Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
In this week’s parshah our father Abraham leaves this world. His son Isaac is left to carry on his legacy. But who really is Yitzchok Avinu? Do you feel you know him? What is the meaning of his life?
“Among the patriarchs of the Jewish People, Isaac is by far the most mysterious. It seems to us that we know a lot about Abraham, the first of our Patriarchs … but what do we know about Isaac?”
Those words are from Rabbi Mattisyahu Salomon, esteemed mashgiach of Bais Medrash Govoha in Lakewood. Rabbi Salomon reveals the unique gift bequeathed to us by our father Isaac. What is that gift?
To a contemporary American, this sounds almost unbelievable, but when you contemplate it, it makes perfect sense. In every situation he confronted, Isaac did exactly what his father did, unless God specifically directed him to do otherwise.
In the mashgiach’s words, “It became Isaac’s life work not to seek new ways and new paths but to follow faithfully on the path trodden by his father. Abraham was a ‘maschil,’ a person who began things. He was a revolutionary, a pioneer…. Isaac was just the opposite…. Abraham had taught the ways of God and Isaac was not going to veer from his teachings even one iota. In fact, the only new ground Isaac broke was to establish that no new ground should be broken.”
Look at our world. We live in a society that is in a frenzy to create new things: new tastes, new pleasures, new technology, new legislation, new moralities, new slogans … the list is endless. If a product itself cannot be upgraded, it at least must have a new package. Even in Israel, everything must be “chadash.” And we all must know the latest news, of course, so we are glued to television, radio, the Internet.
Who sets the trends in Western society? The children do. Parents strive to imitate and to be accepted by the children. Even nature is included: Western society accepts almost unquestioningly Darwin’s theory, in which the species are constantly evolving. The old is constantly being supplanted by the new. The world is changing; nothing remains the same.
But as Shlomo HaMelech wrote in Koheles so long ago, “there is nothing new under the sun.”
We live in an insane world. Where it is all going? Where does the “newness” lead? We are so hysterical about “progress” that we have no idea where the progress is going.
Only two things have remained the same in this world: Am Yisrael – the Children of Israel – and the Torah that sustains us.
We are unique – the smallest nation, the most vulnerable. For two thousand years we have wandered the earth without a home, living for the most part among infinitely more powerful enemies who constantly plotted to destroy us.
And look: Am Yisrael Chai. We survive. We live and they are gone.
The Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greek Empire, the Roman Empire, the Crusaders, the Inquisition, the Turkish Empire, the Soviet Empire, the Nazi Empire, and soon, with God’s help, all our present enemies … gone.
Who has remained? The Children of Israel!
Why? Because we did not change.
In Egypt, we did not change our language, our clothing and our names, and thus we survived. To this day, we survive because we do not change one dot of our Holy Torah.
From whom did we learn this? From our father Isaac. Writes Rabbi Salomon, “This was Isaac’s life work, the establishment of the idea of unquestioning acceptance of tradition and the guidance of the sages.”
Do we realize how much we owe our Patriarchs? As our sages tell us, we are living on zechus avos, their merit. How strong they were to stand up to the entire world. How strong must we be to be to follow in their footsteps.
But yes, we can do it. How do we know? Because we have been doing it for the millennia since they walked the earth. Just as our father Isaac followed diligently and faithfully in his father’s path, so we have followed in our father Isaac’s path.
That path is good; that path is trustworthy. It is leading us to a new Garden of Eden, a new Bais HaMikdosh, an era in which we will live peacefully, happily and eternally in our beautiful Land of Israel.
About the Author: Roy Neuberger's latest book, "2020 Vision" (Feldheim), is available in English, Hebrew, Spanish, French and Russian with a Georgian edition in preparation. An e-edition is available at www.feldheim.com. Roy is also the author of "From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul" (available in English, Hebrew and Russian, Georgian edition in preparation) and "Worldstorm." Roy and his wife speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at email@example.com or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com. Roy and his wife speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com.
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The answer is an emphatic no.
The meaning of “God’s watch” here is not entirely clear.
Don’t Israelis and Arab Palestinians deserve more than this? Is it not time to stop the insanity?
At age 104, my mother was still concerned about her relationship with Hashem.
Obama’s incompetence, the way his naive worldview and credulity have made a fool of him, are equally frightening
“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”
You’ve discovered our little secret!
Klein’s challenger has demonstrated a propensity to unleash poisonous vitriol, even to other Zionists
President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy.
Welcome the book of Leviticus!
If the nationalist Knesset members don’t provide the answer, the Arab MKs will do so in their place.
International Agunah Day falls annually on Ta’anis Esther, this year on March 13.
Yeshiva University Museum recently hosted an exhibit titled “Threshold to the Sacred.”
Even a foxhole Yid has to admit that antisemitism is on the upswing.
At the end of the harvest, winter begins. The earth becomes cold and hard, nights are long, and the sun seems far away in the southern sky. The sap ceases to flow in the trees. But in this season of temporary “death” Hashem sends down harbingers of coming life in the form of tal u’matar livrachah – dew and rain for a blessing – upon the earth.
They were lining up for gas masks in Israel.
Apparently, at the very time of year we are supposed to be full of simcha, Hashem wants us to be aware of the possibility of danger. Indeed, during the Yom Tov of Sukkos, we read cataclysmic haftaras dealing with the ultimate war, the Milchemes Gog Umagog. Where does that war take place? In the Holy Land, of course, where the eyes of the world are always focused.
At the mikveh they were discussing Egypt.
So many things seem to be unraveling. It’s not just Egypt but the entire Middle East. No, it’s not just the Middle East; it’s the entire world.
What is the relationship between Pesach and Shavuos?
Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, rosh yeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv, relates in the name of the Ishbitzer Rebbe a striking metaphor:
“In those days, when King Achashveirosh sat on his royal throne which was in Shushan the capital, in the third year of his reign, he made a feast for all his officials and servants, the army of Persia and Medea; the nobles and officials of the provinces being present, when he displayed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his splendorous majesty for many days, a hundred and eighty days.
“Israel has bad public relations.”
This is the perennial cry. “Israel must improve its image to convince the world of the justness of its cause.”
Let’s face it: this is not going to be an ordinary year.
We are praying very seriously this year because we are praying for our lives. Yes, I know: every year we pray for our lives. But how many feel it? This year, whether we want to or not, I think we are beginning to feel it.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/isaac-the-faithful-follower/2009/11/11/
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