The son of this slave will not share the inheritance.
HaRav Dove Begon – Head of Machon Meir
As of Now
Sarah commanded Abraham, “Drive away this slave together with her son. The son of this slave will not share the inheritance with my son Isaac,” and the Torah commented, “This troubled Abraham very much on account of his son” (Genesis 21:10-11). For Abraham, a man of kindness whose whole being was devoted to reaching out to those far removed, it was exceedingly painful to part from his son, but G-d commanded him, “Do not be troubled because of the boy and your slave. Do everything that Sarah tells you.” (Ibid., v. 12). Rashi comments, “Because Ruach Hakodesh [prophetic intuition] speaks from her throat. She is greater than you in prophecy.”
While Abraham acted in accordance with the emotions of a loving, merciful father, he was now forced to send Ishmael and Hagar into the desert, out of recognition of the truth of Sarah’s words.
Right now, the intent to separate from the Arabs, Ishmael’s descendants, as a solution to the Arab-Jewish conflict, seems similar to Abraham’s separating himself from Ishmael. Yet the two are really exceedingly different. It is true that Abraham sent Ishmael into the desert because he well understood Sarah’s argument, “The son of this slave will not share the inheritance with my son Isaac.” Yet the intent today to separate from the Arabs, and simultaneously to leave them in control over parts of the land of our ancestors is in opposition to Abraham’s deed. As it says, “Abraham gave all that he owned to Isaac” (Genesis 25:5; see Sanhedrin 91a).
This effort is inherently doomed and will not succeed. As many predicted the power struggle between the Jews and the Arabs for control over our land continues today. We therefore have a need of, and must gather, military strength, and no less than that, spiritual resources, to fight for our survival and our control over Eretz Yisrael.
Yet the sword will not consume forever. The divine promise, “For the L-rd will not cast off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance” (Psalms 94:14), shall live and endure forever and ever. Both the Arabs and the other nations will ultimately recognize the right of the Jewish People to rule over Eretz Yisrael, and they will repent: “When the L-rd brings back the captivity of Zion, we will be like dreamers…. Then the nations will say, ‘The L-rd has done great things for them, and He has done great things for us as well’ ” (Psalms 126:1-2).
Only then will the vision of Isaiah be fulfilled: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4).
Trials — The Akeidah and Today
“After these events, G-d tested Abraham” (Genesis 22:1). Abraham had just forged a covenant with Avimelech in which he temporarily gave up parts of Eretz Yisrael. He thought that through dialogue and agreements with Avimelech he would be able to alter the unsavory traits of Avimelech and his people: “Abraham complained to Avimelech about the well that Avimelech’s servants had taken by force” (21:25). Yet Avimelech “played dumb,” answering, “I don’t know who could have done such a thing. You never told me! I heard nothing about it until today” (21:26). Even so, Abraham forged a covenant with him, and that covenant brought upon Abraham the severest trial he had ever faced, the Akeidah [the binding of Isaac]. As a result of that trial, the Jewish People have suffered throughout the generations, and they continue to suffer. As Rashbam teaches (Genesis 22:1), G-d grew angry at Abraham, so “He troubled and vexed him… He said to him, ‘You were so bold as to take the son I gave you and to forge a covenant that will apply between him and Avimelech’s children? Take Isaac and bring him as an offering. We shall see what comes of your covenant.” That miserable accord led to our being defeated in wars, to the destruction of the First and Second Temples, and to other things…
Today as well, we are facing an exceedingly difficult trial and paying a heavy price for the miserable agreement with the Arabs. Those who signed that agreement hoped it would bring about dialogue and peace and a change in the Arabs’ relationship and behavior towards the Jewish People and State.
An agreement that includes giving up parts of Eretz Yisrael, even a single millimeter of our holy land, is null and void. It has no moral force and will not bring our enemies to change their hostile relationship to the State of Israel, as we are clearly seeing now.
Only G-d’s covenant and oath are in force: “On that day, the L-rd made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants I have given this land’” (Genesis 15:18); “I have sworn by My own Essence…. that Your offspring shall inherit their enemies’ gate” (22:16-17). The result of this will be that “all the nations of the world shall be blessed through your descendants” (verse 18).
Likewise, it says, “The L-rd gives strength to His people” (Psalm 29:11). Only through that strength will G-d “bless them with peace” (Ibid.