Lech Lecha 5762-2001

"Understanding Ishmael"

In order to truly understand Ishmael, we need to know the background of his mother, Hagar, the Egyptian princess, who abandoned her pampered royal life to serve as a handmaiden in the home of Abram and Sarah. After Hagar is expelled from the house by Sarah, she is promised by the angel that she will bear a child, Ishmael. Eventually, Hagar and Ishmael are again cast out, this time by Abraham, into the wilderness. The expulsion is the start of the great struggle between the children of Ishmael and the children of Israel. If we are ever to bring peace to our embattled planet, it is important to understand the endowments and strengths of Ishmael.

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Vayeira 5761-2000

"Mount Moriah: Build for the Future through Love"

The place where G-d tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac is known as Mount Moriah. This place, located in the heart of Jerusalem, is where the Temple was eventually built. The Midrash teaches that G-d selected Mount Moriah as the place for Jewish worship because of the brotherly love and devotion practiced there. If we are to re-acquire Mount Moriah, it can only be done through the practice of fraternity and love.

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