We dive into the extraordinary story of Abraham and his only true son, Yitzchak. This story, found in the book of Bereishit, the first book of the Torah, shows the unwavering trust and devotion that Abraham shows to G-d. Despite numerous trials and challenges, Abraham remains steadfast in his faith, making him an exemplary figure for all believers.
“It was a hot day”
Abraham, sitting outside his tent in the shade of a Terebinth tree, looked up and saw three men standing nearby. Despite the heat, he immediately jumped to his feet and ran towards them, bowing low to the ground as a sign of respect.
“My lord, if I have found favor in your eyes, please do not pass me by,” said Abraham, his voice filled with hospitality.
The men smiled and answered:
“Do as you have said, for we have come to you in peace.”
Here we witness a profound encounter between Abraham and three visitors who turn out to be angels. These messengers of G-d bring the amazing news that Sarah, despite her advanced age, will give birth to a son. Sarah, understandably skeptical, can’t help but scoff at this seemingly impossible prophecy. However, the angels assure her that it will indeed happen. This episode emphasizes the faithfulness of G-d ‘s promises, however improbable they may seem.
“Abraham took a young ox, tender and good, and gave it to the young man, and he hastened to get him ready, that young man was Ishmael, and Abraham did it to get him accustomed to the commandments.”
On this very hot day he immediately understood that these men were messengers of HaShem and therefore prostrated to the ground, he told them that he did not have much to eat for a meal and ran to Sarah and asked her to make biscuits, he went to his flock of animals, he saw a young and tender calf.
He knew it would make a delicious meal, so he decided to give it to his young disciple, his son, Ishmael. Abraham wanted to teach Ishmael to follow G-d ‘s commands that he first became accustomed to by them, and he believed that preparing and sacrificing this calf would serve as a valuable lesson.
“They slept in the street so as not to confuse Lot with Abraham, whose tent they entered for a good meal”
A memorable conversation between Abraham and G-d. As the angels make their way to the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, G-d chooses to confide in Abraham about His impending plan to destroy these cities because of their wickedness. Here Abraham courageously intercedes on behalf of the cities and pleads for their preservation. Amazingly, G-d agrees to save the cities if even ten righteous individuals (who are the judges of those cities, to rule them with the Noahide laws and regulations) are found. This dialogue embodies Abraham’s strong relationship with G-d and his genuine concern for others.
Abraham’s life that highlights a moment of misunderstanding and confusion. It revolves around the time when three messengers went to Sodom and chose not to stay in Lot’s house, preferring to sleep on the street, all to avoid possible confusion between Abraham and Lot.
“Abimelech has been told by HaShem that he will die if he touches Sarai.”
Abraham and his wife Sarah (formerly Sarai) traveled to the land of Gerar. Abraham was afraid that the people of Gerar would kill him and take his wife because of her beauty. He told Sarah to pretend to be his sister instead of his wife to protect them.
Abimelech, was the king of Gerar. He took Sarah into his harem, not knowing that she was Abraham’s wife. However, before any harm could befall Sarah or Abraham, G-d appeared to Abimelech in a dream and warned him that he would die if he touched Sarah because she was a married woman.
In response to G-d ‘s warning, Abimelech confronted Abraham and asked why he had deceived him. Abraham explained that he had thought that there was no fear of G-d in Gerar and that the people would kill him for his wife. Abimelech returned Sarah to Abraham, and in addition to valuable gifts, he also offered land as a gesture of reconciliation.
“You’re going to die (a warning from HaShem)”
The story highlights Abraham’s lack of faith in G-d ‘s protection and his willingness to deceive others to ensure his own safety. However, it also shows G-d ‘s faithfulness in intervening and protecting Sarah from harm, Abimelech, repented and because of his Noahide faith in G-d but also the mitzvahof the prohibition of sexual immorality.
“Sacrificing parents of children is permissible, but killing or letting children go for you is not allowed, so G-d forbid”
Abraham faces the ultimate test of his faith. G-d commands him to offer his beloved son, Yitzchak, as a burnt offering. Despite his deep love for his son, Abraham obeys without hesitation. At the last possible moment, G-d intervenes and provides a ram as a vicarious sacrifice.
It is erroneously assumed that it is about the actual sacrifice of Isaac, but the Hebrew text never mentions killing him. So, this is a common misunderstanding, as the true intent of the story is to test Abraham’s faith and devotion. It was never G-d intended that Abraham would actually continue to sacrifice his son. It was a test to see if Abraham would be willing to give up the most precious thing to him, demonstrating his unwavering loyalty to G-d. In the end, G-d provided a ram for the sacrifice instead of Isaac, showing His mercy and reaffirming His prohibition against child sacrifice.
This awesome act of faith, obedience, and trust makes Abraham a model of unwavering devotion. G-d praises Abraham for his unwavering loyalty and blesses him abundantly.
We witness the enduring bond between Abraham and Yitzchak, as well as their unwavering commitment to G-d . Their remarkable journey serves as a testament to the power of faith and the rewards it brings. Join us as we explore their extraordinary story, reflect on the lessons learned, and find inspiration for our own spiritual journey.
Until next time, stay awake and let those blessings flow, my friends!
Chumash with Rashi comments, Rabbijn Samson Onderwijzer Dutch translation
Torah in Yiddish, translated by Yehoash-Shloyme Blumgarten
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