Bereishis 21: 5. And Abraham was a hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born to him.
Yitzhak is born to Abraham and Sarah a miracle in every way. It is a further confirmation of Abraham’s connection to Hashem. Yitzhak represents Abraham’s heart’s desire for in Yitzhak does he hope to pass on his wisdom and connection to Hashem. It is his heart’s desire because once linked with Hashem his heart’s desire must appear.
It is not just a nation that Abraham begun here but a whole new way of thinking about the world and our relationship to it. The relationship with Hashem is intimate and personal and does not just result in a raised level of spirituality. This spirituality has its physical counterpart as we will see demonstrated repeatedly throughout Torah.
Bereishis 21: 6. And Sarah said, “God has made joy for me; whoever hears will rejoice over me.”
Yitzhak means laughter symbolizing the great joy referenced in the above verse. It is the capacity for complete certainty too and the sense of well being that results from this. It is really another way for Sarah to praise Hashem too because even though Sarah laughed at the thought that she could conceive of a son at her advanced age Hashem made this seemingly impossible event take place.
Abraham has another son Yishmael with Hagar the Egyptian. He does not act as Yitzhak does following the way of Abraham but instead engages in idolatrous practices.
The Zohar on this section weighs in with the following:
(Zohar Vayera 486) Rabbi Shimon said: This passage shows that Sarah is praiseworthy. Because she saw him participating in idolatrous practices, she said: This boy is definitely not the son of Avraham, who shall follow the example of Avraham. Rather, he is the son of Hagar the Egyptian, as he has returned to his mother’s way of life. Because of this, “she said to Avraham, ‘Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, with Yitzchak'” (Bereishis 21:10).
It was Yishmael’s nature to be in the world of material pursuits. He does not follow his father Abraham in his spirituality. Because of this he and his mother are forced to leave Abraham’s camp. It is a harsh decree and yet in order for both to grow strong the separation was decreed and indeed blessed by Hashem.
Bereishis: 21: 13. But also the son of the handmaid I will make into a nation, because he is your seed.”
As we see the divine plan unfolds as it will each step according Hashem. Yishmael is only mentioned twice by name in the previous Parasha Lech Lecha
Bereishis: 16:11. And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Behold, you will conceive and bear a son, and you shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard your affliction.
Bereishis: 17:20. And regarding Ishmael, I have heard you; behold I have blessed him, and I will make him fruitful, and I will multiply him exceedingly; he will beget twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.
Yishmael is only referred to as the son of Hagar the Egyptian, or the lad. This is to emphasize the distinction between the path of righteousness which Yitzhak will follow and the path of materiality that Yishmael will foster. Both by the way are blessed by Hashem. More to come…B”H
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