Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why did G-d "relent" to Isaac and Rivka's prayers?

Jameel was kind enough to invite me to his blog to post weekly Divrei Torah. Please let me know what you think!

You'll find we've already written a Dvar Torah that explains a Pasuk in Toldos, located here

This Dvar Torah blew me away. When it was clear that they would be unable to have children, Isaac and Rivka prayed, and the Pasuk (21:25) says:

'וַיֶּעְתַּר יִצְחָק לַיהוָה לְנֹכַח אִשְׁתּוֹ, כִּי עֲקָרָה הִו וַיֵּעָתֶר לוֹ ה - "And Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and He relented to him"

A gentleman once told R' Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld a short Dvar Torah on this. Why does the Pasuk say "and He relented to him". Does this not seems an odd way of saying that G-d heard and heeded his prayer?

The gentleman explained that there is a tradition that all the Patriarchs were meant to live until the age of 180. Yet Avraham died aged 175 (25:2). We can work this out: Avraham was 99 when he circumcised himself, 100 at Isaac's birth, 137 at the Akeida, at which point Isaac was obviously 37. Isaac was 40 at his marriage, and 60 at the birth of Yaakov and Esau (25:26) making Avraham 160 at their birth. Esau first murdered aged 15, making Avraham 175. There is a Rashi that Avraham would live to see Yishmael repent (25:9), but die before Esau killed someone for the first time (25:30). If he died aged 175, where are the missing 5 years?

The gentleman said to R' Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld that 'וַיֵּעָתֶר לוֹ ה is the answer. There was never any doubt that Isaac would have children, his father had been promised "nations", certainly Isaac would have children then, and Rivka would certainly be their mother as she was the one deemed worthy, as evidenced by the miracles Eliezer witnessed. וַיֵּעָתֶר לוֹ ה can be interpreted to mean that G-d did not want to give them children just yet, He simply wanted them to wait a bit longer so Avraham would not live to see his grandson become a murderer.

When R' Yosef Chaim heard this, he jumped up and exclaimed that this vort was Emess, because 'וַיֵּעָתֶר לוֹ ה is Gematria (numerical value) 748 (686+36+26), which is the same Gematria as חמש שנים - five years - 748, which represents G-d relenting to their prayers to have children at the expense of חמש שנים from Avraham Avinu's life.

R'Yosef Chaim also said that we say " רְצוֹן-יְרֵאָיו יַעֲשֶׂה; וְאֶת-שַׁוְעָתָם יִשְׁמַע, וְיוֹשִׁיעֵם - He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him; He also will hear their cry, and will save them ". Isn't this in the wrong order? Doesn't Hashem fulfil their desires to placate their cries? R' Yosef Chaim explains that the prayers of a devout person are able to change what is meant to happen to people, which explains fulfilling their desires. But people don't know what's best for them, and sometimes suffer as a consequence of getting what they desire. The pasuk teaches that Hashem will even repair this later cry of suffering that is of their own doing.

Geshmack !

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JtownPaul said...

This reminds me of Shabbat a few weeks ago when the Shaliach Tzibbur called Medinat Israel "reshis tzmichas geulaseinu". Is there any way to gently encourage "N" to purge the ghetto from his speech/writing? "Geshmack"? What does that even mean?

Zionist Jew said...

Correction Jameel
It was on this subject I sent a
response that I lost when I went to review it.
If you can find it fine.If not nevermind.

James said...

Why did G-d "relent" to Isaac and Rivka's prayers?
Because like all G*D's love for his People ISRAEL he relented on many occasions,even though we betrayed his admonishions when WE DISCARDED HIS SOME OF HIS COMMANDEMENTS.
At the end,we learned from our mistakes did we not?

Anonymous said...

NO PALESTINIAN STATE – No land concessions R4.

Imagine that the various people who settled in the United States for the past 300 years decided one day that they one to parcel the United States into an independent State just for them, would the American public go for it. The Answer is absolutely NO.

The situation in Israel today is no different. The Arabs there are not Palestinians, there is no such Arab nation as Palestine or Palestinian people.

Europeans countries today are consisting of numerous people from other countries. Would the Europeans people cede part of their country to set up another State in their midst. The answer is absolutely NO.

All the Arabs in Israel and surrounding areas are from the various Arab nations, such as Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and other Arab nations.

Prominent PLO Arab says there are no 'Palestinians' and no "Palestine"

PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein admitted in a March 31, 1977 interview with a Dutch newspaper Trouw.

"The Palestinian people do not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism. "

The Qur'an 17:104 - states the land belongs to the Jewish people

If the historic documents, comments written by eyewitnesses and declarations by the most authoritative Arab scholars are still not enough, let us quote the most important source for Muslim Arabs:
"And thereafter we [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: 'Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd'.".
YUSUFALI: And We said thereafter to the Children of Israel, "Dwell securely in the land (of promise)": but when the second of the warnings came to pass, We gathered you together in a mingled crowd.
PICKTHAL: And We said unto the Children of Israel after him: Dwell in the land; but when the promise of the Hereafter cometh to pass We shall bring you as a crowd gathered out of various nations.
SHAKIR: And We said to the Israelites after him: Dwell in the land: and when the promise of the next life shall come to pass, we will bring you both together in judgment.
- Qur'an 17:104 -
Any sincere Muslim must recognize the Land they call "Palestine" as the Jewish Homeland, according to the book considered by Muslims to be the most sacred word and Allah's ultimate revelation.

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