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Vayera – A thought for the week by Mike Lewis

There are more words in this weeks’ Parasha than in any other part of Bereishit. There are so many themes but the most perplexing is the Akedah, the binding of Isaac. The behaviour of Abraham seems to go against the very grain of being a parent.

The God who gave him a son is now telling him to sacrifice his son. The gravest sin is child sacrifice; that is what the pagans do.

The instruction, Lech Lecha, which began Abraham’s journey, is repeated towards the end of his life when he is told:

וְלֶ֨ךְ־לְךָ֔ אֶל־אֶ֖רֶץ הַמֹּֽרִיָּ֑ה
Lech Lecha al Eretz Moriah
Go to the land of Moriah

Rashi' makes a connection between Moriah and the Hebrew word for instruction; the Hebrew term for teacher, moreh or morah; he is to go to the land of teaching.

Abraham responds to God by saying “Hineni”, “here I am”. It is usually understood as unquestioning obedience, but it can also be seen as a readiness to learn. So what does he learn?

Parents do not own their children; we are their guardians on God’s behalf.

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