Gen. 18 – Expectations
Dear family and friends our discussion centers on Genesis chapter 18 which teaches us about expectations. Abraham was 99 years old. His wife of many years, Sarah was 89 years old. They were about to receive three guests. The Torah describes them as men. They appeared as men but actually they were angels who were each on a mission. The Angel Michael’s mission was to deliver an important message from The Lord informing them that Sarah would have a baby within the next 12 months. Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz and Rabbi Nosson Scherman, The Artscroll Tanach Series – Bereishis Vol. I(a)(Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 3rd Impression, 1989), p 628.
That message was wonderful news. It created great expectations! Like so many couples, Abraham and Sarah had desired for years to have a baby. The hope of having a baby dimmed a little each year for Sarah. Eventually Sarah’s monthly cycle stopped. Then Sarah entered menopause. Sarah reached the point where it seemed like all hope was gone because she was advanced in years. A miracle would be required for Sarah to have a baby. Then all of a sudden The Angel Michael Appears with a message from The Lord stating Sarah is about to have a baby.
Having children is one of the 613 Observances of The Torah that Abraham and Sarah could now fulfill. They could ‘multiply and be fruitful,’ Genesis 6.28. Deuteronomy 7.13 and 28.4 states that it is The Lord who Blesses the womb with fruit. The prophecy was about to be fulfilled.
Remember Genesis 16 where Sarah said to Abraham, ”The Lord has prevented me from bearing.’ Sarah’s statement to Abraham was alarming news! Sarah, Abraham’s Soul mate was informing him why she could not have children. At that time Abraham was 85 years old and Sarah was 75 years old. 14 years pass. Was Abraham loving, kind and compassionate? Did he try to console to Sarah upon hearing this news? Did he say anything like, ‘Honey were in this together?’ What was Abraham’s attitude? Did he pray for Sarah? Did he encourage Sarah? Why does The Torah appear to be painting Abraham as not being all that concerned about Sarah his wife/soulmate? Abraham was a prophet with limited vision. Perhaps Abraham’s view of the Prophesy of Genesis 12 was singular. Did Abraham misunderstand the intended meaning of The Lord’s directive, ‘Get out from your country, and from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.’ Abraham’s country was also Sarah’s country. Abraham’s family was also Sarah’s family. Abraham’s father was Sarah’s grandfather. When Abraham married Sarah she took on Abraham’s life mission. Rabbi Nosson Scherman, The Stone Edition The Chumash(Mesorah Publications, Ltd., Brooklyn, N.Y. 1993), p 52.
Genesis 12.1 – 5
And The Lord had said to Abram/Sarai,‘Get out from your country, and from your family, and from your father’s/grandfather’s house, to a land that I will show both of you;And I will make both of you a great nation, and I will bless both of you,and make both of your names great, and both of you shall be a blessing, And I will bless those who bless both of you, and curse him who both of you you and in both of you shall all families of the earth be blessed. 4 So Abram/Sarai departed, as The Lord had spoken to him/her; and Lot went with him/her; and Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son/Lot her brother, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go to the land of Canaan, and to the land of Canaan they came.
Abraham and Sarah were closely related. It is like Abraham and Sarah are royalty. Look at the British Empire. When one of the royal families is expecting There is a great expectation among the British people and surrounding countries. Abraham and Sarah come from a long line of righteous people dating back to Adam and Eve. The line I am referring to has a history of marrying close relatives. Adam married Eve, his soulmate. Cain married his twin sister, his soulmate. Abel married his twin sisters his soulmates. Noah married Na’amah the daughter of Enoch. Remember, in Genesis 5 Enoch ascended alive into Heaven. The sons of Noah married the granddaughters of Mesushelach who preached repentance up until the day he died, i.e. seven days before the flood began. Mesushelach was the son of Enoch. Sefer HaYashar (Hoboken, NJ: KTAV Publishing House, Inc., 1993) p.12, 14,16,17. English Bibles call Sefer HaYashar‘ The Book of Jasher.’ See Joshua 10.13 and 2 Samuel 1.18. There is a pattern here. Each of these individuals married their natural soulmate, i.e. a close relative that carried the divine spark. We are discussing a righteous line of descendants. That is why Abraham charged Eliezer of Damascus his steward not to take a wife from the daughters of the Canaanites,’ Genesis 24.3. They were not related to him or righteous works.
Now we return to the wonderful news that Abraham and Sarah were going to have their own special child. Isaac was the son of promise. Isaac descended from generations of righteous soulmates. Our Sages teach that The Lord had to help Abraham realize who had the divine spark. In Genesis 21 and 22 Abraham was forced to choose between Isaac and Ishmael.
And she said to Abraham, ‘Cast out this slave and her son; for the son of this slave shall not be heir with my son, with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. And God Said to Abraham, Do not let this be grievous in your sight because of the lad, and because of your slave; in all that Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac shall your seed be called.
After waiting for the promised child then Abraham is faced with perhaps losing him. Abraham had emuna (faith) that even if the promised child was sacrificed, that he would be resurrected because Abraham believed what G-d Told him and promised him.
Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell you.
We know that Abraham loved both Isaac and Ishmael. Yet he had to be taught another lesson. The Midrash shares a story.
The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Take your son.
Abraham questioned ’which son?’
‘Your only son.’
Abraham replied, ’Each son is the only son of his mother’
’ Take the one you love’
Abraham said, ’I love them both.’
The Lord said to him:‘Isaac.’
Only Isaac was born of Abraham’s soulmate, Sarah.
Dear Family and friends life is special. Certain lives have an important roll in preserving our world and bring the Messiah. All life is important and precious. Our goal in this discussion was to share a few known examples of why our Creator wants us to preserve life. It is important for us to realize that each life plays an important role in helping others, bringing peace and healing to our world. We may not reach our individual goal, yet, we should help others achieve and accomplish their mission in life. May this coming Sabbath and every Sabbath be a blessed Day.
Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk