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November 20, 1987 - Image 37

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-11-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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SS GIFTS,
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RECORDING STUDIOS

INVITES YOU TO SING
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Isaac: The Strong Link
In The Jewish Chain

RABBI MORTON F. YOLKUT

Special to The Jewish News

T

he founders of the Jew-
ish people are known
as Patriarchs. They in-
clude the names of Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob. Abraham
was the revolutionary, the
father of our people, "the rock
whence we were hewn," as
Isaiah later described him.
Jacob was also a dynamic
figure who played a promi-
nent role during the for-
mative years of our history.
Isaac was quite different.
In a dramatic contrast to
his father and to his son,
Isaac is almost a silent figure.
He darts like a shadow across

Shabbat Toledot:
Genesis
25:19;28:9,
Malachi 1:1-2:7

the pages of the Torah saying
little, doing little. He is esen-
tially a passive personality.
He submitted to the akedah,
to become a sacrifice to God
without any verbal protest;
he accepted the wife that was
chosen for him without any
comment; and when the
Philistines disputed his
rights to a well, he retreated.
Rather than doing things,
things are done to him. It is
as if he has no role to play.
The fact, however, remains
that Isaac, despite his
relatively unimpressive
biography, became one of the
three great patriarchs whose
characteristics and deeds
Jews have tried to emulate
throughout generations. The
truth is that just as the world
needs movers and shakers,
men of thunder and lightn-
ing, it also needs people who
go about doing their tasks
quietly, consistently and
faithfully. The welfare and
stability of a people or a com-
munity depend not only on
their conspicuous leaders but
also on their loyal members.
If Abraham lived again in
Jacob, then the credit is due
to Isaac. He maintained the
continuity not only physical-
ly, but spiritually.

The opening verse of this
week's sidrah succinctly cap-
tures the essence of Isaac's
life story. "These are the
generations of Isaac,
Abraham's son . . . Abraham

Morton F. Yolkut is rabbi at Cong.
B'nai David.

gave birth to Isaac." He was
his father's son, and that was
his distinctive greatness. He
respected his inheritance. He
did not squander his
patrimony, the fruits of his
father's labor. He guarded the
spiritual legacy which his
father had entrusted to his
care and he successfully
transmitted it to his descen-
dants. Isaac was never a trail-
blazing leader, he was a
strong link and a loyal
follower.
Here is an aspect of life
which is rarely appreciated.
To do no more than transmit
the wisdom and creativity of
the past to new hands is, in
itself, an important enter-
prise. If sometimes we wonder
about the significance of our
lives, our role as the link bet-
ween the generations is
enough to justify our ex-
istence. By serving as a link,
we enable the coming genera-
tion to do as good a job as they
possibly can do. But we do
more than provide a link bet-
ween the past and the future.
Our seemingly mundane
labors are the raw material of
which the leaders and great
men make tomorrow. The suc-
cess of a people or a communi-
ty is dependent more on its
many obscure members than
on its few conspicuous
leaders. The apathy of the
masses may more than
counterbalance the zeal of the
leaders.
The work of Abraham
would not have borne fruit if
there had not been Isaac, to
assist the cause. And it is by
that assistance that Isaac is
classed on equal status with
Abraham and Jacob, for he,
too, shared in their great
achievements.
If we wish to perpetuate the
history of our people, we must
not assign the task to the ac-
complishments of the few. It
is to the large body of or-
dinary men and women we
have to look. Our faith-
community must resemble a
pyramid; it can only stand
firm on a broad base. It re-
quires the loyalty of the
masses — not the charisma of
the few — to guarantee the
future.
If we do not have the abili-
ty or the inclination to seek
prominence in the life of our
people, like an Abraham or a
Jacob, let us see to it that we
at least emulate the
faithfulness and devotion of
an Isaac. The Jewish world
can get along without
Abrahams and Jacobs, it can
not survive without Isaacs in
every generation.

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CONGREGATION B'NAI MOSHE TORAH CLUB

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series of lectures and discussions

led by

Rabbi Allan S . Meyerowitz

November 29, 1987 - 7:00 P.M. - The Patriarchs and Matriarchs:
The Stronger of the Sexes.
January 17, 1988 - 7:00 P.M. - The Exodus: The Price of
Freedom.
- 7:00 P.M. - The Ten Commandments:
February 7, 1988
Liberation or Slavery?
- 7:00 P.M. - The Golden Calf:
March 13, 1988
Can Man Talk with G-d?
- 7:00 P.M. - Sacrifices, Purity and the
April 10, 1988
Occult in Judaism.
- 7:00 P.M. - The Holiness Code and
May 1, 1988
Jewish Business Law.

JOIN US!!!

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