Originally published 11/5/09, 4:18 pm.
This question has bothered students of Torah for many generations:
How could Avraham Avinu, the epitome of Hessed, fail to provide adequate water for his son and estranged wife?
The commentaries address this using several approaches. Some maintain that that Avraham was generous to Hagar after all.
Let's look at the text and see.
It says that Hagar's Canteen ran out of water. And she gave up - so to speak - and fell into melancholy.
After Yishma'el's prayer, it states that Hashem opened Hagar's eyes - and behold, there was a well!
Well! Perhaps all was well all along. Maybe Avraham had given them sufficient water to make it to a well, but when Hagar ran out of water, her emotions overtook her and she suppressed her own ability to see the well in front of her. In response to her prayer, Hashem removed Hagar's self-imposed blinders and she could see the well all ended well!
All along, Avraham had well-planned the rationing of the water, anticipating that Hagar would reach that well. But Hagar was not emotionally well enough to see well.