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Parsha Vayeira 2021

The Matei Efrayim a Halachic work, in his discussion of Rosh Hashannah states That we should mourn over the loss of Righteous individuals so that it will turn our hearts of stone into hearts that are ready to repent, and that in the merit of the death of the righteous our repentance will be more readily accepted by G-d above. This is the message given with the holiday most closely associated with our Parsha here, well in reality it is both Rosh Hashannah the day of Judgement, and Yom Kippur the day of Atonement that the Akediah most resonates with our souls. It is at this time that it is said that Hashem remembers the binding of Yitzhak and in his merit we seek the atonement of our sins, how much more so the Moshiach who died because of our sins. It is not just in Matei Efrayim that we see this play out but I lead with quoting him because unlike the other places we see this idea of the death of the righteous helping with the atonement of our soul it is the only Halachic work I have found stating it so clearly, it is in fact integral to the Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur services.

Matei Efrayim in the Hebrew is below, so you or a friend you know can see for yourselves.

The quoted portion is from Matei Efrayim Siman 619:51.

זה בכי יותך ויצטער על מיתת הצדיקים . וגם ישתתף בצרת אהרן אביהם קדוש הי כי תקראנה אותו כאלה ויתן מרך בלבבו לב האבן ויעתר אל הי וירצהו וישב אל הי וירחמהו ותהיה תשובתו רצןיה ומקבלת ביותר בעת ההיא בזכות הצדיקים הללו.

Below you will see from the Talmud in Zevachim 62a a further reference to the death of the righteous atoning for our sin, as it says it shows Michael the Archangel standing in Heaven offering the souls of the righteous on the altar in Heaven, this may be the foundation for such belief that the early believers in Yeshua tied their belief in Yeshua and his atoning death to. Yeshua himself spoke of it, but it was also in the larger Jewish world as well.

“The Gemara answers that Rabbi Elazar says: They saw a vision of the altar already built and Michael the archangel standing and sacrificing offerings upon it. אמר רבי אלעזר ראו מזבח בנוי ומיכאל השר הגדול עומד ומקריב עליו

And to tie all this to the Parsha this week we see this quote of the Malbim on this weeks Parsha, he also mentions the same idea of the righteous being offered on the altar, which functions as the point of topic for Isaac being offered as an Olah sacrifice on the altar. This idea is an idea that is often ignored when we talk of the sacrifice of Yeshua, it is not that Yeshua was not different, but it is more that his death is a greater more intense functioning of a system recognized in Halachic sources, as well as Talmud, and commentaries on the Torah. Here is the Malbim quote. We use the Halachic rule of Kal v’Chomer to show its application only only to the other righteous individuals in the Orthodox world but also to Moshiach.

Malbim on 22:13- (offering of the righteous on the Mizbeach)

וכתבו התוס' במד' יש שמיכאל עומד ומקריב נשמותיהם של צדיקים ע"ג המזבח,

Note: The ( ) is my response

This process is quite shockingly espoused by even the Anti-missionary R’ Moshe Shulman Shlita, “To summarize what we have seen from various Rabbinic teachings in the Midrash, Talmud and Zohar with regards to the suffering of the righteous:

1. With regards to individual sin, the death of the righteous helps ONLY with repentance. (This is an idea that seems to be missed but also preached everywhere I’ve seen the gospel preached- you must repent and grieve over the death of the righteous holy Moshiach Yeshua for it to be effectuated)

2. There is no relationship to the Christian theological idea of the Messiah dying for individual sins, as the death of the righteous is not a necessary condition for atonement, repentance is. (Repent for the kingdom of G-d is at hand as many missionaries state repeatedly, repentance is absolutely necessary for salvation to be effective)

3. For national sin the death of the righteous does not help if the person is not given proper honor at death as we see from Saul that instead of atonement it was considered a sin. (This is unfortunately a problem currently but we have hope in a National confession as well as proper mourning of all Jews in the book of revelations, and Romans, but that is exactly the point we are trying to make the final redemption has not occurred because Yeshua was not properly mourned for by the nation as a whole)

4. For national sin it only removes the suffering but not the sin itself from the individual. (This is also true, for national suffering it will only have the suffering removed with national confession- Just as Isaiah 53 states about the Jewish nation suffering as holy righteous one for the sins of the non-Jewish nations to receive grace. For salvation is of the Jews. Yes, in some commentaries such as Rashi on Sanhedrin 98a and in other places Isaiah 53 is also hinted as being about Messiah, however the general understanding is of the Jewish nation.)

5. For national sin it helps for the suffering but there still remains the need for the nation to repent for its sins. (This is also true as explained in the book of Revelations, and Romans)

The Akediah is mentioned daily in our prayers, it is closely associated as the basis for our atonement on Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur. The commentaries are quite interesting regarding this parsha but at some point I need to rest my point. I have focused more on the Akeidah in other places but I hopefully have brought up some things to consider regarding the Torah Parsha and it’s relation of the binding of Isaac.

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