Israel Forever

For the week ending 7 November 2009 / 19 Heshvan 5770

Keeping Out Yishmael

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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The expulsion of Yishmael from the home of Avraham and Sarah is introduced in this week's Torah portion as a result of our Matriarch's observation of the son of Hagar "mocking".

Our Sages saw in this term a reference to the three cardinal sins of idolatry, adultery and murder. Sarah was afraid that Yishmael's corrupt ways would exercise a bad influence on her son Yitzchak and insisted that both he and his mother be sent away.

The influence of corrupt cultures on the descendants of Yitzchak has always been a problem and continues to be one in our own day. While there is no idol worship among us, so many of our alienated Jews have abandoned any connection with G-d. The loose morals in manner of dress and conduct reflect a world devoid of self-control and the growing violence of speech and action are mirrors of the crime and terror so rampant in the world.

Just as our forefathers saw the need to avoid the negative influence of foreign cultures, so must we preserve the unique holiness of our people and thus secure Israel forever.

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