THEMES of Featured Mystical Classics Articles

Here to Serve
Slavery in Egypt was preparation for becoming servants of G‑d.
One reason the Holy Land is referred to as the "Land of Canaan" quite often, even after the Jewish people took possession of it, is that the word "Canaan" is derived from the Hebrew word "hachna'a", meaning "submission". The message to Israel is that as long as they submit to the will of G d, the Land remains theirs.
The First Priest
Malki-Tzedek lost his priesthood because he blessed Abraham before he blessed G-d.
The Torah reports Malki-Tzedek's arrival to contrast the behavior of the wicked and that of the just. Whereas MalkiTzedek came with gifts and a blessing though Abraham had done nothing for him, the king of Sodom came empty-handed, although he owed Abraham a great debt of gratitude for having saved both his life and his kingdom.
Suspect Sister
Suspect Sister
When Abraham added that "my soul would remain alive", he did not refer only to his physical survival.
"Please say that you are my sister, so soul will live."

The words "my soul will live" is an allusion to Sarah's remaining spiritually uncontaminated. We have a tradition that the reason a righteous person consumes physical food is not to indulge his senses but to satisfy the needs of his soul to carry on his task in life. Abraham was motivated by similar considerations.
Son of Sarah
Holy Isaac was Abraham and Sarah's true progeny.
"G-d said: 'But your wife Sarah will bear a son for you'"

The Ohr HaChaim explains that G-d added the word "but" to explain to Abraham that if the gift of a son was something intended only for Abraham, it would suffice to grant his prayer and assist Ishmael to become worthy. However Abraham had no right to waive the gift of a son by Sarah on this account.
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