Liiix

2. A. "... and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned" (Gen. 21:8):

B. R. Judah said, "The Great One of the ages was there."

C. R. Yudan in the name of R. Yose bar Haninah: " 'The king made a great feast' (Est. 2:18). The Great One of the ages was there. That is in line with this verse: 'For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good' (Deut. 30:9), in the days of Mordecai and Esther, 'As he rejoiced over your fathers' (Deut. 30:9), in the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."

We see that in this typological reading Israel's history takes place under the aspect of eternity. Events do not take place one time only. Events, to make a difference and so to matter, constitute paradigms and generate patterns. Salvation is always the same; its particularization is all that history records. So we can move in uninterrupted flow from Abraham to Esther to David. The lessons of history, therefore, do not derive from sequences of unique moments but from patterns that generate recurring and reliable rules. That is what I meant when I said that sages read the present in light of the past, rather than following the way of reading the past in light of the present. Given their present, they had little choice. No. 2 explicitly links Isaac's feast with the miracle in the time of Esther, and, should we miss the point, further links the two matters explicitly. The recurrent appeal to the events of the book of Esther should not be missed. The feast for Isaac prefigures the redemption of Israel. The reciprocal flow of merit found its counterpart in the two-way exchange of penalty as well. When Abraham erred, his descendants would pay the price. The merit of the patriarchs and matriarchs sustains, and the failures exact a cost, because the history of the nation and the ongoing life of the family form a single entity in history. That is a point we should not miss.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment