Religion & Beliefs

Real Talk Parsha: Vayera

Now this week’s portion is full of all kinds of juicy bits. After circumcising himself and having tea with his three visitors, Abraham’s first official act as a Jew is to haggle with Gd. No seriously. Abraham tries to jew … Read More

By / November 5, 2009

Now this week’s portion is full of all kinds of juicy bits.

After circumcising himself and having tea with his three visitors, Abraham’s first official act as a Jew is to haggle with Gd. No seriously. Abraham tries to jew Gd out of destroying Sodom, eventually trying to weasel some redemption out of him for the low low price of ten righteous guys. Abraham fails, because, y’know, he’s up against GD, and in atonement for this, Abraham’s descendants are cursed to haggle with everyone they ever meet in life, ever.

Also, we are introduced to the evil that is Sodom and Gomorrah, whom the midrash takes the time to expound on the depths of their evil. Now to all you religious parents out there: Sure, you worry about what your kids see on TV and stuff, but you should really watch some of those midrashes, too. I remember me in my pre-teen years trying my darndest to convince myself how evil Sodom was when I read that they buried one of Lot’s daughter’s alive in a nest of ants while naked and covered in honey. Wasn’t very succesful.

Tween Me: Damn those Sodomites, covering naked women in honey. That’s just…that’s just horrible…and, uh, evil…and stuff…Bastards…

Anyhoo, somewhere in that whole ordeal Lot gets it on with not one, but BOTH of his daughters. Fantastic. And by "fantastic", I mean "WTFFNSWTF?" ("What the f**ing f**k? No, seriously, what the f**k?")

In more child troubles, Sarah tells Abraham to kick Ishmael out because she doesn’t like the cut of his jib or how he treats Isaac. Abraham says they’re just kids having fun. The midrash tells us that Ishmael used to shoot arrows at Isaac. Really? Is that what you think kids do for fun?? Although, in Abraham’s defense, his childhood consisted of dodging sacrifice duty, ducking armed guards from the king and playing hopscotch in burning furnaces. He probably wished someone would just shoot arrows at him.

At last, we end with the Binding of Isaac. Great stuff. A father selflessly sacrificing his son. A son eager to help his father fulfill a divine commandment. The midrash says, in fact, that Isaac asked Abraham to tie his hands so that he [Isaac] didn’t inadvertently invalidate the sacrifice. Yeah, okay. I’m sure that’s how that went down.

Isaac: Father?

Abraham: Here I am, my son.

Isaac: Behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?

Abraham: Gd will seek Himself out the lamb for the sacrifice.

Isaac: Um…Okay. I mean, it was kinda Gd’s idea for us to come out here and offer a sacrifice, so, I dunno, just seems kinda random.

Abraham: Gd works in mysterious ways.

Isaac:…Alright…Anyhoo, can I at least hold something? I mean, you’ve got the firewood and the matches and everything. I kinda don’t see why I’m even here, rea–

[Isaac has moment of realization]

Isaac: Are you SERIOUS?

Abraham: Uh…Gd will seek Hims–

Isaac: Oh, save it, alright! Dammit! You couldn’t have told me this three days ago? "Hey son, wanna go for a trip where I end up killing you at the end"? Sacrifice me? Yeah. Better tie my @ss down, old man.

 

[Disclaimer: Please, do not expect "Real Talk" to make actual Biblical sense. If you are looking for a legitimate commentary of meaning and substance, this ain't the place. It's less "Onkelos" and more "Onion", get me?]