G-d’s words in the Torah are concise. Something that can be said in three words, will not be said using four. He is not redundant. Every word is calculated. If there is a seemingly extra word or phrase found in Torah, it must be teaching a lesson.
In this week’s Parasha / Weekly Torah reading, Parashat Va’yera, we find several instances of seemingly redundant words.
Avraham Avinu, the forefather of the Jewish nation was exemplary in doing kindness. His Tent was open on four sides to accomodate guests, so that they would find a door on any side they approached.
He had great desire to do kindness. So much so that on the third day of his circumcision, the most painful day, he was sitting outside his tent in the scorching heat searching for guests.
G-d was speaking with Avraham, when he saw three angels, disguised as men. His desire for doing kindness was so great that he excused himself from speaking to G-d to invite these men for a meal.
He asked his wife to knead the dough and prepare bread.
Two questions – why did he have to ask her to knead the dough? Sarah, his wife, knew how to make bread. Also Sarah had many servants, why should she knead the dough?
One answer is, making dough is the most rigorous part of making bread. Avraham wanted to teach her that if a Mitzvah comes in one’s hands, do the most difficult part.
Apparently, he was telling her for self perfection, through mitzvahs / commandments, doing the more challenging part will help a person to better themselves. It will help them become closer to G-d and they will get the greatest reward.
Because it is difficult it is not bad. One has to rise to the challenge. Life without challenge is existance. Life with overcoming challenges is living. Life can be difficult but still be good for the person.
Some shy away from doing mitzvot because they are challenging. challenge is part of the Mitzvah. Challenge helps us grow. as opposed to challenges from exercise and sport, which can make a person a stronger athelete, Challenges from the Torah make us a better person.
when we overcome we feel better about life and ourselves.
This is one explanation of the saying in Pirkei Avot “According to the pain is the reward.”