Dismissed - Richard McBee's take on Rosh HaShanah

Rembrandt Pen & Ink

By: Richard McBee
Tuesday, September 27 2011

"After these things, God tested Avraham (Genesis 22:1).  What things? The Midrash teaches that "after these things" means something immediately after. We, on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, mentally experience these words immediately after the first day's reading.   That reading starts with the miraculous birth of Yitzchak, thirty-seven years earlier.  Then the very grown-up conflict with his half-brother Yishmael and the climatic narrative of the expulsion of Hagar and Yishmael unfolds.  Avraham is willing to sacrifice each of his sons at God's command. Yishmael and Hagar in the wilderness is the first of these two instances.  Hagar's expulsion and her anguish in the wilderness therefore must color our understanding of Rosh Hashanah's primal narrative, the Akeidah.

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