Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Compassion and Strength of Isaac

The most misunderstood of the fore-fathers is the Patriarch Isaac. On the surface in the bible, he gets little on air time (meaning there is not too much text about him). An answer to this mystery is that It turns out that most of the text of the story of the death of his Mother, and the search for his wife, in which Isaac himself is not in the story, is truly about him, and in an ironic twist of fate, we learn more about him because he is not talked about.

We know that Abraham threw Isaac's half-brother (Ishmael) out of their home by direct order of G-d, so we can't criticize Abraham for this action, but this action traumatized Isaac so much, the rest of his life was affected.

He worked on this trauma, by reconciling with his half-brother Ishmael and brought him back to the path of spirituality. He brought his step-Mother back to his Father to remarry her. He was known for his inner strength, but he appears to have tremendous compassion.

In fact, one of the most mysterious parts of the opening stories of the bible is Isaac's choice of the evil Esau, over his brother, the good Jacob. Once we learn that Isaac was at effect his whole life over the cruel act of his Father, we can see how he could spare the rod and spoil the child with Esau, his son. He was committed to not repeating the mistakes of his Father and throwing out a child, whether it was deserved or not.

Each of the Fore Fathers was tested with tests that pushed their own button. Abraham known for his kindness was forced to be cruel. Isaac known for his strength or ability to judge was forced to be compassionate as opposed to being strong. Jacob who is known for his truth is forced to lie by circumstances. This is what makes a test, to be forced out of what you are good at, and to stretch yourself beyond human limits.

Many of the biblical stories can only be known after many years, but since they are from G-d, they are given to us for inspiration and motivation. Let us be blessed with the inspiration from these stories to know what is right to do in our own lives.

Love Yehuda