A Justifiable Yeridah?

November 7th, 2005 by Yaakov Ellis

ויהי רעב, בארץ וירד אברם מצרימה לגור שם כי-כבד הרעב בארץ
And there was a famine in the Land; And Avram went down to Mitzrayim to dwell there, for the famine was very harsh in the Land

Bereishit 12:10

Commenting on this verse, Ramban writes: “…also, his leaving from the Land – upon which he had initially been commanded (to enter) – because of famine was a sin, for the Lord in famine will redeeem from death; And it was because of this action that exile to Mitrayim by the hands of Pharoah was decreed on his descendents”. This is not something that we could say today – that Avraham Avinu sinned – but since Ramban said it, is is something that must be taken into consideration.

The Netziv presents an opposite viewpoint. He asks: why is it that the famine is mentioned twice in the same sentence? It must be to show that the famine was so harsh that Avram had absolutely no choice about going down to Mitzrayim – that it came to the point where he had sold all of his posessions, and Avram came to the conclusion that it was the will of God for him to go down to Mitrayim. (Rashi also seems to be of the same opinion).

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