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 DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

The Nine Days of Mourning
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Speaking Louder
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Don't Flaunt It
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

ArtScroll

To See or Not to See - That is the Question
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5762

Words, Words, and More Words
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

The Speech That Never Ends
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

If only . . .
Shlomo Katz - 5771

Don't Flaunt It
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Careful Consideration of Chinuch Concessions
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5768

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Of Prophets and Teachers
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

They Can Assure a Cure
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Honesty
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

> Appreciation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

Getting Our Manners In Order
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

Parshas Devarim - Eichah?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

Murphy's Day
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761



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