Taste of Parasha
How did Avraham Avinu have the strength to pass all of his difficult tests? Following the test of Akeidas Yitzchak, G-d tells Avraham, “Now I know that you have Yirah (Genesis 22:12).” Yirah is commonly translated as fear. It is clear that Avraham Avinu’s actions and devotion to G-d were motivated by more than simply fear. Fear of G-d does not engender the alacrity which he showed in going to perform the Akeida. Fear does not engender a devotion that is able to conquer all of the wily gesticulations of the Yetzer Horah. Rabbi Y. Y. Kanievsky Zt”l explains that Yirah in this case refers to a properly developed appreciation of the awesome glory of G-d. This engenders a steadfast, humble, and loving devotion to not only follow the word of G-d but to seek out ways of making a Nachas Ruach, of pleasing G-d. Is there any way for us to reach a level of appreciation of G-d? The Sifri (Eikev chap. 49) says, “If you desire to recognize the creator of the world, learn the words of Aggadah”. Rav Kanievsky explains that this means we must delve into the words of our sages to engender within ourselves a strong Yiras Shamayim. Listening to the Drashos of our Rav and Davening with Kavanah, he says, are also good ways of coming to Yiras Shamayim. In this way, we too, will be able to stand strong in our tests.
Taste of Talmud and Halacha
Even a Prophet who has proven himself to be a true Prophet of G-d is not allowed to permanently annul a law of the Torah. A prophet is allowed to make an exception to a Biblical law for temporary purposes only. This is called a Horaas Sha’a (temporary injuncture) (Yevamos 90 b). On Mount Carmel, Eliyahu merely made a temporary injunction. Even then, the Prophet must explain the necessity of his actions. For example, Eliyahu Hanavi explained to the nation why he was offering a sacrifice outside of the Temple. In this case, it was because it was imperative to immediately disprove the idol worshippers of Ba’al. Avraham Avinu did not explain to Yitzchak the reason why human sacrifice was being commanded. Why was a 36 year old, Yitzchak, obligated to allow his father to transgress one of the seven Noachide laws: Do not murder. Rabbi Fishel Schreiber quotes the words of the Shnei Halechem who says that prior to the giving of the Torah, a Prophet of the caliber of Avraham Avinu actually had the ability to add on to or detract from the accepted laws based on a command from G-d. Avraham Avinu told Yitzchak that he had received a direct command from G-d that sacrificing Yitzchak was desired by G-d and was not wanton murder. For Avraham Avinu this was a test of his Love of G-d. For Yitzchak this was a test of his emunas chachamim, trust in the words of the sages. The Chasam Sofer (Responsa OC: 208) writes that Avraham Avinu’s test here was akin to accepting the written law while Yitzchak’s test was akin to accepting the oral law. The latter is the more difficult of the two. It is for this reason that this event is forever remembered by the name of Yitzchak: Akeidas Yitzchak. We learn from here that a human can achieve a level of complete connection to G-d while still alive by being wise enough to sacrifice himself and everything that he holds dear to G-d. From the events of the Purim story, we see how difficult it is to accept the concept of the word of our sages being paramount to the words of G-d. It was only after the Jews saw how correct Mordechai had been in dealing with Haman that they as a nation willingly accepted the concept of following the advice of our Sages. We are fortunate to have a rich history that gives us the knowledge of the value of our Sages so that we can work on acting upon this valuable asset.
This week’s issue is dedicated L’Iluy Nishmas:
Moreinu HaRav Klonamis Kalman ben R’ Shmuel Zt”l
By: The Community
Have A Great Shabbos!!