Abraham Founded a New Religion. His Son Isaac Preserved It

Edmund Burke, the founder of modern political conservatism, wrote that the social contract binds not only citizens to their government and to one another, but also to the generations that came before them and those that will come after them. It is in this sense that Isaac is, as David Wolpe puts it, the most conservative of the biblical patriarchs:

[This] week’s Torah readings begins with “This is the legacy of Isaac,” and goes on to say “Abraham begot Isaac,” suggesting that his legacy is his father.

What are we intended to learn from Isaac’s life? Isaac had a critical contribution to make, which threads together several aspects of his life. Isaac is the conservative principle, the preserver, the paradigm of continuity. Abraham has created something new. The question is whether the innovation of Abraham will endure. In ways both overt and subtle, Isaac consolidates what has been created. As we are living in an age when everyone is preoccupied with disruption and innovation, it is easy to lose sight of the importance of preserving what previous generations have forged.

Isaac instantiates the idea of creating a legacy of unbroken coherence. In Genesis 26 are contained two of the features of Isaac’s life that highlight his character. Isaac re-opened the wells that were first dug by his father Abraham (26:18). This is a powerful symbol of the importance of continuity. The wells had been stopped up by the Philistines, but rather than dig new ones, Isaac restores the old. A few verses earlier God instructs Isaac not to go down to Egypt. Isaac is the only patriarch who does not leave the land of Israel. Abraham has been led to a new land. His son proves that his father’s choice can nourish a life.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Abraham, Conservatism, Genesis, Hebrew Bible, Isaac

 

The Significance of Mahmoud Abbas’s Holocaust Denial

Aug. 19 2022

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, during an official visit to Berlin, gave a joint press conference with the German chancellor Olaf Scholz, where he was asked by a journalist if he would apologize for the murder of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics. (The relationship between the group that carried out the massacre and Abbas’s Fatah party remains murky.) Abbas instead responded by ranting about the “50 Holocausts” perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians. Stephen Pollard comments:

Scholz’s response to that? He shook Abbas’s hand and ended the press conference.

Reading yet another column pointing out that Scholz is a dunderhead isn’t, I grant you, the most useful of ways to spend an August afternoon, so let’s leave the German chancellor there, save to say that he eventually issued a statement hours later, after an eruption of fury from his fellow countrymen, saying that “I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. For us Germans in particular, any trivialization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.” Which only goes to show that late is actually no better than never.

The real issue, in Pollard’s view, is the West’s willful blindness about Abbas, who wrote a doctoral thesis at a Soviet university blaming “Zionists” for the Holocaust and claiming that a mere million Jews were killed by the Nazis—notions he has reiterated publicly as recently as 2013.

On Wednesday, [Abbas] “clarified” his remarks in Berlin, saying that “the Holocaust is the most heinous crime in modern human history.” Credulous fools have again ignored what Abbas actually means by that.

It’s time we stopped projecting what we want Abbas to be and focused on what he actually is, using his own words. In a speech in 2018 he informed us that Israel is a “colonialist project that had nothing to do with Judaism”—to such an extent that European Jews chose to stay in their homes and be murdered rather than live in Palestine. Do I have to point out the moral degeneracy of such a proposition? It would seem so, given the persistent refusal of so many to take Abbas for what he actually is.

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Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anti-Semitism, Germany, Holocaust denial, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority