This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
The Strangest Shidduch
Imagine the holy son of a saintly Rebbe marrying the daughter of a renowned atheist, straight off a socialist commune. Pretty far-fetched, no?
This week's Torah portion talks of a very similar shidduch (match). We read the story of the marriage of Isaac and Rebecca -- the first Jewish wedding. The shadchan (matchmaker) who conjured this shidduch certainly had a very active imagination. It is difficult to find two people who stemmed from more different environments.
On one side there was Isaac, the first Jew who was "holy from birth," born to righteous parents and entered into the covenant with G-d when he was eight days old. He was raised in a home of holiness and purity, and was consecrated to G-d when he was "sacrificed" by his father on Mount Moriah. He was so holy, in fact, that he was forbidden to leave the sacred confines of the Land of Israel.
Want It All
There's a story the Lubavitcher Rebbe liked to tell about a five-year-old child and a 99-year-old man. The child was Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneerson, born on the 20th of Cheshvan 5621 (1860), who served as the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe from 1882 until his passing in 1920. The 99-year-old man lived 36 centuries earlier; his name was Abraham and he was the first Jew.
The story goes like this:
On the occasion of his fourth or fifth birthday, Rabbi Sholom DovBer visited his grandfather, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch. Upon entering his grandfather's room, the child burst into tears. His teacher in cheder had taught them that week's Torah reading, Vayeira (Genesis 18:1-22:24), which begins, "And G‑d revealed himself to Abraham..." Why, wept the child, doesn't G‑d reveal Himself to me?
Jew: Noun or Verb?
What is a Jew?
Here is Webster's take:
Jew \΄jü\ n 2. one whose religion is Judaism - Jew·ish adj
But what is Judaism?
Ju·da·ism \΄jü-de-i-zem, - dā-, dē-\ n 1 a religion developed among the ancient Hebrews…
Is this definition consistent with Judaism's definition of itself?
The first Jew was Abraham. Our first real encounter with Abraham is in the context of his first G‑d-given commandment.
The following is how that encounter began.