Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vayera

The topic of Akeidas Yitzchok is introduced with the words 'Achar Had'vorim Ha'elah' ("After these events…"). 22:1. This introductory clause connects the Akeida topically to something which occurred previously. What is it that the Torah is connecting to the Akeida?

Rashi, acknowledging that there is no apparent thematic connection to the previous psukim, instead quotes the midrash about Yitzchok 'inviting' the Akeida due to being instigated by Yishmael's taunt (that Yishmael underwent bris milah at the advanced age of 13 years while Yitzchok was an unaware 8 day old baby, and Yitzchok in response proclaiming his willingness to give his entire being to HaShem). The dvorim/events are really dvorim/words of the Yishmael, instigating this whole episode. In the alternative, it is the words of the Satan, to the effect that Avrohom has never really brought a proper korban to HaShem, which instigate, but in either case the previous psukim do not play a connective role in the Akeida.

Other meforshim do find a thematic connection. The most commonly quoted thematic connection is that Akeidas Yitzchok follows on the heels of everything that Avrohom had achieved in his life, so now it is time for a topping-off event to offer him a great challenge and, accordingly, the opportunity for great reward; Avrohom will be given the opportunity to demonstrate through actions the level of love and fear of HaShem he has in his heart (see Ramban and Sforno). The challenge focuses on his son, Yitzchok, because it is this son who Avrohom most desired and cherished; the challenge and potential reward would be greatest if it involved sacrificing this son. (See Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh.)

Yesterday I was shown a very different thematic explanation which, given historical and modern-day events in Eretz Yisroel, is particularly fascinating. The Rashbam, whose pshat is always very rooted in the literal flow of the psukim, explains that in the previous psukim Avrohom had made a peace treaty with Avimelech, the king of Plishtim (modern-day Gaza). This treaty specifically protected Avimelech's progeny (21:23, l'nini u'l'nechdi) and bound Avrohom's progeny (see Sforno). The Rashbam says that HaShem was angry with Avrohom for making this long-term treaty with the king of Plishtim, as it covers an area that is part of Eretz Yisroel and, during the eventual kibush ha'aretz, is subject to the mitzva of 'lo s'chayeh kol neshoma' ('wipe them out entirely'). In reaction to Avrohom's peace treaty, which was inappropriately made binding on Avrohom's children over a 'no peace treaty' area of Eretz Yisroel, HaShem says, so to speak, "You have become a bit presumptive about this son of yours, now go and sacrifice him and let's see what becomes of this treaty."


Gal Einai, Copyright © 2006 by Gedalia Litke and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

The Twelve Stones Become One: Inverted Symbolism?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

A Legacy of Deceit
Rabbi Shmuel Goldstein - 5762

Designated Eater
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

> Just Five More Minutes of Sleep!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Eisav Had It Easy. Yaakov Travels a Different Path
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

A Little Oil Goes a Long Way
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Bonding Time
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5760

Well-Fare of a Tzaddik
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

Behold! It Was Leah!
Shlomo Katz - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

It Can Only Hurt Not to Ask
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Shared Responsibility
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5774

A Perfect Marriage
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

ArtScroll

Every Little Bit Counts
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5763

Brothers in Arms
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Miracles of Modesty
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5762

Respect of the Sanctuary: On Sacred Ground
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information