Our Rosh Hashana 5780 Vort is being sponsored by Avraham and Miriam Deutsch of Efrat wth Special ’Shana Tova wishes for our brethren, the former residents of Gush Katif, as well as wishing Zahal and Kol Am Yisrael L’Shana Tova! To the Deutsch family, many thanks for your continued kindnesses. Avraham and Miriam, may you know only simcha, success, good health, nachas from your children, and only good things in the year to come and in all years to at least 120!
You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.
Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.
Last Rosh Hashanah, we discussed the Akeidah: the binding of Yitzchak for slaughter, which is found near the conclusion of Parshat Vayeira (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 22, posukim 1-19). which is leyned on second day of Rosh Hashanah.
This Rosh Hashanah, we discuss the parsha of Yitzchak’s birth.
It happened that after Avraham’s and Sarah’s journey to Gerar, either due to the destruction of the region of the country where he had resided, or in an effort to “distance [themselves] from Lot.” (Artscroll Stone Chumash commentary on Sefer Breish’t, Perek 20) and their confrontation with Avimelech over his abduction of Sarah, and Hashem’s resultant decree of the plague which struck Avimelech and his household, the Artscroll Stone Chumash renders to English Sefer Breish’t, Perek 20, posuk 17 through Perek 21, posuk 3:
“Avraham prayed to Hashem, and Hashem healed Avimelech, his wife, and his maids, and they were relieved; for Hashem had completely restrained every orifice of the household of Avimelech, because of Sarah, the wife of Avraham.”
“Hashem had remembered Sarah, as He had said; and Hashem did for Sarah as He had spoken. Sarah conceived and bore a son unto Avraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which Hashem had spoken to him. Avraham called the name of his son who was born to him — whom Sarah had borne him — Yitzchak.”
The Artscroll Stone Chumash provides commentary on Sefer Breish’t, Perek 20, posuk 17-18 (page 95):
The punishment for the abduction of Sarah was that the bodily orifices of all of Avimelech people became closed. They could not relieve themselves or give birth until Avraham prayed for them.
That’s all very interesting, but why do we leyn the portion on the birth of Yitzchak on Rosh Hoshanah – day one?
The Artscroll Rosh Hashanah Machzor provides commentary (pages 402-403):
The sages teach that Hashem remembered Sarah and she conceived on Rosh Hashanah. So, too, Hannah, another barren woman whose prayers were answered, conceived on Rosh Hashanah.
“Hashem had remembered Sarah.” The perek before this [perek 20] concluded with Avraham’s prayer that the women of Avimelech’s court be able to conceive. As soon as he prayed for them, Sarah herself conceived. This teaches that “When someone prays of behalf of another when he is in need of that same thing, he is answered first. ” (Artscroll Rosh Hashanah Machzor citing Rashi, The Artscroll Stone Chumash, page 95, cites Bava Kamma 92a)
The Artscroll Stone Chumash provides further commentary (page 95):
The prophecies to Avraham and Sarah, and their joint longings to build the future for which Hashem had created the world, finally found fulfillment with the birth of Sarah’s son…. That a woman who was infertile even in her youth had a child at the age of ninety, established the miraculous nature of Hashem’s Chosen People. Hashem could have just as easily given a child to Sarah in her prime, but that would not have been perceived to demonstrate Divine intervention.
In the previous section (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 20, posuk 17) it is said: “Avraham prayed [for Avimelech]… and they were relieved…” and here it says “and Hashem had [already] remembered Sarah (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 21, posuk 1) — implying that Hashem had filled Sarah’s need before He healed Avimelech. (Artscroll Stone Chumash citing Rashi)
The proximity also teaches that the key to conception is in Hashem’s hand. He withheld it from Avimelech and his servants and gave it to Sarah, as His wisdom dictated. (Artscroll Stone Chumash citing R’ Bachya)
According to tradition, Sarah conceived on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. Therefore, this narrative is the Torah reading of that day, so it will inspire people to follow Sarah’s example of righteousness and prayer.
It would seem then, that Avraham’s supreme dedication to Hashem would serve as a paradigm for Am Yisrael, and ultimately for the nations, of serving and following in the ways of our Divine Creator, The Sovereign over All. And so, it seems that leyning the Parsha of Yitzchak’s birth on the first day of Rosh Hashanah begins to show the power of selflessly praying for others and strongly connect us to a recognition of Hashem’s Kingship and Dominion over all.
May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them and that the twice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, at government expense; both due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. May our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of five years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!
L’Shana Tova! May You, All of My Brothers and Sisters, be Inscribed and Sealed for another Year of Life… Now and always!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.