This week’s Torah Portion is all about the misadventures of one of mankind’s most important people. . . Father Abraham. I never truly understood Abraham not even a little. He is the Patriarch of more than one major world religion, in fact scholars use the term “Abrahamic Religions” in reference to Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and he is a major prophet within the Bahai’I faith. Not too shabby for a liar!
The book of Genesis covers a lot of time and ground and that is something very easy to forget. At the start of this portion Abraham and his wife Sarah are young, married, childless, and still going by their birth names Abram and Sarai. We are led to believe Sarai has an attractiveness no man could resist not even the Pharaoh of Egypt who at that time was the most powerful man in the world. A few things transpire (we’ll get to that in a moment), a little more time passes Abram rescues his nephew Lot and gets blessed by Melchizedek. Decades pass Abram and Sarai are elderly and still childless a few more things transpire and Hashem changes Abram and Sarai’s names and commands circumcision, , , phew so much to digest.
Here is why I just can‘t seem to understand Abraham at that time he is one of the most righteous men on the planet. So why lie and basically negotiate your wife for your life and land? Here is a young man in a foreign land with a gorgeous and exotic young wife. He knows Pharaoh is the only person in a position to take her from him so what does he do he says this is my sister and then goes about his business literally. I don’t want this post to be apologetic or condemning I am a different man and live in a different time. We know this deal really really really bothers Sarai, and rightfully so, but I keep wondering just how angry does this make Hashem. Eventually Pharaoh learns the true nature of Abram and Sarai’s relationship and Hashem steps in inflicting Pharaoh with a plague.
The Torah never really goes into detail how Abram and Sarai get over this episode in their relationship, but we do know they continue to live together and hopefully do that happily. During this time Abram matures a lot and leads the efforts to rescue his nephew Lot. In his last adventure it ended with a plague inflicted on Pharaoh this time it ends with Melchizedek blessing Abram.
Now for the final part of the Lech-Lecha trilogy Abram and Sarai have entered their golden years childless, and it is no secret having an heir is Abram’s hearts desire. Obviously feeling bad for her husband Sarai decides to do what she can to make having a son happen. So what does she do? She arranges for her husband to step out of their tent and into Hagar’s, and of course a son Ishmael is conceived. Jealousy and tempers erupt as each compete for Abram’s affection. . . and then Hashem steps in again. Hashem changes Abram and Sarai’s name to Abraham and Sarah, tells Abraham his children will spawn nations, and then tells him to clean up himself, his son, and his male servants down there. Oy vey my head is spinning.
All of the above is why I could just never understand Abraham there is no denying he meant well and loved Hashem and his family, but c’mon MAN! What are your thoughts on Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, and Ishmael? Have you ever felt that Hashem has had to step in after your well intended actions didn’t really end up being so well intended? Am I being too hard or not hard enough on Abraham? Let me know post below or send me a note: [email protected]