Weekly Inspiration

The Fall of Yishmael
November 9th, 2023
The Fall of Yishmael

This week’s Parsha ends with the demise of Yishmael. The Torah uses an unusual word – “nafal” -- for his death. The possuk reads, “al pnai kol echav nafal … over all his brothers he fell.” (Beraishis 25:18) 

The next possuk (the first possuk in the next Parsha) states, “V’aileh toldos Yitzchak … and these are the offspring of Yitzchak,” on which the Baal Haturim comments: “This [word: ‘nafal’] teaches that, when Yishmael’s [descendants] fall in the End of Days, then [Moshiach], the descendant of King David, of the offspring of Yitzchak, will flourish.” 

My friends, I believe that we are witnessing today the prelude to the fall of Yishmael and the rise of Moshiach ben Dovid. Today’s worldwide upsurge in hatred against Israel appears to be the prelude to the collapse of Yishmael and b’ezras Hashem all our enemies. 

Several weeks ago, we read the following words: “And the fourth generation shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite will not yet be full until then.” (Beraishis 15:16) Hashem is telling Avraham Avinu that the fourth generation will inherit the Land because the nations had not yet reached the degree of evil and depravity to justify their expulsion. 

I would like to suggest that this possuk alludes to the times of Moshiach as well as the time of Avraham. Just as our Avos had to wait for the time to be ripe for their descendants to inherit the Land, so will their descendants have to wait until the nations have reached the level of iniquity at which their actions justify their downfall. Hashem’s timing is always perfect. Chazal tell us: “Rav Chanina bar Papa said: Hakadosh Baruch Hu does not punish a nation until its time to be sent away [has arrived] ….” (Sotah 9a)

My friends: it is possible that the world may now be approaching that moment. 

It seems that the iniquity of the nations is very close to full. 

Just as the evil came “k’heref ayin… in the blink of an eye,” we have reason to anticipate that “yeshuas Hashem k’heref ayin…. The salvation of Hashem [will also] come in the blink of an eye.” (Pesikta Zutra on Esther 4:17)

Think about it: it is all absurd. 

Our enemies bombard us with thousands of rockets and then attack us in the most barbaric fashion. When we defend ourselves, the entire world erupts in violent anti-Jewish demonstrations! This insane behavior indicates a dramatic increase in the level of iniquity of the nations.

Right now, almost the entire world is united against us. 

Consider: Jews are 2/10ths of 1 percent of the world population! (Wikipedia) Do you hear that number! We are vastly outnumbered. The entire world is obsessed with us and we are numerically a pinpoint! No matter how strong our army, there is no way we can logically defeat an enemy that outnumbers us by millions to one! 

This makes it clear that we have only one salvation. As we say every day, “Hashem has redeemed Yaakov and delivered him from a power mightier than he!” (Yirmiah 31:10)

The current situation can be compared to that of our ancestors standing at the shore of the Yam Suf. They were surrounded and they were terrified, but Moshe Rabbeinu told them, “Do not fear! Stand fast and see the salvation of Hashem that He will perform for you today. For as you have seen Egypt today, you shall not see them ever again. Hashem shall make war for you and you shall remain silent.” (Shemos 14:13)

“Ain od milvado,” there is no salvation outside of Hashem. 

Although we defend ourselves, we must know that our survival is dependent upon our total reliance on Hashem. “Though I walk in the valley overshadowed by death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” (Tehillim 23)

Last week we read about Akeidas Yitzchak. According to what Avraham and Yitzchak knew, Yitzchak was about to be sacrificed on the altar. Avraham Avinu was willing to sacrifice his son and Yitzchak was willing to be sacrificed, so great was their yiras Shomayim, their awe of Hashem. It seemed that Avraham would actually carry out that act, as fearsome as it was to both of them, but, at the last second, the malach said, “No!”

“Do not stretch out your hand against the lad!” Suddenly, Hashem opened Avraham’s eyes and he saw a ram which would stand in place of his son. 

This is where we stand at this very moment. There is a pervasive fear today, as if our very lives hang in the balance. But the story of the Akeida is our own story! Hashem loves His children. It is our heritage that Hashem will substitute a “ram” and save us. We are the children of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov Avinu! 

“Hashem hoshia, Hamelech ya’anainu b’yom korainu …. Hashem save! May the King answer us on the day we call!” (Tehillim 20)



Avos: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
B’ezras Hashem: With the help of G-d 
Chazal: The rabbis of the Mishna and Gemora
Hakadosh Baruch Hu: G-d, the Holy One Blessed is He
Malach: Angel
Possuk: Sentence in the Torah
Yam Suf: Red Sea




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