Yeshiva.org.il - The Torah World Gateway
Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Chayei Sara

Talk is Not Cheap

Rabbi Stewart WeissCheshvan 23 5780
13
Click to dedicate this lesson
I must admit: For many years, I never had the highest opinion of Yitzchak. Avraham & Sara were dynamic revolutionaries who changed the world; Yakov was the scholar & the adventurer; Rivka and Rachel the selfless women of valor who lead their husbands to glory. But Yitzchak? He is dragged around throughout his entire life – to the Akeida, to the Chupa, by his wife & kids (it seems appropriate that he lived in the city G’rar, which means "dragged!") He is distant, detached, depressed.

And his name "Yitzchak (laughter);" what’s that all about? This is such a funny guy? I don’t think so!

But, of course, I was naive. I misjudged Yitzchak. I didn’t quite get it. But now I think I do. It starts with a pasuk in our Sedra, the very first time we encounter Yitzchak since the traumatic Akeida. The pasuk says: "And Yitzchak went out in the field la’suach." Rashi translates this word "la'suach" as "praying;" that is, Yitzchak was davening (by tradition, the afternoon/Mincha prayer). But if it means "praying," then why not use the obvious word, "l’hitpalel?"

No, the word clearly comes from the word "siyach," conversation. Yitz wasn’t just praying to G-d; he was also talking to Him! The Medrash asks why all the Matriarchs (including Leah) were initially barren & struggled mightily to have children. The Medrash replies: "Hashem desires tefila v’sicha, the prayer & the talk of the righteous."

Prayer is our lifeline to G-d, a "local call," a unique opportunity to praise, thank, acknowledge, beseech Him. But prayer, my friends, is not enough. G-d also wants us to talk to Him, to express our inner feelings & share our concerns, our thoughts on life, on love, on the world, on G-d. He cares about what we have to say! And though we Jews may be fine daveners, scrupulous in every syllable, we don’t often just pull up a chair & talk to G-d, who, after all, is a Great Listener who won’t ever interrupt us!

Yitzchak has a lot to talk to G-d about. His mother is dead. His father took him to be sacrificed, & he came this close to death (Elie Wiesel called Yitzchak "the first survivor"). He will have trouble communicating with his wife, & massive problems with his kids (sound familiar?). If Yitz spends an inordinate amount of time praying, communing, questioning & discussing with Hashem, can you blame him? The two of them have a lot to work out.

And so do we. There is a time to pray to G-d, & a time to close our Siddur & talk to Him. And I’m not sure which is more holy & more valuable, & which activity He desires most. So - let’s do both! Talk – at least with G-d – is most definitely not cheap; it’s a priceless privilege.
Rabbi Stewart Weiss
Was ordained at the Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Illinois, and led congregations in Chicago and Dallas prior to making Aliyah in 1992. He directs the Jewish Outreach Center in Ra'anana, helping to facilitate the spiritual absorption of new olim.
More on this Topic Chayei Sara
Ask a Question

It is not possible to send messages to the Rabbis through replies system.

את המידע הדפסתי באמצעות אתר yeshiva.org.il