Don’t Be Afraid

October 29, 2021
Cheshvan 23, 5782
Candlelighting Time 5:43 PM

            The ‘binding of Yitzchok’ in preparation to offer him as a sacrifice to Hashem is one of the most epoch-making events in the history of our people. The commentators explain that our ability to die for the sake of Hashem is embedded in this inspirational occurrence. It is mentioned front and center during our prayers on Rosh Hashana. Yet Rashi cites the Midrash that when Sara heard that her son was almost offered as a sacrifice, she was so startled that she died. K’sav Sofer questions was she less willing to die for the sake of Heaven than all the thousands of Jews who have done so for thousands of years?

            He answers that on the contrary. Sara was certainly proud that Yitzchok was willing to do the bidding of Hashem. Rather, her consternation which led to her demise was her non-inclusion in this event. She was so distraught that she actually died as a result of her heartache! And that’s a lesson for all to realize the extent that one can sense such anguish when a person doesn’t participate in such a monumental episode! Of course, only a person of such great stature like Sara who was actually superior in her prophetic capacity than Avrohom can truly appreciate this type of loss. However, perhaps it can provide us with impetus to be more concerned and embraced with our community needs that we are aware of.  

            K’sav Sofer further questions as to why indeed was Sara left out of the loop and at least she should have been allowed to participate in a preparatory manner? He answers that truthfully, even Avrohom did not need this entire experience per se because Hashem obviously realized the magnitude of his dedication. However, the world at large was not as acquainted with Avrohom’s true status and did not understand Hashem’s immense love for him. Therefore, to demonstrate the scope of Avrohom’s commitment to Hashem, this final ordeal was a necessity. However, Sara was not as much in the public eye as was Avrohom and, as a result, her involvement was not imperative. 

            This second point of K’sav Sofer leads us to another nugget that although we need not unnecessarily point out to others our service to Hashem, however, it is not incorrect if we do indeed display our dedication. In other words, we are not required to conceal our actions especially if that will galvanize others to emulate what we do.

            Maimonides in his treatise concerning the laws of idol worship explains in great detail how Avrohom led an ‘insurgency’ against the prevailing ideology that believed in a myriad of gods that governed the planet. He engaged these people in debate and sought to publicize monotheism as we know it to be – Judaism. That actually created much friction between him and the majority of people which eventually came to the attention of Nimrod. He ordered him to be tossed into a fiery furnace and, of course, he survived. Even though we need not be a vocal as Avrohom was, nonetheless, at least we can demonstrate our beliefs and our adherence to the Torah with steadfast observance without concern that others will not appreciate that which we do.        


Avrohom’s lifework was to perform acts of kindness to as many people in as many ways as possible. Therefore, he was essentially a conduit for Hashem to impart and implant chesed into the world. As a result, when it was necessary that he should merit kindness, when Eliezer was sent to find a wife for Yitzchok, he beseeched Hashem that He should do chesed with him and assist him in finding a wife for Yitzchok.                                                                                                                S’FAS EMES