Emulating the Patriarchs

This week we begin the stories related to our patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Ramban introduces the concept of מעשה אבות סימן לבנים, that the incidents that occurred to the Avot, are a sign of what their descendants will experience.
Rav Eliyahu Dessler explained that there are three qualities that an individual must possess, in order to achieve the ultimate good.

He must be driven by the כח הנתינה, the power of giving. He realizes the importance of doing acts of kindness, and helping others. This is attributed to the nature of Avraham Avinu. This quality of giving, must be accompanied by fear of Heaven. He looks within himself to be certain that his actions are sincere, with the right intentions.

This was exemplified by Yitzchak Avinu. And finally, he must be a man of truth. This desire for truth in all that he does, guides him. This was Yakov Avinu. We must continue to incorporate these three great qualities into our personalities. We will study again the lives of our patriarchs, and attempt to emulate these saintly individuals, who were the foundation of the Jewish people.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at