Where Every Jew is Family

Jews Laugh, Arabs Cry


After terrorizing a local Jewish family in south-central Israel, an Arab woman and her son were exiled into the Israeli desert.

Abraham’s son, Yishmael was very cruel to Isaac and Sarah would have nothing of it.  Therefore, Abraham was told by Sarah and G-d to send away Hagar and Yishmael. While traveling, Yishmael, who was sick, was apparently on the brink of death and his mother cried out to Hashem for help.

He heard her prayers and provided a well and Yishmael was nursed back to health.  Then, they were promised that he would father a great nation (i.e. the Arab inhabitants of the middle east).

Yishemael was actually named thus due to another time his mother cried after being sent away for mistreating Sarah (old habits die hard, I suppose). The name Yishmael means, “G-d hears (my cries).”

But the Jews?  How did we begin?  With laughter!  Upon hearing from G-d of the miraculous birth of Isaac at 99 years old in last week’s parsha, Abraham laughs.  In this week’s parsha, Sarah laughs as well when hearing the proclamation by the angels that she will have a son.

Not only did they laugh and rejoice, but when Isaac was born others celebrated and rejoiced.  They made a whole party for the occasion with all of the most important people in the region.

Fast forward 37 centuries and we’re still laughing!  Jews have been oppressed and abused throughout history.  But instead of being bitter at the world or crying “Unfair!” we hold our heads high, celebrate our beautiful heritage and continue to be a light unto the nations, as is our calling.

There’s a lot to cry about in life and it’s easy to get stuck in the depressing parts.  But our job is to recognize that G-d is in charge and knows what He’s doing.  So rejoice in His goodness and hold your head high, for you are the heir the greatest treasure – Torah and mitzvot!

~Rabbi Yossi

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