This week we learn about the various trials and tribulations of Avrohom Avinu (Abraham). He was told, By Hashem, to leave his father’s house and go to a land that would be pointed out to him at a later time.
This turned out to be Israel which G-d promised to his descendants. As soon as he arrived there was a famine of epic proportions. He moved to Egypt where his wife was captured and nearly violated by the King. G-d punished him with boils so he released her.
Lot was captured during the war of the 4 kings and 5 kings and was rescued by Avrohom.
We read about the birth of Yishmael, the father of the Arabs. We read about the impending slavery of the Jews in Egypt and the birth of Yitzchock.
At the end of the sedra G-d commands Avrohom to circumcise himself and his children. This he does at the age of 99. Yishmael was 13 at his circumcision.
When Sarah saw she didn’t have any children, she offered her maidservant as a wife to her husband. She became pregnant straight away. When Sarah found out she was pregnant, she acted horribly towards her and she fled.
Why did Sarah act horribly to Hagar when she became pregnant?
According to the Ramban (nachmonidies) this was a sin. He goes on to say that because of this sin G-d made Yishmael into a strong powerful nation.
So, if Sarah the matriarch made a mistake by making someone else’s life unbearable and got punished, how much more so us. We should take a lesson from here not to upset people, tease them or cause people pain. No matter what the circumstances are.
We can also see this from the story at the beginning of the book of Samuel where Peninah had children and Channah had none. Peninah teased Channa in order to make her pray harder. In the end Peninah lost all but two of her children and Chanah went on to have 5 children.
If we all treated people equally with respect hopefully we will merit seeing the coming of Moshiach.
In this week sedra Hashem promises Avrohom he will have lots of descendants. The first time he compares them to the dust and the second time he compares them to the stars. The analogy to dust could also be as follows;-
Just like people walk on dust so people will walk all over your children, but when we are compared to the stars that could be the idea that we will shine through the darkness.