Torah for this Hour | November 9, 2023

Parashat Vayyera ends with the story of the ‘Akedah, the Binding of Isaac, in which—according to the midrash Yalkut Shim‘oni—Avraham fights against the order he had been given and refuses to bind his son for sacrifice, until the Holy One arranges an alternative sacrifice for Avraham to offer up. At that point, Parashat Ḥayyei Sarah opens, beginning with Sarah’s death.

We may ask: why is it that way? After all, the ‘Akedah story ends well. Yitzḥak is saved. Avraham fought for his son’s life and the family can reunite. The trauma, however, is too great. The dread and loneliness do Sarah in.

Parashat Ḥayyei Sarah admonishes us to look at the price exacted by events in our lives. Sometimes we don’t see that people are not done in by the outcome of the battle but very reality of the battle itself.

This war brings pressing existential questions to the fore. We will win. We have to. But we must keep in mind the many prices to be exacted, some of which may now be hidden from view, that we will ultimately have to grapple with and heal from.

Join me in prayer for the return of the abducted captives, the safe return of our soldiers, and a decisive victory that will ensure our continued existence here.