Thought of the Week: Vayeira - 5779


“When the men got up to leave, they gazed toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way.” Bereshit 18:16

Rashi points out that the word “gazed” – Hashkafah – when mentioned in the Torah, is an indication of something detrimental to that which is being gazed upon. Rashi adds that the only exception is the verse in Devarim, that appears in the context of the declaration made after the giving of all the tithes (which include the portion given to the poor), where we ask Hashem to “Gaze down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our forefathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Rashi  explains that the “gaze” here is a positive one, since gifts to the poor have the power to transform the Divine attribute of anger, into mercy. 

What Rashi is telling us is that often the people of Israel are not  perfect - and indeed, any gazing of Hashem where every act would be analyzed could be quite detrimental to us. However, by doing acts of kindness and taking care of others who are in need, we can protect ourselves from any gaze.
Shabbat Shalom