I hope you’ll enjoy the following Parsha summary followed by a Dvar Torah;
” Parsha in a Nutshell “
G-d reveals Himself to Avraham three days after his circumcision at age 99; but Avraham rushes off to prepare a meal for three guests who appear in the desert heat. One of the three guests — who are angels disguised as men — announces that, in exactly one year, the barren Sarah will give birth to a son. Sarah laughs.
Avraham pleads with G-d to spare the wicked city of Sodom, but did not succeed. Two of the angels arrive in the doomed city to overturn the place, and to save Lot and his family. Lot’s wife turns into a pillar of salt when she disobeyed the command not to look back at the burning city as they flee.
While taking shelter in a cave, Lot’s two daughters get their father drunk, lie with him, and become pregnant. The two sons born from this incident father the nations of Moab and Amon.
Avraham moves to Gerar, where the Philistine king Avimelech takes Sarah — who is, once again, presented as Avraham’s sister — to his palace. In a dream, G-d warns Avimelech that he will die unless he returns the woman to her husband.
G-d remembers His promise to Sarah and gives her and Avraham a son, who is named Isaac (meaning “will laugh”). Isaac is circumcised at the age of eight days; Abraham is 100 years old, and Sarah 90, at their son’s birth.
Hagar and Ishmael are banished from Avraham’s home and wander in the desert; G-d hears the cry of the dying lad and saves his life by showing his mother a well.
G-d tests Avraham’s devotion by commanding him to sacrifice Isaac on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The Parsha concludes with Avraham receiving the news of the birth of a daughter, Rebecca, to his nephew Bethuel.
“ Dvar Torah “
In this week’s parsha, we read about the famous story of “Akeidat Yitzchak”, the binding of Isaac. We all know the story by now: Hashem wanted to test Avraham’s faith, for the tenth and the final time. So one day, G-d tells Avraham to take his only son, the one he loves, Isaac and bring him to the top of a mountain and sacrifice him to G-d Almighty. Without any hesitation, the next morning, Avraham takes Isaac on a oneway, three days journey. On the third day, he takes him up the mountain, binds him down, lifts the knife up and was ready to slaughter his son. At that moment, an angel of G-d tells him to stop and not to harm his son, for now Hashem knows that he truly believes in him.
Wow! What a story! Every time I read the story of Akeidat Yitzchak , it gives me the chills. What an act of courage and obedience was demonstrated by Avraham! Who can kill his own son, specially the one that he longed for more than 100 years?! How can someone do something against his own principles? Avraham was preaching his entire life that it’s wrong to bring human sacrifices for idols and gods, and now he had to do it himself! Not even once he questioned G-d for this commandment! He only did it because he believed in G-d wholeheartedly. The act of Akeida was so great that we still benefit from it to this very day. Every year in our Selichot prayers and on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we read the Akeidat Yitzchak in order to remind Hashem that we are the descendant of the same Avraham who was ready to sacrifice his son for you. Forgive us for his sake, if not for ours! Because probably no one else would have had the courage or the strength to do such an unimaginable act!
Rightfully so, whenever we read about the Akeida, we praise Avraham. But what about Isaac? How come we don’t give any credit to Isaac?! According to the majority of our Chachamim, Isaac was 37 years old at the time. He wasn’t a child anymore and he was fully aware of what was going on. He layed down on the altar and allowed his father to bind him down and raise the knife to kill him. He also went through a test at the time of Akeida and passed it by accepting G-d’s decision! Yes, killing your son can be extremely difficult, but killing yourself at a young age when you still have your whole life ahead of you is not a simple act either! So, the big question is, whose challenge was harder? Who did a greater act of courage and sacrifice? Avraham or Isaac?!
Once again, Rabbi Yissachar Frand gives a beautiful explanation. He says, the test that Isaac had to go through was even greater than his father’s test! You see, Avraham heard it directly from G-d Himself, to sacrifice Isaac. But who told Isaac that he was to be sacrificed? Isaac heard it from his father, Avraham! Isaac must have considered it awfully strange that G-d, who values life, wants a human sacrifice. Such ritual was against all the values and believes that his father had taught him in the past. At this point, Isaac had all the rights to question his father. Keep in mind that Avraham was quite old at the time, 137 to be exact, and could have easily made a mistake in his judgement. Unlike Moshe, G-d did not appear to Avraham in a clear vision. He appeared to him in a dream or a trance, which is not 100% clear. Just before the Akeida, Isaac could have rightfully asked his father: ” Are you sure father that you heard G-d telling you to sacrifice me? Maybe you just had a bad dream? Don’t you want to ask him one more time just to make sure?” But he never questioned his father. He had full trust in his father Avraham. The respect that he had for his father didn’t allow him to doubt his decision! And this was the greatness of Isaac that stands out and makes him one of our forefathers. Avraham obeyed the word of G-d; but Isaac obeyed his father’s! Giving the same respect to your father as you give to the G-d Almighty deserves all the praises in the world! Akeidat Yitzchak, was by far the hardest test that Avraham had to go through in his lifetime. But Isaac had to go through an even harder test!
Yes my friends, we learn from Isaac that respecting parents and listening to them is as important as respecting G-d himself. You cannot respect one and not the other! They go hand in hand.That’s why, on the two tablets of Ten Commandments, honoring parents is placed on the same side as respecting and believing in G-d. Because in order to believe in G-d, you need to respect your parents first!
Shabbat Shalom & Regards;