Archive | November, 2015


7 Nov

Rabbi Annie was out of town yesterday performing a wedding, so we had others from Temple Sinai filling in for Shabbat service. It’s always cool when someone stands in; don’t get me wrong, I find Rabbi Annie’s thoughts inspirational, topical, and relevant. It’s just cool to see others in the congregation have just as much to offer.

Mike gave the sermon last night. He started off talking about the Akeda, (It seemed as if he’d gotten the wrong parsha!) but was only making a point relative to this week’s parsha. It was something I’d never thought about before – Why is Issac so different from the other patriarchs? The other three have epic tales of trial and tribulation. They play this supremely active roll in shaping the course of history. What did Issac do? Why is his story so different from the other three?

Mike pointed out that there was something Issac went through that NO ONE ELSE had gone through – HaShem had commanded his father to kill him. He knew this. He was bound, put on an alter, a knife lifted over him set to end his life. Issac had a near death experience.

In our day in age, we can read study after study about what this type of experience will do to a person. (Better yet, imagine what that would do to you.) Those who go through such things come out different, mainly they become much more introspective and contemplative, concerning themselves more with meaning. Everet Fox comments that Issac seems to get old before his time, and in a sense that’s true. As we mentally mature, we become less ego-centric, more aware of the world outside of ourselves and our part in it. Having a near death experience is like pushing the fast forward button on that process.

Issac was no exception: time after time when faced with aggression, he chose temperance and peace. (He was also the first to truly love and adore his wife.) He modeled those traits to his family. He showed Jacob how to love. He showed Jacob how to face issues and overcome them without resorting to violence. He literally set the stage for Jacob to become Israel.

Mike went on to postulate that, with all the issues we face today, perhaps what we need is an Issac…

I agree.