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And Hashem tested Avraham. (22:1)

With the Akeidas Yitzchak, Avraham Avinu reached the summit of spiritual commitment to the Almighty.  He was prepared to sacrifice everything–even his only son, his future–to serve Hashem.  Avraham Avinu demonstrated obedience by listening to the command of Hashem.  He showed unparalleled yiraas Shomayim, fear of Heaven, when he listened to Hashem without question.  The Netziv, zl,  emphasizes Avraham’s readiness to accept Hashem’s command without questioning, as one might listen to a close friend.  Avraham was in awe of Hashem, a state of being which precludes the question,  “Why”?  Fear is equated with unequivocal acquiescence; no questions are asked, one…

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And Hashem tested Avraham and said to him, “Avraham,” and he replied, “Here I am.” (22:1)

Avraham Avinu’s loyalty to Hashem was ratified through ten trials, which he passed with exemplary devotion.  Every trial had its own unique degree of challenge.  The tenth, and most significant trial, was the Akeidah — when Hashem instructed Avraham to bind Yitzchak and sacrifice him.  Avraham responded, “Hineni,” I am prepared and ready to serve You in any way that You ask.  In response to  a test of this caliber,  the Satan was working overtime, challenging Avraham every step of the way.  The Satan appeared to Avraham in the guise of an old man.  He questioned Avraham regarding his destination. …

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And Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law and he said, “Get up and leave this place, for Hashem is about to destroy the city. But he seemed like a jester in the eyes of his sons-in-law.”

In the Midrash, Chazal recount  the dialogue between Lot and his sons-in-law.  When Lot implored them to leave because of the impending doom, they countered derisively, “The city is singing and dancing, music is playing, and you say the city is about to be destroyed?  Nonsense!”  Horav A. Henach Leibovitz, Shlita, observes that Lot’s sons-in-law would have heeded the warning to leave the city had they not seen the people in a state of joy and frivolity.  They believed that Hashem could destroy the city; they did not believe that He would.  Intellectually, they knew it might happen, but the…

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Avraham came forward and said, “Will You also stamp out the righteous along with the wicked?” (18:23)

Avraham’s love for all people is exemplified in its noblest form as he intercedes on behalf of the people of Sodom.  Even the wicked inhabitants of Sodom were worthy of his sympathy.  He prayed to Hashem to spare them from impending doom.  Avraham Avinu’s most significant strength was his total devotion to Hashem.  Representing the greatest aspect of his personality, this trait caused Hashem to say that during the ten generations from Noach until Avraham, He spoke to no one other than Avraham.   Avraham’s commitment, to the point of self-sacrifice, was definitely  the zenith of his life’s achievement.  Chazal,…

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