Avraham

VaYera: Family Ties

“Take your son, your only son, the one you love, v'lech lecha, and go for yourself to the land of Moriah” (22:2). So begins the command of G-d demanding the sacrifice of Yitzchak. After waiting so long to have a child with Sarah, Abraham was commanded to take his child and return him to G-d. In the face of such a command Abraham was silent—or shall we say speechless?—unable to comprehend the Divine will even as he arose early to carry it out.

Vayera: 20/20 Vision

It is a truism that two people can look at the same thing, yet see something quite different. One person might see a beautiful piece of art, whereas his neighbour sees nothing but a few scribbly lines on canvas. Similarly, what for one is the most pleasant of sounds, for another is the most annoying of noises. And what for one is the most uplifting poetry is for another just incomprehensible words. And on and on it goes, whether in the worlds of sports, business, or nature; what one senses is dependent on one's ability to appreciate that which is before him. 

Chayei Sarah: Beyond Death

Our patriarchs and matriarchs did not have easy lives. Each faced problems of famine, of wandering from place to place, of foreign rulers, and of course, problems with their children. Our founding mothers and fathers often disagreed, sharply at times, on the most basic of decisions relating to the raising of their families. The dispute between Abraham and Sarah as to the place of Yishmael in their household was so fierce that G-d had to intervene, instructing Abraham to listen to Sarah (whose insight was apparently much better than her husband's).

VaYishlach: Changing Names

Names play a significant role in Jewish thought. A cursory glance at the names given to the twelve tribes signifies the importance of each name. Noach, Moshe, and Yitzchak had their names chosen to commemorate events surrounding their births. And of course, the Torah records many instances where a name was changed, signifying a change in the status of the person. Of our three patriarchs, Abraham and Yaakov both had their names changed by G-d. Only Yitzchak remained Yitzchak his entire life.

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