Shabbat Vayeyra

Candles November 18th 4:15pm
Havdalah November 19th 5:09pm

Sarai is barren. In a kind of precursor of surrogacy, her maid Hagar gives birth to a child fathered by Avram. Last week we saw the tension rise between mistress and slave, and Hagar runs away.

At a well called Be’er LeChai Roi (a well where I see life), she is reassured by a Divine message that her son, Yishmael, will survive and be a great ma. But meanwhile she should go back and accept her position.

This week matters get worse. When Yitzchak is born, Yishmael makes fun. Sarai thinks he will be a bad influence and asks Avraham to send mother and child away. Avraham resists. Surprising, given his relationship with Sarai. But God tells him to do as she says.

Hagar and Ishmael are sent away. They wander in the desert. One is again surprised that Avraham did not set them up in a safe location or indeed make better provision for them. But one is also surprised that Hagar, thinking that Ishmael is dying, puts him under a bush and goes and sits further away to see what will happen. It sounds very much like Miriam standing from afar to see what happens to baby Moshe. But here it sounds that Hagar is either bereft of feeling or so distressed that she is in a state of denial.

Then she sees the well. The same well as before, B’eer Lechai Roi, and everything ends happily. They set up home there, and Yishmael thrives. Not only, but later on this is the very place where Yitschak comes to live. They are reconciled and get on together.

So the whole thing seems is staged. Hagar knew where she was going. Avraham knew she would be taken care of, and it all ends happily. Until three-and-half-thousand years later!!!