Monday, November 02, 2015

Avraham, Sarah, and family--this story makes no sense

First, HaShem tells Avraham that he's going to have many descendants.

But HaShem doesn't bother telling Sarah.  HaShem stands by, schtum (silently), while Sarah gives her slave Hagar to her husband as a "surrogate mother."

Then, HaShem gets on Sarah's case for laughing within herself when told that she'll have a baby even though she's already menopausal.  (I think it would be reasonable to assume that Sarah figured out it was G-d doing the talking when G-d heard her silent laugh.)

Then, after Sarah finally has the promised baby--at least 10 years too late to prevent family conflict--Avraham, that loving father, sends his first-born son off into the desert with nothing but a canteen of water and a loaf of bread.

After which G-d orders Avraham to take his remaining son up to a mountaintop and slit his throat.

Note that Avraham stands up for Sodom, but not for his own son, in the same parshah (Vayera).

Note, also, that after having barely escaped being killed by his own father, Yitzchak (Isaac) doesn't seem to have come home with his dear old dad (leading the rabbis of old to engage in a regular midrash-fest of explanations regarding where he may have gone.)

In this week's parshah, Chayyei Sarah, the Life of Sarah, Sarah dies.  Then Avraham sends his servant to fetch a bride for Yitzchak.  How Yitzchak even knew about this, I have no clue, but he's perfectly happy to accept this "gift" given in absentia by his father--there's no evidence, based on the text, that Yitzchak ever saw his father alive again--as his wife.

Then Avraham dies, and his first-born son, Yishmael, shows up to help bury the father who expelled him.

Where's the logic in this story?  Methinks Spock would disapprove.

Links to some of my previous Chayyei Sarah (Chayei Sarah--whatever) posts.


Blogger Richardf8 said...

Then Avraham dies, and his first-born son, Yishmael, shows up to help bury the father who expelled him.

Meir Shalev argues in his book beginnings that this is a moment in which both sons can bear witness for themselves to the demise of this monstrous figure in their lives. i.e, Ishmael shows up to observe that Abraham "is not merely dead, but truly most sincerely dead" as the Coroner of Munchkinland would have noted.

Mon Nov 02, 08:46:00 PM 2015  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Indeed, Avraham as a father, and also as a husband, left a lot to be desired. We learn from him how to *avoid* behaving. :(

Tue Nov 03, 11:48:00 AM 2015  

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