Dafei Tang
Dafei Tang

The Redemption of Ishmael

Parashat Vayera starts with וַיֵּרָא אֵלָיו יְהוָה Vayera Elav YHVH, i.e. And YHVH appeared to him (Gen 18:1), following Abraham’s circumcision last week. It is explained that whenever the word Elav אֵלָיו appears in the verse, it comes to exclude. So whom does the verse come to exclude from receiving the Divine revelation following the circumcision?

It was suggested by the rabbis that it is Ishmael that Torah comes to exclude, even though he was named with Abraham in performing the circumcision.

It is for this reason that the name Ishmael does not appear even once in this week’s Parashah, despite the fact that he was mentioned in the expulsion from Abraham’s family.

Noticeably, Isaac and Hagar have the same gematria:

Hagar הָגָר 208
Isaac יִצְחָק 208

The expulsion was due to Ishmael’s contention with Isaac as the heir apparent, as a result one would not expect Isaac to have anything to do with the estranged Hagar and Ishmael, but this is apparently not the case according to Torah.

After Sarah died, Abraham married Keturah קְטוּרָֽה (Gen 25:1), whom according to the rabbis was none other than Hagar, for she had repented and became like a fragrant incense, i.e. Ketoret קְטֹרֶת, hence she was called Keturah.

And it was none other than Isaac who was busy restoring Hagar to Abraham as his wife when Abraham was busy finding a bride for Isaac in next week’s Parasha, for when Rebekah was brought back to Isaac we are told that the son of promise was coming from a particular place:

וְיִצְחָק בָּא מִבּוֹא, בְּאֵר לַחַי רֹאִי And Isaac came from the way of Beer lahai-

Roi (Gen 24:62)

This is where Hagar saw the angel of God in the wilderness and named the place Be’er LaChai Ro’yi (Gen 16:14).

We are further told that Isaac dwelt in the same place after Abraham’s death:

וַיְהִי, אַחֲרֵי מוֹת אַבְרָהָם וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים, אֶת-יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ וַיֵּשֶׁב יִצְחָק, עִם-בְּאֵר לַחַי רֹאִי And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed Isaac his son; and Isaac dwelt by Beer-lahai-roi. (Gen 25:11)

The gematria of Be’er LaChai Ro’yi is 462, which is exactly the gematria of Abraham and Hagar, as follows:

Be’er LaChai Ro’yi בְּאֵר לַחַי רֹאִי 462
Abraham and Hagar אַבְרָהָם וְהָגָר 462

The phrase Be’er LaChai Ro’yi means: The well of the living one that is seen, for Hagar had her epiphany there:

וַתִּקְרָא שֵׁם-יְהוָה הַדֹּבֵר אֵלֶיהָ אַתָּה אֵל רֳאִי: כִּי אָמְרָה, הֲגַם הֲלֹם רָאִיתִי–אַחֲרֵי רֹאִי And she called the name of the LORD that spoke unto her, Thou art a God of seeing; for she said: ‘Have I even here seen Him that seeth Me?’ (Gen 16:13)

Interestingly, there was a similar epiphany received by Abraham at the Akeidah site:

וַיִּקְרָא אַבְרָהָם שֵׁם-הַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא, יְהוָה יִרְאֶה, אֲשֶׁר יֵאָמֵר הַיּוֹם, בְּהַר יְהוָה יֵרָאֶה And Abraham called the name of that place Adonai-jireh; as it is said to this day: ‘In the mount where the LORD is seen.’ (Gen 22:14)

In both cases God is associated with seeing, and the gematria of both phrases is the same:

God of seeing אֵל רֳאִי 242
YHVH is seen יְהוָה יִרְאֶה 242

The spelling out of YHVH is seen is 704, which means its pregnant number is 704 – 242 = 462, which is exactly the gematria of Be’er LaChai Ro’yi:

יְהוָה יִרְאֶה spelled out יוד הה ואו הה יוד ריש אלף הה 704
Be’er LaChai Ro’yi בְּאֵר לַחַי רֹאִי 462

Be’er LaChai Ro’yi is where Isaac came to mediate at the eventide (Gen 24:62).

Based on the verse below, the rabbis deduced that Ishmael repented and acknowledged Isaac as the heir, since he let the son of promise go before him:

וַיִּקְבְּרוּ אֹתוֹ יִצְחָק וְיִשְׁמָעֵאל בָּנָיו, אֶל-מְעָרַת, הַמַּכְפֵּלָה And Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah …(Gen 25:9)

The redemptive power of Isaac is that he restored an otherwise broken family of Abraham by accepting Hagar and Ishmael to the commonwealth. The premise is Isaac must be acknowledged as the son of promise, as the foreshadowing of Mashiach. The following gematria suggests the redemptive power of Mashiach toward not only Ishmael, but Edom as well:

Mashiach מָשִׁיחַ spelled out מם שין יוד חית 878
Isaac, Hagar, Be’er LaChai Ro’yi יִצְחָק הָגָר בְּאֵר לַחַי רֹאִי 878
for in Isaac shall seed be

called to thee.

כִּי בְיִצְחָק, יִקָּרֵא לְךָ זָרַע 878
Ishmael, Esau, Edom יִשְׁמָעֵאל עֵשָׂו אֱדוֹם 878

Prior to his name change, Abram and Hagar engendered a son called Ishmael, astonishingly, their gematria is the same, as follows:

Abram Hagar אַבְרָם הָגָר 451
Ishmael יִשְׁמָעֵאל 451

The perfect family modeled in the Torah is that of Abraham, Sarah and their son of promise, Isaac, their gematria is 961:

Abraham אַבְרָהָם 248
Sarah שָׂרָה 505
Isaac יִצְחָק 208

The secret is that Hagar and Ishmael can also form a perfect family with Abraham, the key is repentance, as exemplified by their name change, as follows:

Abram, Hagar, Ishmael אַבְרָם הָגָר יִשְׁמָעֵאל 902
Abraham, Keturah, Ishmael אַבְרָהָם קְטוּרָֽה יִשְׁמָעֵאל 1019

Since 1921 is an odd number, it means there is a midpoint number between 1 and 1921, which is, most astonishingly, 961, the number of the perfect family of Abraham, Sarah and Isaac.

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