October 31, 2020 |

God has Heard

The angel of God tells Hagar, the Egyptian handmaid, that the name of Abraham's son whom she will bear will be Yishmael.

That name means God has heard.

For Hagar is suffering. And the Lord has heard the affliction that Hagar has suffered. And the name Yishmael tells of God's hearkening to that suffering.

Yishma El: God has heard.

And Abraham does, in fact, call his son's name, whom Hagar bore, Yishmael.

But we do not see Hagar mention the angel. And so it would seem that Abraham names his son Yishmael all on his own.

On his own, Abraham has seen the suffering of the Egyptian handmaid.

On his own, too, Abraham has seen how God hears the suffering of the afflicted.

And so he names his son Yishmael.

Then God makes his Covenant with Abraham.

And God gives Abraham a new name, Abraham , which before was Abram; Abraham connoting father of many nations.

Abraham knows God's mercy towards suffering people. This knowing is allows him to become father of many nations. This knowing is what lets him enter a Covenant with God.

It is the source of his name.


Abe Mezrich

Joined: October 11, 2007

Abe Mezrich is a new-York based writer and lecturer, and the author of a weekly dvar Torah. Contact him at amezrich@gmail.com.

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Chaya Kaplan-Lester

Joined: March 6, 2011

Chaya Kaplan-Lester is a psychotherapist, Jewish educator and writer. She is co-founder of The Jerusalem Center for Transformative Torah and Therapy. Her "Parsha Poetry" commetaries are popular across the Jewish spectrum, and can be found weekly on the Jerusalem Post online (along with youtube video...

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