פנינים מתוך ‘באר בשדה’ לקראת שבת פרשת וירא
Translation of פנינים מתוך ‘באר בשדה’ לקראת שבת פרשת וירא תשע”א
Translation By: Yanky Klein
“And it happened after these things that God tested Avraham… please take your son, your only one, whom you love – Yitzchak -… bring him up there as an offering… it came to pass after these matters, that Avraham was told, saying: Behold Milcha too has borne children to Nachor, your brother… and Besuel, and Besuel begot Rivka” (Bereishes 22 1-23)
Rashi writes (Pasuk 20) “Upon his (Avrahams) return from Mount Moriah, Avraham was pondering, and saying, ‘Had my son already been slaughtered, I would be going without children. I should have married him off to a woman from among the daughters of Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre.” Thereupon the Holy One, Blessed is He, informed Avraham that Rivka (Yizchaks spouse) has been born. And that is what is meant by ‘these matters’; the pondering of matters which came about because of the binding of Yitzchak.” (See the source in the Medresh Rabah Parsha 57).
Now, many wondered, what is so great and heroism of the act of Avraham Avinu passing the test of God in bringing Yitzchak, his only son, as an offering, after we have seen throughout the course of history of the Jewish Nation that even simple Jews gave their lives, along with their wives lives, sons lives and daughters lives, and died for the sake of a Kiddush Hashem, with various strange and gruesome deaths.
Avraham Avinu was told by Hashem “Please take your son, your only son, whom you love – Yitzchak – go to the land of Moriah, and bring him up there as an offering upon one of the mountains which I shall tell you.” If so what is the greatness of the test, so much so that the Torah says ”God Tested Avraham”.
I heard that the Kotzker Magid said that we had a grandfather Avraham, therefore in our blood we have the power to give up our lives for a Kiddush Hashem. However Avraham didn’t have a grandfather Avraham like we do so he did not have in his blood that power to give up a life for a Kiddush Hashem. That is why it is a much greater deal that Avraham was ready to bring Yitzchak as an offering.
In a similar matter Rav Shimshon Rephael Hirsh explained the words of the Ramban on the Pasuk (Bereishis 12 1-3) “There was a famine in the land, and Avram descended to Egypt to sojourn there… he said to his wife Sarai, ‘See now, I have known that you are a woman of beautiful appearance’… please say that you are my sister, that it may go well with me for your sake, and that I may live on account of you.”
The Ramban writes on this, “And know, that Avraham Avinu sinned a great sin by mistake by causing his righteous wife to sin just because he was afraid that he would be killed…”.
Rav Shimshon Rephael Hirsh said about this “We must learn from the great Torah Scholars – and the Ramban is definitely one of them – that it is never our job to defend the sages of Israel… they do not need our defense and they do not tolerate our defense… the Torah is absolutely true… all this we said like the Ramban, but before we rush to judgment let us see the facts narrated here… in fact, ‘emissaries for a Mitzvah are not hurt, and Hashem watches his loved ones and protects those that fulfill his will, however it was upon Avraham and Yitzchak to learn all this from experience… there was only one Avraham, there wasn’t an Avraham before Avraham…”.
Now, there is another way we can learn this that the difficult experience that Avraham Avinu had was because suddenly his mind started to go back and forth, because earlier he heard explicitly from the King of all Kings, The Holy One, Blessed is He (Bereishis 15 4-5), “Suddenly, the word of Hashem came to him, saying: ‘That one will not inherit you. Only he that shall come forth from within you shall inherit you’. And he took him outside and said, ‘Gaze, now, toward the Heavens, and count the stars if you were able to count them!’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your off spring be!’”
Rashi over there explains “God said to Avraham ‘Go out from your astrology, i.e., abandon your astrological calculations, which you have seen by the signs of the zodiac to the effect that you are not destined to bear a son.’ This is true inasmuch as Avram shall have no son, but Avraham, which will be your new name, shall have a son. Likewise, Sarai shall not give birth, but Sarah shall give birth. I shall give you different names and the mandate of the zodiac shall change.”
And then Avraham heard this (Bereishis 17 4-21) “As for Me, this is My covenant with you: You shall be a father of multitude of nations; your name shall no longer be called Avram, but your name shall be Avraham… I will make you most exceedingly fruitful… I will ratify My covenant between Me and you and between your offspring after you, throughout their generations, as an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you and to your offspring after you; and I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojourns – the whole land of Canaan – as an everlasting possession; and I shall be a God to them… as for Sarai your wife – do not call her name Sarai, for Sarah is her name. I will bless her; indeed, I will give you a son through her; I will bless her and she shall give rise to nations… your wife Sarah will bear you a son and you shall call his name Yitzchak; and I will fulfill My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him… I will maintain My covenant through Yitzchak who Sarah will bear to you…”
Rashi explains (Pasuk 19) “‘And I will fulfill my covenant’. Why is this stated? It has already been written, ‘And as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your offspring, etc.’ But since it says, ‘I will uphold, etc. (and between your offspring after you),’ one might be able to think that the sons of Yishmael and the sons of Keturah are included in the upholding of the covenant. To teach us otherwise, the verse says, ‘and I will fulfill My covenant with him,’ and not with others.”
And behold again Avraham is told from the Creator of the World (Bereishis 21 12), “Whatever Sarah tells you, heed her voice, since through Yitzchak will offspring be considered yours.”
This was the great test that Avraham Avinu had, was that, how after being promised by God three times about offspring, how can Yitzchak be an offering?
What about the promises that God promised? How can you explain this contradiction? How do you work out such a paradox? If Yitzchak is brought as an offering that totally takes away the possibility of “And I will fulfill My covenant with him (Yitzchak) as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him”?
To apply this to us nowadays will not hurt. It is enough to note, have any of us not gone through such life challenges and difficulties? Each of us should try to think for a moment, what is happening in our lives, and what kind of thoughts and confusions with belief to we have? As soon as the Tzadikim promise us certain promises, and certainly if we give up money and time to get such a promise… and even after we do what the Tzadik tells us to do… even after all this the promise was not fulfilled, in fact sometimes the exact opposite of the promise happens… OY, there have been many complaints, grievances and accusations against this act, much confusion in faith arose against the righteous of the world… God Forbid.
Now, Avraham Avinu is in a similar situation, the same experience, nonetheless he continues with all his might to fulfill wholeheartedly the commandment (Bereishis 17 1) “and be wholehearted”. (See over here well the explanation of the Ramban).
Avraham continues to fulfill with all his heart the commandment of (Devarim 18 13) “You shall be wholehearted with Hashem, your God”. Rashi explains “Walk with Him with wholeheartedness. Look ahead to Him, i.e., trust in what He has in store for you, and do not delve into the future. But rather, whatever comes upon you accept with wholeheartedness, and then you will be with Him and of His portion.”
And thus, Avraham Avinu went happily and willingly to bring Yitzchak as an offering, to fulfill the commandment of “you shall bring him as an offering”. Avraham did not get confused at all with what seems to be a contradiction after all he promises he received. Avraham did not take in to account the difficult paradox he got caught inside.
“Be wholehearted”, and that’s it! Here lies the great virtue of Avraham Avinu!
It is amazing to see the words of the Holy Ohr HaChaim on the Pasuk (Bereishis 22 20) “It came to pass after these matters, that Avraham was told, saying: Behold Milcha too has borne children”, the Ohr HaChaim teaches that the soul of Yitzchak was from Nukva (female), and therefore he no Nukva (female) and Zivug (literally attachment but here it refers to soul mate), until after the Akeida, only then did he receive the male soul…
The Ohr HaChaim teaches on the Pasuk (Bereishis 17 19) “Nonetheless, your wife Sarah will bear you a son”, that is the reason Avraham said to Hashem (Bereishis 17 18) “O that Yishmael might live before you!” Therefore Yitzchak received his soul from Nukva, and they were greatly pained because of this until he was brought upon the altar, because through the Akeida he received his male soul, and that’s when Rivka was born, his future soul mate. (The source for this teaching of the Ohr HaChaim is from the Ari in Likutei Torah Parshas Chayei Sarah).
Also, the Ohr HaChaim teaches on the Pasuk (Bereishis 18 10) “and behold Sarah your wife will have a son.” The Ohr HaChaim teaches that when Yitzchak was born he was not fit to have children, because his soul was from Nukva, and with the act of the Akeida he merited the soul to be fit to be able to have children. Therefore the angel said (Bereishis 18 10) “I will surely return”, for he would have to come back for a second time at the time of the Akeida in order to give him a soul from Duchra (Male) from the side of Avraham the male, therefore “I will surely return”. (Also see the words of the Holy Ohr HaChaim in the beginning of Parshas Toldos 25 19-20).
Come and see, if so, how great and exalted above human comprehension this test was, because if Avraham had known all this in advance then in his eyes he would certainly not see the Akeida as a test…
Because from the Hasturah (concealment) of all this, it caused Avraham to ponder thoughts of things before the Akeida, during the Akeida and after the Akeida, so much so that he thought to give up on his very ideologies and take a wife for Yitzchak from the daughters of Canaan without looking into their genealogy… And Hashem had to come and heal Avraham with good news from a distant land, that specifically now Rivka was born the soul mate of Yitzchak his son. (See well the writing of the Medresh Rabah Parsha 57).
Because only through the power of the Akeida, which Avraham was scared that perhaps because of the Akeida the promise of “And I will fulfill My covenant with him (Yitzchak) as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him” will not be fulfilled… And now we find that specifically through the act of the Akeida, the firm stance in the test, the blossoming of Yitzchaks soul from great fear, all this, and only because of this led him to be worthy of being able to have children…
Because only now did Yitzchak receive the soul from Duchra (Male)…
Therefore only now was his soul mate able to be born…
“Behold Milcha too has borne children to Nachor, your brother… and Besuel, and Besuel begot Rivka!”
OY!!! How hidden and inscrutable are the ways of providence in order to increase the challenges in experiences!
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