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A Dvar Torah for Vayeira

Our Dvar Torah: The Akeida, Sodom, Yitchak and the Mashiach
A Dvar Torah for Parshat Vayeira: Genesis 18:1 - 22:24
With Likutey Moharan Book II Lesson 48
By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman ben Ya'akov © October 22, 2021

It seems like I say this lot, but this week's parsha, Vayeira, is chocked full of informative material! Of course the Akeida, the binding of Yitchak (Issac) is of vital importance. The destruction of Sodom and Gamorrah is an important presentation of the Hospitality and Charity Laws. And the expulsion of Hagar's son Yishmael forever altered the course of humanity. We know these topics, do we not?

With the Torah things are often connected that are not evident at first glance. Is there a connection between these topics and the coming of Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David? There is!

Through the Akeida, Elohyim calls upon Avraham and his only son to do the unimaginable!

'Only son'? What about Ishmael? Was he not also a son of Avraham! What does the Scripture say at Bereshit 22:2?

And [God] said, "Please take your son, your only one, whom you love, yea, Isaac, and go away to the land of Moriah and bring him up there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains, of which I will tell you."

The only son of our father Avraham was Isaac, Yitchak according to the Torah. Ishmael has no claim to the Covenant as is stated bluntly at Bertershit 6:8.

Avraham and Yitchak both agreed to Isaac's death. Avraham had been promised by God that through Yitchak, a great and holy nation would emerge. How could this be is Yitchak died childless? The point? Both men were prepared to give up everything in order to do God's Will!

Was it not harsh and unfair to Ishmael and his descendants? By human logic and reason it may seem so. However what the Holy One demands is always just and right. Ishmael and the Northern Arabs exist due to Avraham's lapse in emunah. Had he believed and trusted in God, they would never have come to be. Here's the point, God grants us free will AND our choices have consequences! Sometimes for the positive, and sometimes for the negative. The choices you make as we move forward into the coming dark days matters and may have unintended consequences!

How about Sodom? The people of the cities of the plains, by their own free will, chose to follow the negative Way. HaShem offered them many opportunities to make teshuvah but they continued in their own dark ways, doing what was right before their own eyes. The people of the Plains were afraid to trust God! They feared that their enemies might return and enslave them, or worse. They feared giving up the positions they had created for themselves.

The point? How many of our leaders today, including religious leaders, are afraid of those they deem to be "other" to themselves? Self righteous Jews, including rabbis, and even Jewish women: two this past week, continue to attack me. What is my alleged crime? Beit Emunah welcome non-Jews to come seeking the One God! THIS, they tell me, is a crime against Judaism! Unthinkable!

Perhaps one of my pious fellow Jews will explain to me how we are supposed to be the the nation of priests (Exodus 19:5-6), the City on a Hill (Psalm 48), lights unto the nations (Isaiah 42:6), blessings to all the world (Genesis 12:3) and so on, when so many of the most observant Jews refuse to even speak with others! Even their fellow Jews let alone non-Jews!

Of the famed Kabalistic Rabbi Hayyim Vital (1543–1620) we read:

[He was] The greatest disciple of R. Isaac Luria—the major expositor of Kabalistic principles taught and spread his master’s mystical teachings....
He further explicated the distinction established by the Zohar, writing that every Jew, whether righteous or wicked, possesses two souls. The second, uniquely Jewish soul is “a part of G-d above.” The souls of the nations of the world, in contrast, emanate from unclean shards that contain no good whatsoever (Eitz Ḥayyim Portal 5, Ch. 2 1).

So, there is no reason to speak with them, to assist them in the ways of holiness? What a horrid and anti-biblical teaching!

So sad. As the Chofetz Chaim told us:

Our Sages state: "Jerusalem was destroyed only because its inhabitants limited their decisions to the [letter of the] law of Torah" (Bava Metzia 30b). This seems difficult, for Scripture records many sins of which that generation was guilty.

Our discussion sheds light on the matter. Had the people overlooked the wrong caused them, then HaShem would have forgiven them as well. However, they were absolutely unrelenting toward each other, demanding from one another whatever they could possibly extract according to the law -- and Heaven judged them accordingly.

How can we expect HaShem to send His Mashiach and our deliverance when not only do the same things we KNOW He condemns, but even glorify ourselves for doing them?

My friend, if you are one of those who takes the Torah seriously, if you understand that the word "Yisrael" means "one who struggles (present tense) with God," then you should expect to be attacked by some our own people! As Rebbe Nachman teaches us, it is Usually this way! By standing for HaShem and Humanity is the Way to bring HaMashiach.

So let your response be:
Micah: 6 With what should I enter the Lord’s presence?

With what should I bow before the sovereign God?
Should I enter his presence with burnt offerings,
with year-old calves?

7 Will the Lord accept a thousand rams
or ten thousand streams of olive oil?
Should I give him my firstborn child as payment for my rebellion,
my offspring—my own flesh and blood—for my sin?

8 He has told you, O man, what is good,
and what the Lord really wants from you:
He wants you to carry out justice, to love faithfulness,
and to live obediently before your God.

Be at peace my friend: Haters are going to hate!
But HaShem knows your heart:

Every man’s way is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts - Proverbs 21:2

Read Likutey Moharan Book 2: Lesson 48

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