The first two verses in this week’s Parsha make mention of two encounters that Avraham has. In the first verse, Hashem appears to Avraham. In the second verse Avraham encounters three “people”. In light of the fact that these three strangers are identified by the Medrash as angles, the Rashbam understands these two verses as referring to a single encounter. Angels are Celestial beings that appear for the purposes of a Divine mission. According to Rashbam, Verse two explains that G-d’s appearance to Avraham was in the format of a visit by three angels.
However all other commentaries explain the verses as referring to two separate episodes. In doing so, they are able to learn that Avraham encountered G-d, and then put G-d on hold as he tended to what he thought were three guests in need. The lesson learned from viewing these verses as two separate encounters is that we see how Avraham valued his work with guests more than having a private audience with the Almighty.
Rabbi Moshe Avigdor Amiel (Hegyonot El Ami) explained that from Avraham’s actions we can see a fundamental difference between Mitzvot Bein Adam l’Makom (between man and G-d) and Mitzvot Bein Adam L’Chaveiro (between man and his friend). Mitzvot between man and G-d require kavanah, proper intent and preparation. Avraham, who was feeling ill, may not have felt ready or worthy to engage in ritual activity, strictly focused on his relationship with the Divine. However when it comes to interpersonal obligations and mitzvot, no preparation is necessary: Just Do It (in the words of Nike). By interpersonal actions there need not have a separate kavanah: the intention is made clear by the action alone.
Along the same lines, Rabbi Amiel suggests that the notion that we get credit for planning to do a Mitzvah, even if it does not come to fruition may only apply to Mitzvot bein Adam L’Makom. However when it comes to interpersonal mitzvot, we must get the job done. It’s not enough to have a plan to help our fellow human being- that plan must be put into action.