In the opening chapter of Vayeira:
And he said: ‘Oh, let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak yet but this once. Peradventure ten shall be found there.’ And He said: ‘I will not destroy it for the ten’s sake. And the LORD went His way, as soon as He had left off speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned unto his place.
It got me thinking of this dialogue between Abraham & G~d. What is going on here? How is this happening? Did G~d heed Abraham’s request in the beginning of the parashah and waited for him while he tended to his guests? But what really interests me in this passage more than the recorded dialogue is, “as soon as He had left off speaking to Abraham”. I get the feeling that there is unrecorded discussion in this passage.
I know that men will just say goodbye after finishing the topic of discussion, and it’s nothing to think twice about. It’s we’re done talking about this subject and we have to go. No problem. Rashi favors the judge and defender argument, that once the case is done court is adjourned.
But friends will finish a discussion, maybe have some smalltalk, or tell a couple of jokes, or somehow drag out the visit because they enjoy the other’s company. This is what I think is alluded to in these few words. It’s not like Sodom and Gomorrah were going anywhere? What’s a few extra minutes to the Creator when it comes to delivering Divine wrath, when he can enjoy the presence of someone He just let in on his Divine plan?
After all, He did say (and I paraphrase), “Shouldn’t we tell Abraham since he’s so diligent in his faith to me? He did just rush to meet these visitors on the worst day of his circumcision. We should give him a little something.”
It is my layman’s opinion that after settling the legal matter of Sodom & Gomorrah’s fate that there was some lingering conversation. Maybe a thank you. Maybe just a few minutes of silence enjoying each other’s presence.
I like to think that there was a common familiarity between these two personalities that went beyond the legal commitments Rashi discussed. Maybe there was simply a few minutes of familiar conversation as they spoke about all that had transpired between them the last three days. Maybe G~d told Abraham that he’ll feel a lot better tomorrow morning.
This leads me to believe that perhaps G~d enjoyed Abraham’s company more than Abraham enjoyed His. Consider that Abraham asked G~d to wait while he took care of guests. It seems that G~d did heed Abraham’s request because He stayed a little extra and G~d gave a little extra attention to dust. G~d let a man in on His plans simply because He considered how faithful Abraham is and would be to Him. There’s certainly an affection that goes beyond legal obligations.
That’s something to think about.
“And the LORD went His way, as soon as He had left off speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned unto his place.”