Friday, November 03, 2017

Trials -- At the Akeidah and Today

by HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

“After these events, G-d tested Abraham” (Genesis 22:1).

Abraham had just forged a covenant with Avimelech in which he temporarily gave up parts of Eretz Yisrael. He thought that through dialogue and agreements with Avimelech he would be able to alter the unsavory traits of Avimelech and his people: “Abraham complained to Avimelech about the well that Avimelech’s servants had taken by force” (21:25). Yet Avimelech “played dumb,” answering, “I don’t know who could have done such a thing. You never told me! I heard nothing about it until today” (21:26). Even so, Abraham forged a covenant with him, and that covenant brought upon Abraham the severest trial he had ever faced, the Akeidah [the binding of Isaac]. As a result of that trial, the Jewish People have suffered throughout the generations, and they continue to suffer. As Rashbam teaches (Genesis 22:1), G-d grew angry at Abraham, so “He troubled and vexed him... He said to him, ‘You were so bold as to take the son I gave you and to forge a covenant that will apply between him and Avimelech’s children? Take Isaac and bring him as an offering. We shall see what comes of your covenant.” That miserable accord led to our being defeated in wars, to the destruction of the First and Second Temples, and to other things...

Today as well, we are facing an exceedingly difficult trial and paying a heavy price for the miserable agreement with the Arabs. Those who signed that agreement hoped it would bring about dialogue and peace and a change in the Arabs’ relationship and behavior towards the Jewish People and State.

An agreement that includes giving up parts of Eretz Yisrael, even a single millimeter of our holy land, is null and void. It has no moral force and will not bring our enemies to change their hostile relationship to the State of Israel, as we are clearly seeing now.

Only G-d’s covenant and oath are in force: “On that day, the L-rd made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants I have given this land’” (Genesis 15:18); “I have sworn by My own Essence.... that Your offspring shall inherit their enemies’ gate” (22:16- 17). The result of this will be that “all the nations of the world shall be blessed through your descendants” (verse 18).

Likewise, it says, “The L-rd gives strength to His people” (Psalm 29:11). Only through that strength will G-d “bless them with peace” (Ibid.)

Looking forward to complete salvation,
Shabbat Shalom.

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