As we prepare to read the twinned stories of the banishment of Ishmael and the binding of Isaac we revisit this installment from our The BEST series, in which our editor Jeffrey Saks offered a reading of Marilynne Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "Gilead." In this work about fathers and sons, and our Father in heaven and His children, Robinson (a devout Christian) puts into the mouth of her protagonist an extended homily on the Patriarch Abraham and his sons.
Genesis 18—read this Shabbat—presents Abraham and Sarah’s welcoming angelic strangers into their home who bear the sweet prophecy that the couple will finally have a child together. It is as if their reward for their generous hospitality is this news; to say it slightly differently, perhaps the appearance of the strangers was a test. But why are angels dispatched to deliver to Abraham and Sarah “news” which is not news at all, and which was in fact the central focus of the previous chapter? Eitan Mayer offers answers…
As we find ourselves this week during the “hol ha-moed” between Israel’s fifth trip to the ballot box in less than four years and next Tuesday’s contentious American election we dip into the TRADITION archives for the best writing and thought on democracy as a Jewish virtue, with offerings by Shalom Carmy, Michael Avi Helfand, and Gerald Blidstein z”l.
Readers may have been following the complicated and disturbing story out of Israel’s Assuta Medical Center, in which a fertilized embryo was mistakenly implanted in the wrong woman. This episode touches on medical, legal, and halakhic issues of Solomonic complexity in myriad ways. Over the years TRADITION has published numerous articles which address and anticipated aspects of the case.