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Focused Love - לך לך

Friday, 19 October, 2018 - 11:14 am

s.jpgFocused Love

Abraham embodied love and kindness as an expression of the one G-d, creator of the entire universe. Abraham, spent his career teaching people about monotheism, the belief in the one, all omnipresent G-d, and fought against the idea of idol worship, teaching that the human being should serve no force of nature and no other human being, only G-d himself. 

Abraham felt a deep closeness to his eldest son Yishmael, the son of Hagar Sarah’s maidservant. Yishmael embodied his teachings. As a result of the time spent in his father’s home, Yishmael refused to submit to any person but to the one G-d.

Indeed, even before Yishmael’s birth the angel of G-d told Hagar that her son would be a free spirited person:

And the angel of the Lord said to her, "Behold, you will conceive and bear a son, and you shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard your affliction.

And he will be a wild man; his hand will be upon all, and everyone's hand upon him, and before all his brothers he will dwell." (Genesis 16:11-12)

Despite the influence of Abraham’s ideas and beliefs, Yishmael  would not be the one to receive the Divine covenant, and bear the eternal legacy of Abraham. Indeed, while Abraham was content in having Yishmael be his only heir, G-d insisted that the Abrahamic covenant would continue through the son that would be born to Sarah:  

And G-d said, "Indeed, your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you shall name him Isaac, and I will establish My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his seed after him. (ibid. 17:19)

That is because the Jewish nation could only be established through the union of Abraham and Sarah. Abraham’s love was not sufficient to father the nation that would have an eternal covenant with G-d. Abraham's love was unlimited, he spread his love to all. But Sarah understood, that love must be focused and disciplined. To love properly, one must be willing to exclude influences that would undermine the love. The potent force of love must be focused and directed. Just as a mother protects her child, Sarah’s love motivated her to expel negative influence from her home environment. Abraham without Sarah, love without discipline and focus, is like freedom without commitment, which is but a distorted expression of freedom.  

Abraham and Sarah did not always share the same perspective. They disagreed strongly about important issues. Abraham’s love spread to everybody, while Sarah’s love expressed strength and discipline. Only the marriage of Abraham and Sarah could produce the holy nation.

The healthy tension between Abraham and Sarah teaches us that both love and discipline are necessary in our own life. When we read the stories of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs, we are also reading our own personal story. Ensuring that the “marriage” between the Abraham and Sarah within ourselves is harmonious and balanced, will allow us to continue the mission of Abraham and Sarah: filling this earth with goodness and kindness motivated by the awareness of G-d.

(Adapted from Torah Or, Anochi Magen Lach.)

 

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