Monday, October 18, 2010

Vayeira: The Akeida of Yishmael

Yishmael and Hagar: the Muslim claim that the Akeida involved Yishmael

Simple observation: the story that Hashem told Avraham to listen to Sara and to send away Hagar and Yishmael parallels the story of the akeidah, in that the son almost died, and was saved at the last moment by (21:17) ...vayikra malach Elokim el Hagar min hashamayim...., and the malach showed the spring to Hagar, which she had not seen until that moment.  Very similar to Akeidah.  It seems to me that Hagar failed a test here, and so the result for Yishmael was very different than the result for Yitzchak.  So, yes, there was an “akeida” for Yishmael.  But the people involved failed.


  1. so where did hagar fail ?
    not seeing the well demonstrates the failure , but what was the test?
    unless you argue that seeing the salvation is the test/ success.
    then for avraham seeind the ram is the success [ as has been suggested by various darshanim]
    but that doesn't sound like pshat

  2. Don't know. I assumed the outcome, and now I have to interpolate.

  3. Yeah, the Koran is full of fairy tales, just like the Arab fairy tales of "Thousand nights and one night". I think their Koran can be renamed "Palestinian nights and one day", as Palestine is a fairy tale country which the Moslems think they will have one day. And for more on this subject, you can check my latest blog on

  4. Shalom & a good Winter!

    I didn't find the idea that here we learn about כח התפלה in Maharil Diskin - could you please give a ref? or is it your own?

    In my edition (p. 46-47) he suggests two pshatim (i) Avraham will be able to use the story of Sdom to rebuke his descendants (ii) the prayers of Avraham, not answered at the time, will benefit his children in the coming generation [btw, I am looking for the first source for the currently popular idea of "אין תפלה ששבה ריקם"]

  5. Shalom to you, Eli. Too bad you couldn't join us for Sukkot- it would have been a balaganeiden.

    I wonder if is of any use to you. But in any case, I would like to see what you come up with.

  6. R' Tzadok also discusses (Pri Tzadik, Vayeirah #5) the chidush of tefilah here. Avraham's tefilos did help -- the caused Lot to be saved, and Lot gave rise to David haMelech = A'ni tefilah".

    The Alter of Slabodka (Ohr Tzafun) has an interesting formulation of essentially the same idea. Hashem is the embodiment of the midah of "nosei avon." Our mission is to imitate. L'chorah if Hashem decides and reveals that Sdom's time is up, then we should say, "b'avod resha'im rinah" -- if Hashem's "nosei avon" is exhausted, then what's left for us? Kah mashma lan that we can still be mispallel.
    Hashem's giluy of impendimg punishment that ellicits the tefilah is itself an expression of his willingness to be "nosei avon," but only if we ask.