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The Abraham Accords and the New Israeli Government: Abraham’s Promise of Reconciliation and Peace Becomes Real

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On the first day of Rosh Hashanah the liturgy includes the story of the expulsion of Abraham’s son Ishmael, father of the Arab nation and Hagar his mother perhaps foreshadowing an eternal battle between Arabs and Jews.

“Sarah said to Abraham, “Cast out that slave-woman and her son, for the son of that slave shall not share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

The matter distressed Abraham greatly, for it concerned a son of his…

But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed over the boy or your slave; whatever Sarah tells you, do as she says, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be continued for you.”

Early next morning Abraham took some bread and a skin of water, and gave them to Hagar. He placed them over her shoulder, together with the child, and sent her away. And she wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba…

When the water was gone from the skin, she left the child under one of the bushes and went and sat down at a distance, a bowshot away; for she thought, “Let me not look on as the child dies.” And sitting thus afar, she burst into tears…

Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water, and let the boy drink…

God was with the boy and he grew up…”

This seems like a very strange Torah reading for
Rosh Hashanah when in Rabbi Jonathan Sacks words:
“God judges the whole world and decides on their fate for the coming year. It is as if the world has become a court- room. God Himself is the Judge. The shofar announces that the court is in session, and we are on trial, giving an account of our lives.”

Each time the shofar blows we respond:

Today is the birthday of the world. Today all creatures of the world stand in judgement…whether as children of God or as
servants. If as children be merciful with us as the mercy of a father for children.…until You be gracious to us and release our verdict clear and pure as light, O Awesome and Holy One.

We ask God to judge us as a father judges his children with love and compassion so the story of Hagar and Ishmael seems like a poor choice of a story to excite the compassion of God for his people or for us.

But there may be more to it than what’s on the surface and like Hagar we need to open our........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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