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Friday, November 3

The Weekly Shtikle - Vayeira

This week's shtikle, as per tradition for parshas Vayeria, is dedicated le'ilui nishmas my brother Efrayim Yechezkel ben avi mori Reuven Pinchas, whose yahrtzeit is this coming Tuesday, the 18th of Cheshvan.

A special Weekly Shtikle mazal tov to my niece Kayla (née Levy) on her marriage this week to Yosef Marx of Passaic. Mazal Tov to the extended Levy, Bulka and Jakobovits mishpachos. In honour of the wedding and sheva berachos, the source of this week's shtikle is R' Shimon Schwab, zt"l, the chosson's great grandfather.

At the end of this week's parsha, Avraham faces the ultimate challenge of akeidas Yitzchak. It is certainly not unreasonable to consider this the greatest of Avrhaham's 10 tests on a number of different levels. It is certainly worth noting that this is the one time the Torah actually refers to the episode as a test, (22:1) "VehaElokim nisa." However, Rashi, based on a gemara (Sanhedrin 89b) cites a deeper meaning of the beseeching nature of HaShem's request which seems, at first glance, to border on hyperbole. HaShem uses the word "please" as if to say, "Please stand up to this test so that people do not say of the first tests that there was nothing to them." Suppose Avraham had difficulty with this command. Suppose he had questions about this daunting, impossible task. Would that really have detracted from the utter devotion he showed in the previous tests?

R' Schwab, in Ma'ayan Beish HaSho'eiva, explains that while the first 9 challenges were all great in their own right, there was one very important element missing – the involvement of his progeny. Passing these tests were of great significance on a personal level for Avraham. But that, on its own, would not be enough to pass on to the great nation of which Avraham was to be the father. We often speak of Avraham as having instilled the will and the strength of self-sacrifice in all future generations. But this is not accomplished simply through genetics. Akeidas Yitzchak was a trial of sacrifice that Avraham and Yitzchak would experience together as father and son. Only through enduring this test and persevering together could this virtue be passed on. Indeed, if Avraham were to have failed this test in any way, his previous accomplishments would be of much lesser value to the generations that followed. This explains the urgency of HaShem's request.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
AstroTorah: The Mysterious Midrash by R' Ari Storch
AstroTorah: I Can't Believe it's not Fresh by R' Ari Storch

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