The Portrait of a Patriarch | Isaac | Parashat Chayei Sarah





The seclusion that characterized Isaac from the very beginning was reinforced in the wake of two important life experiences. The first happened to him at a tender age, when he was forced to part from Ishmael, with whom he had spent his childhood. This parting took place as a result of his mother Sarah’s demands that Ishmael and his Egyptian mother Hagar be banished from the home, arguing, “the son of that slave shall not share in the inheritance with my son Isaac” (Gen. 21:10). The Torah tells us that Abraham was distressed by this act, to which he consented only because the Lord had said to him, “whatever Sarah tells you, do as she says” (Gen. 21:12). We may assume that also young Isaac was greatly saddened to lose his brother.

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