Amrafel is described as a major figure in the events that are about to unfold. Who was he and why was he called by that name?


Rashi and Targum Yonasan: He was alias Nimrod, and the name Amrafel is the acronym of 'Amar Pul', because he ordered Avraham to fall into the fiery furnace. 1


Seforno: He was a well-known leader of his generation, and it was in his time that Aryoch, Kedorla'omer and Sid'al fought the five kings (though he himself was not involved in the war) 2 .


As is hinted in the words "Ur Kasdim", at the end of Parshas No'ach.


He did however, join the three kings later, after the five kings rebelled (Refer to 14:4:2:1).


Over which nations ("Goyim") was Tid'al king?


Rashi: "Goyim" is the name of a country, so-called because people from all over gathered there.


Targum Onkelus and Targum Yonasan: He was a king to whom many nations paid allegiance. 1


See Targum Yonasan.


What is the underlying hint in the Parshah ('Ma'aseh Avos Siman le'Banim')?


Ramban (citing the Midrash): The Parshah hints at the four kingdoms who will come to power in the course of history, who will initially subjugate Avraham's descendants, but whom they will eventually overcome and inherit their property. Shin'ar represents Bavel; El'asar, Madai; Eilam, Yavan [Greece]) and Goyim, Edom (Rome).


What is the connotation of "va'Yhi bi'Ymei"?


Ba'al ha'Turim, citing Bereishis Rabah: This appears in five places; in all of them, Vai (woe, misery). 1


Divrei Eliyahu, Hashmatos ha'Gra (Yeshayahu 11:10): One opinion in the Midrash says that va'Yhi is always woe. The Vov switches what should have been (e.g. Yehi Ohr) to a matter of the past (that light was hidden away, due to people not worthy of it). V'Hayah is always Simchah. It switches what initially was not, and now it is.


רש"י: אמרפל הוא נמרוד: מנין לדרוש כך?


גור אריה: הפסוק בא לפרש מתי היה המאורע- "בימי אמרפל" ולא ידוע מתי הוא היה, לכן צ"ל שהיה זה נמרוד שהיה המלך הראשון, שהרי אמרפל מלך בשנער ובנמרוד כתוב "ותהי ראשית ממלכתו שנער".


רש"י: מקום יש ששמו גוים: למה לא פירש שהוא נקרא כך כי מלך על גויים רבים?


גור אריה: אם כך- קשה למה אצל שאר המלכים נזכר שם המדינה ("מלך עילם" וכד') ואצלו שם העם.


רש"י: והמליכו איש עליהם ושמו תדעל: גור אריה: קשה שאולי לא המליכו כמה אומות את תדעל, אלא המלך הראשון באותו מקום מלך על אומות הרבה ואח"כ מלך שם תדעל?

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