17 Cheshvan 5784, 1 November 2023
“Avraham came forward (‘vayigash’) and said: Will You wipe out the righteous along with the wicked?” (Genesis 18:23)
The word ‘vayigash’ appears three times in scripture in the context of someone coming forward and approaching another with a request. Here, where Abraham prays for Hashem to spare the inhabitants of Sodom and Amorah. In Genesis 44:18 when Judah approached Joseph and pleaded for the release of Benjamin, and I Kings 18:36 when Elijah sought G-d’s intervention in his confrontation with the prophets of Baal.
According to the Sefer Rokeach, our practice of taking three steps forward before beginning our prayers corresponds to these three occurrences of the word ‘vayigash’ in Tanach.
By Rabbi Michael Skobac
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