This Torah portion, seminal, climatic, critical, is often cited as one of the most difficult in the Torah because it includes the story of the binding of Isaac among other things. This portion also includes the story of Hagar and the near death of her son Ishmael and the story of Sodom and Gomorrah again, among other things. As if this wasn’t enough.
But this portion is full of magic. G-d reveals himself to Abraham three days after the first circumcision. Angels appear to Abraham predicting the birth of a son. Sarah and Abraham have a son, Isaac, when they are 100 and 90 respectively. Could only be magic. Hagar, having been banished with her son from Abraham’s house faces Ishmael’s death in the desert. But she is shown water like magic; saving his, and presumably her, life. Lot is saved, although his wife is not. Finally, Isaac is saved from being slaughtered by his father by a voice from heaven and the miraculous appearance of a ram to take his place.
Miracles and wonders. Do we believe in miracles in this our modern world? Perhaps they are not so plain or easy to see. Do we stop and try to see the miracles all around us. Faith as magic. I wasn’t 90 when he was born, but the birth of my son felt like a miracle. [tweetshare tweet=”Singing feels like a miracle. The wind on my skin feels like a miracle. Every time I can say my bills are paid and there is nothing I need, that is a miracle. Waking up every morning; every breath I take, those are miracles. Love is a miracle.” username=”@trienahm”]
So whether you take these stories literally, or like me consider them allegorical, as morality stories, there is magic in them. Two children are saved by the grace of G-d. A son is given to two aged seniors. Angels appear.
And there is magic all around us. It is hard to find, to see in the crazy world we are living in, but it is there. In the setting of the sun, in the rising of the moon, in the stars and the waves. In the laughter of our children and the wisdom of our elders. In the reaction of salt and acid and the unconditional love of a dog. Make your own list.
Do you believe in magic? I do.