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Thursday, 25 June 2015

Where are the stars and sand promised to Abraham?

Daf Yomi Nedarim 31

Hashem promised Abraham that his children would be “like the sand of the sea” and “like the stars of the sky.”   And yet we are still “the fewest of all nations!”  What happened to His promise?

One prominent contemporary rabbi has suggested that these words are being fulfilled through the adherents of the three “Abrahamic religions.”  Although we Jews may be few in number, between the other two religions, there are an additional two and a half billion devotees!  Could this have been the meaning of the promise made to Abraham?

Mishnah: If one vows to abstain from the children of Noah, he is permitted to derive benefit from Jews, but forbidden to benefit from gentiles.
The Gemara asks: Why are Jews excluded from Noah’s children?
The Gemara answers: Once Abraham was sanctified, Jews are known by his name instead.
Mishnah: If one vows to abstain from Abraham’s children, he is forbidden from Jews, but permitted to derive benefit from gentiles.
The Gemara asks: How about Ishmael? 
The Gemara answers: The Torah states, “For of Isaac, shall be called your offspring.”
The Gemara asks: How about Esau? 
The Gemara answers:  The Torah states “of Isaac,” meaning not all of Isaac.

As far as the Talmud is concerned, the only progeny of Abraham that bears his name is the Jewish people.  We are no longer deemed ‘children of Noah;’ we bear Abraham’s name alone.   And despite the existence of other children and faiths, who technically stem from him, we are the only true descendants of Abraham. 

What happened to the promise of stars and sand?  Certainly throughout the ages, there have been millions upon millions of Jews.  And when Moshiach arrives, all of our brethren will be resurrected.  What’s more, at the End of Days, everything will revert to the way things were meant to be; meaning that all those who died al Kiddush Hashem (sanctifying G-d’s Name) – thereby losing the opportunity to bring children, grandchildren and future generations into the world – will not just rise themselves, but together with all of their unborn generations! 

Indeed, when Cain killed Abel, G-d told him, “the bloods of your brother are crying out to me from the ground.”  Our Sages explain that the usage of the plural ‘bloods’ implies that it was not just Abel that died, but all his future progeny for all time!   And so without a doubt, G-d’s promise to Abraham will be fulfilled very soon when all potential unborn Jews will join in the resurrection.  But in the meantime, Abraham’s children remain few in number, which makes our bond with Heaven all the more extraordinary. 

You are special.  You are unique.  You were chosen as a child of Abraham and Sarah to have a special relationship with the Almighty.  That right was not granted to just anyone.  You have an important mission to fulfill on earth that only a select few were chosen for.  Just like your forefather Abraham, you were handpicked to be a Divine ambassador.  All citizens may travel the world but not everyone works for the “Foreign Service.”  You do.

If everyone had the special relationship with G-d, it wouldn’t be special anymore.  You are a chosen soul that was singled out from billions of souls to serve.  May you forever remember your unique place in this world and your mission as a child of the Almighty!  You were sent here to accomplish great things!