Friday, October 25, 2013

Do Not Take My Son There


A Torah Thought for 
Parashat Chayei Sarah
  By Rav Mordechai Rabinovitch

The Gemara (Yoma 28b) teaches that Avraham Avinu kept the entire Torah. Now, according to the Torah, a person is permitted to leave the Land of Israel in order to marry (Rambam, Hil. Melachim 6:9). Why then does Avraham refuse so adamantly to allow Eliezer to take Yitzchak abroad in order to marry (Bereishit 24:6-8)? After all, according to the halachah this should have been allowed?

However, if one considers the circumstances under which Avraham was acting, this might be understandable. The Torah (Bereishit 24:1) prefaces the entire episode with the words: And Avraham was old, well into [his] days. Ramban explains this to mean that Avraham, was feeling very old and sensed that his days might be numbered.

Let us imagine then what might have happened were Yitzchak to have gone off to Nachor together with Eliezer. In their absence, Avraham might have passed away, and not a single person to whom the Land of Israel was promised would reside inside the Land! Surely the ruling that a person may leave Israel in order to marry was not intended to undermine the entire existence of the Jewish community in Israel (see Horayot 3a; Sefer HaMitzvot ). Accordingly, in order to prevent such a scenario, Avraham steadfastly refused to allow Yitzchak to leave.

Moreover, had Yitzchak gone to Rivkah's hometown, even if he had eventually returned with her to the Land of Israel, her coming would be out of loyalty to her husband – not from a personal commitment to the Land of Israel and to the Abrahamic faith. But by insisting that she choose to travel to the unknown, Avraham's policy insured that Rivkah's decision would constitute a declaration of allegiance, similar to Avraham's own blind journey in obedience to the word of Hashem.

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