything else going for him!”
However, when a person has been blessed with material wealth and also regularly speaks about the centrality of Torah observance – this is the kind of person to whom people pay attention.
How does this apply to Avraham?
When he first descended to Egypt, he wasn’t especially affluent or materially successful. However, the Torah relates (Genesis 13:1-2) that when “Avraham went up from Egypt…now Avraham was very heavy with livestock, with silver, and with gold.”
Therefore, I believe we can suggest that one of the reasons Avraham stayed in the same lodgings during his return from Egypt to Canaan was to demonstrate that he was still whistling the same tune – even now, as a Gveer (very affluent person)!
Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Bregman is an internationally recognized Torah scholar, #1 best-selling author, matchmaker, entrepreneur, attorney, and media personality. His energetic and empowering messages currently reach over 350,000 people per week via social media, NYC radio, and newspaper columns worldwide. His website is www.RabbiBregman.com and his email is [email protected]
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