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PARSHAT VAYERA

Last week we learned that Hashem tested Avrahom by commanding him to leave home and journey to an unspecified land. In return, Avrahom is promised that he will become a great nation, gain fame, fortune and more. You call that a test? Who would turn down an offer like that, especially when Hashem is the guarantor! 

Indeed, Hashem commanded Avrahom to leave his world behind, and with the promise of great blessings and benefits it's no surprise that Avrahom complied. So what was the test? 

It's the kind of test that we often encounter in our daily lives. It goes to motivation and intent. 

Would Avrahom obey Hashem's command just to get rewarded, OR would he act purely out of faith, love and the desire to do Hashem's will? All Avrahom ever wanted was to serve Hashem. 

The more he learned about Hashem, the more Avrahom understood his unique role in the divine plan. So Avrahom went forth and taught the world about Monotheism and the belief in the sanctity of human life created in the image of Hashem. Then Hashem ordered Avrahom to kill his son, Isaac. 

"Vayehe Achar Hadevarim Haeleh V'haelokim Nisa Es Avrahom... "(Bereshit 22:1) "And it happened after these things that Hashem tested Avrahom." This was not his first test, in fact, according to our sages - it was the tenth! Most recently, he was commanded to send away Hagar along with his other son, Ishmael. Imagine, Avrahom the servant of Hashem, the advocate of sinners had to face the world who would now judge him a fool and a hypocrite.Yitzchak the perfect child, was totally blameless and certainly did not deserve to die. How could Avrahom justify behavior that went against everything he believed about Hashem? 

At the last moment Hashem spared Yitzchak ending Avrahom's tenth and most difficult test; we gain a powerful insight into Hashem's ways. 

First, we learn that Hashem tests people. Fortunately, he also provides us with the shoulders to carry the burdens. Indeed, through each trial we refine our character. 

Secondly, although it may seem that we are challenged by more than we can handle, Hashem tests an Avrahom at his level and you and me at ours. 

Finally, obeying Hashem and following his commandments is easy when we agree with them. After all, they provide a meaningful life and a wonderful lifestyle. However, the essence of a Jew's relationship with Hashem is captured in verse 22:3. This Pasuk describes Avrahom's reaction to the terrible news that Hashem wants him to bind Yitzchak to the altar as a sacrifice. 

Avrahom could have asked for time. He could have taken a week or two to think it over. He could have rationalized that he needed to get his family accustomed to the idea gradually. It would have been understandable and forgivable if Avrahom would have slept a little later that morning. How did that first Jew respond to the ultimate challenge? "Vayashkem Avrahom Baboker..." "Avrahom rose early that morning..." to carry out Hashem's will. 

Kol Tov!  Our best to you...it's all good. Shabbat Shalom, CM                                                     

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This week's Parshah begins with Hashem visiting Avrahom and three strangers appear. Avrahom interrupts his dialogue with Hashem to tend to the strangers needs! What do we learn from this odd behavior?



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