Sedra of the week: Vayera
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Sedra of the week: Vayera

Rabbi Alex Chapper looks ahead to this week's portion of the Torah

Perhaps the most shocking element of the entire Binding of Isaac is the eagerness with which Abraham faces this divine test.

Having been instructed by God to offer Isaac, his precious son, as a sacrifice, the Torah records that Abraham gets up early the next morning and sets about making preparations.

Remember that this is a 137-year-old man. But he is so deeply motivated to fulfil God’s will that he does everything with a genuine enthusiasm, so much so that we derive a principle from here that those who are zealous perform mitzvot at the earliest opportunity.

This episode challenges us to examine what motivates us in life.  What gets us out of bed in the morning?  What excites us and what are we truly passionate about?  What are we so enthusiastic about that nothing can stand in the way?

As we contemplate these questions, we know the three most valuable resources every person possesses are time, money, and energy – and they are all finite. This forces us to make choices about how we utilise them.

But the human condition displays a strange phenomenon – we will often happily expend one or more of these in something that has no lasting value to us or could even be detrimental to us.

Yet when it comes to investing in something that is of enduring worth and beneficial to us, we delay or even spend disproportionate amounts of effort to find excuses why we cannot do it.

Our ancestor Abraham remains an enduring example of the need to focus our resources on the eternal, rather than the ephemeral, and to display at least, if not more, enthusiasm for the things in life that have real, long-lasting and deeper value.

Rabbi Alex Chapper serves Elstree & Borehamwood Synagogue and is the Children’s Rabbi, childrensrabbi.com

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