The king of Sodom hurried to plead with Avram, “You can keep all the money and possessions you fought for. They are rightfully yours. However, I am begging you, please give me back my people you captured!”
Avram declared to the king of Sodom, “Take your people back and I want none of your belongings – not even a single thread or a shoelace. HaShem has blessed me with great wealth. Let no man say that the king of Sodom has made Avram rich.”
“But come to think of it,” continued Avram, “As a token of gratitude to HaShem, give one tenth of the money to Malki-Tsedek, for he is a Kohen (priest) to HaShem.”

Countless Blessings

After winning the great war against the four kings, Avram got very worried. “Perhaps by winning this war I used up all my reward in store for me,” he thought to himself.
HaShem came to Avram in a dream and promised him, “Avram. Do not worry! Indeed, you will have much reward. You will have a son. And not only that,” HaShem continued, “you will also have countless descendants. Look up at the sky. Can you count the stars? Your offspring will be as many as the stars in heaven.”
HaShem also promised Avram that his children would inherit the entire land of Cana’an, later to be known as Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel.

A New Wife, a New Son, and New Problems

Avram indeed believed all that HaShem promised, yet 10 years had already passed since they moved to Cana’an and still Sarai had no children. Something had to be done. Sarai came up with an idea. “Avram, please marry Hagar, my Egyptian servant. She is the daughter of the mighty Paraoh and a very respected person. Surely HaShem will help and you will be able to bear a child from her.”
Avram listened to his wife Sarai and indeed married Hagar. Within a very short time Hagar was expecting a baby! Hagar was not sensitive at all and would tease Sarai in a sing-song voice, “I’m going to have a baby, and you’re not!” Sarai realized that it had been her idea for Avram to marry her servant. Still, the way Hagar was speaking to her was really hurting her and she went to complain to her husband.
Avram left it up to Sarai to decide what to do. Sarai made life so unpleasant for Hagar that she ran away to the desert. But HaShem sent an angel to command her to return to Sarai. The angel also told Hagar a few more interesting things: she would have a son, and his name would be Yishmael, and he would be a wild man who would be the forefather of a large nation.
Hagar listened to the angel, went back to Sarai and had a child who was named Yishmael.

Give Me a “Hey”!

13 years after his son Yishmael was born, when Avram was 99 years old, HaShem said to him, “I will make a covenant between us. I will make you the father of many nations and from now on, your name will no longer be Avram. It is Avraham, meaning the father of many. I will be your G-d and the G-d of all of your descendants forever and ever!”
Then HaShem commanded Avraham to circumcise himself (called a Bris Milah), as a sign of the covenant between them. He also commanded Avraham to pass on the covenant of circumcision to every Jewish male at the age of 8 days old.
There was still more news! Sarai got a new name, too – Sarah. And HaShem promised that Sarah would have a son. Now this made Avraham laugh with joy! After all, he was almost 100 years old and Sarah was 90!
HaShem told Avraham that his son’s name would be Yitzchak, meaning “he will laugh.”

HaShem Does a Mitzvah Too

Avraham was overjoyed, and immediately went to fulfill the Mitzvah of Bris Milah (circumcision).
Afterwards, Avraham needed to rest and recuperate for a while until he felt better. As he rested in his tent, HaShem Himself came to do the Mitzvah of Bikur Cholim (visiting the sick)!

Tune in Next Time

Next week’s Parsha continues with the arrival of guests appearing at the tent of Avraham and Sarah.
Were they really Arabs as they appeared to be? Or perhaps they were angels with some very special missions to accomplish?