Choose Life Not Death
In this week’s Torah portion, Vayera (Genesis 18:1–22:24), God commands Abraham to circumcise his son Isaac eight days after his birth. Thirty-seven years later, God tests Abraham by commanding him to offer his son on Mt. Moriah.
Contrary to the prevalent pagan custom, God uses this test to demonstrate to Abraham that the Jewish people must reject human sacrifice and embrace life. The prophet Samuel put it this way, “To obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Sam. 15:22).
Today, we are witnessing a battle between evil forces that glorify death and Judaism which celebrates life. One of the most profound passages in the Torah states, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, so that you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
May we speedily see the day when God will transform the nations of the world and “all of them will call on the name of the Lord and serve Him” (Zephaniah 3:9). Then we will witness the fulfillment of the well-known (Oseh shalom) prayer, “May He who makes peace in his high places, make peace upon us, and on all of Israel – Amen.”
Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz
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