November 1, 2001
A Portion of Parshat Vayera
Here is another action-packed parsha: First, Abraham takes in three angels, who tell him he will have a son. Then, God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah because its people were very wicked. Then, Sarah throws Hagar and Hagar's son Ishmael out of her house, but God saves them from thirst by giving them a well. Finally, God tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, but then saves Isaac at the last minute.
What I find most amazing is Abraham's argument with God. God tells Abraham to do so many painful things -- to leave his country, to be circumcised, to sacrifice his own son -- and Abraham, who has the greatest of faith in God, has always jumped right in and done what God tells him to do. But when God says he will destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham stands up to God and argues: What if there are 50 good people? He bargains with God, and God finally agrees. If there is even one good person, God will not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham, who has gone through so much in his long and full life, still thinks about other people and their suffering.
You are probably a very busy person too -- you have regular school, and Hebrew school, and maybe soccer, art, ballet, drama or karate. Take one minute every day to think of others, and do something nice for them.