Parashat Chayei Sarah (the years of Sarah) Genesis 23:1-25:18
Haftarah: I Kings 1:1-31
Most people want to be blessed by HaShem, but just wanting to be blessed will not make it a reality. One must go to the location where the blessings are. This seems like a simple enough principle, but yet many people struggle with it. In this week’s Torah portion the two primary sons of Abraham Avinu buried him at the cave of Machpelah in Hebron. Obviously these two sons were Isaac and Ishmael. Even though Ishmael was born first, he was not considered the “firstborn”, that is, the son to whom the covenantal promises passed. It is very significant that when these two men are mentioned in the same sentence, the younger is mentioned first,
“Isaac and Ishmael, his sons, buried him to the cave of Machpelah to the field of Ephron, the son of Tzohar the Hittite, which was before Mamre.” Genesis 25:9
Isaac needs to be understood in two manners. First, as Paul teaches in Galatians 3:16, Isaac symbolizes the Messiah. The fact that Isaac entered into this world in a supernatural manner, i.e., G-d gave conception to a barren elderly woman, pictures the ultimate fulfillment of HaShem’s promise to Abraham. Miryam conceived also in a supernatural manner (supernatural but different than Sarah, i.e., Miryam was a virgin and no human seed was involved) and gave birth to Yeshua.
Second, Isaac pictures the nation which would come from the loins of Abraham, Israel. It needs to be emphasized that the covenantal promises which HaShem made to Abraham focused on the blessing of Redemption which ultimately is fulfilled by the establishment of the Kingdom. Israel is key in bringing about this Kingdom. Obviously, Messiah was born in Israel, from the people of Israel, and hence, the Kingdom will not come until Israel receives her King Messiah.
It is most significant that after Abraham was buried it was G-d Himself Who blessed Isaac and not Ishmael,
“And it came about after Abraham’s death, G-d blessed Isaac his son and Isaac dwelt with Beer-lachai-roi.” Genesis 25:11
It is very significant that immediately after speaking about the two sons of Abraham that the text states that Isaac was “his son” that He blessed and there was no mention of Ishmael. This is not to say that HaShem does not love Ishmael with the same love or with less of that love, rather it means that if one wants to be blessed with the covenantal promises of Abraham, he must come to Yeshua, the One who Isaac pictures and recognize that G-d will ultimately use Israel to establish His Kingdom. Removing Israel or replacing her is a theological error.
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