02 Nov Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Vayeira 5778 – Weekend of November 4, 2017
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Vayeira in which Abraham and Sarah are finally gifted with the birth of their son Isaac. Of course, this is not the first son of Abraham, who has an earlier son Ishmael with Sarah’s handmaiden, Hagar. As other siblings before them in the Torah, and as other siblings who come after them throughout history and until today, the relationship between Isaac and Ishmael is exceedingly complicated. There is rivalry, jealously, seeming teasing taking place, alliances with their own mothers, and probably a thirst from both of them to be their father’s preferred son. What is sad in this entire situation is that it stands to reason that Abraham had more than enough love in his heart to show both of them that they were favorites in his eyes, each in his own way but we never know if either one of them ever gets to feel this love. The text does not share with us the details of his relationship with both of them, the time he spent with them together and as individuals. But what we can learn from this silence is that it is critical to make it known to our family members and our children how much we love them all for who they are as people.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik