The Sacred Mission of Parenthood

He did not rule any empire, did not command any army, did not perform miracles, did not lead a huge crowd of believers, and his only follower was his son. And still, more than half the people living today on earth see themselves as followers on his path. Why, really? What is it in him, in Avraham? Here is an explanation given by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who explains that the Torah’s answer to the choosing of Avraham is surprising, and even moving. Avraham was simply chosen to be a father. First of all – a father. And these are the words of the Portion: “כִּי יְדַעְתִּיו לְמַעַן אֲשֶׁר יְצַוֶּה אֶת בָּנָיו וְאֶת בֵּיתוֹ אַחֲרָיו וְשָׁמְרוּ דֶּרֶךְ ה’ לַעֲשׂוֹת צְדָקָה וּמִשְׁפָּט.” – “For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice”. And indeed, all the big events in Avraham’s life – the waiting for a child, the birth of Ishmael, the tension between Sarah and Hagar, the birth of Isaac and his binding – they are all related to his role as a father. Judaism sees parenthood as the highest, most sublime of challenges. In order to understand what is G-d and what is our relationship with him, we do not need research studies, theories or proofs. It is enough to know what it is to be a parent. This is not a natural phenomenon, but a sacred mission. Avraham is first of all our father, and Sarah is first of all our mother. The Portion reminds us this week that this is one of the most significant roles in a person’s life.

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סיון רהב-מאיר

Sivan Rahav-Meir is a media personality and lecturer. Married to Yedidya, the mother of five. Lives in Jerusalem. She works for Israel TV news, writes a column for Yediot Aharonot newspaper, and hosts a weekly radio show on Galei Zahal (Army Radio). Her lectures on the weekly Torah portion are attended by hundreds and the live broadcast attracts thousands more listeners throughout the world.
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