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Friday, November 2

The Weekly Shtikle - Chayei Sarah

This week's shtikle is dedicated le'ilui nishmas my brother Efrayim Yechezkel ben Avi Mori Reuven Pinchas whose Yahrtzeit was this past Tuesday, the 18th of Cheshvan.
    One need not look too far to find a connection between this week's parsha and haftarah. The very first words of the haftarah, (incidentally the first words of sefer Melachim) "VehaMelech David zakein ba bayamim" are almost an exact copy of the words in the parsha (24:1)"VeAvraham zakein ba bayamim." Just as our parsha deals with Avraham reaching his latter years and the happenings that ensued, the haftarah deals with David reaching old age, albeit a much younger old age, and a number of events that took place then. The saga is continued in the haftarah of Vayechi when David HaMelech actually passes away, in correspondence with Yaakov Avinu's passing in that parsha.
    However, most of the haftarah goes on to deal with the story of the rebellion of Adoniahu, one of David's sons who stages a coup to seize the throne, despite the fact that David HaMelech swore that Shelomoh would be his successor. David HaMelech confirms that Shelomoh will be the next king and Adoniahu's campaign comes to an end. This does not seem to be directly connected to any part of this week's parsha. It seems, however, that this story is strongly connected to one in last week's parsha which is indirectly referred to in this week's parsha. Before passing away, Avraham Avinu grants all his possessions to his son Yitzchak (25:5). This one-sided generosity is a direct result of the episode in last week's parsha (21:9-14) when Yitzchak and Yishmael do not seem to be getting along. Sarah insists that Yishmael be banished for he will not inherit with Yitzchak. HaShem gives His stamp of approval on this statement affirming with Avraham (21:12) that Yitzchak is to be considered his seed. Rashi (21:10) infers that the disagreements between Yitzchak and Yishmael where, in fact, on the issue of inheritance. Then it is decided that Yitzchak will be the sole inheritor. Avraham brings this decree into fruition with the doling out of his possessions (which, according to Ohr HaChayim, included Yishmael as well - not for now) to Yitzchak in this week's parsha. This is in parallel with David HaMelech's granting of the throne to Shelomoh and Shelomoh only.
    Additionally, we find that Avraham was not fully aware of Yishmael's misdeeds or at least unaware of their severity and threat to Yitzchak. It was Sarah Imeinu who stepped in with her motherly instincts to make things right. The same situation is found in the case of Adoniahu's rebellion which was unbeknownst to David HaMelech. Once again, it was the mother, Bas-Sheva, who heroically intervened to save her son from his half brother.
    Adoniahu showed tremendous defiance in seizing the throne. He knew full well what his father had decreed but ignored it nevertheless. Perhaps the parallel to this aspect of the story came much later on in history. The descendants of Yishmael knew full well what was written in the Torah. However, it was not to their liking. With no other choice, they simply changed it. Much of the Islamic belief system is based on a character swap of Yitzchak and Yishmael. They believe it was Yishmael who was bound on the altar and further, Yishmael who inherited Avraham's assets. I am unsure how the chain of lies continues from there. History has shown that just as Adoniahu spurned his father's edict and made a run at the throne which he did not deserve, the descendants of Yishmael have rejected the authentic ancient text which affords them no portion of the physical and spiritual riches bestowed upon Avraham with fabricated lies based on a completely inaccurate text.


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