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Dvar for Vayeira (Genesis 18:1-22:24)

Towards the end of Parshat Vayeira, Avraham is instructed to offer his son Yitzchak (Isaac) as a sacrifice to G-d. Avraham had been promised a large number of offspring through Yitzchak, but he still planned to do as he was instructed, despite the apparent contradiction. On his way up the mountaintop, the Torah relates the only recorded conversation between Avraham and Yitzchak (22:7-8). At the center of this conversation where Avraham tells Yitzchak that he is the offering, Yitzchak calls to his father, and his father responds, “hineni” – “I am here for you, my son.”

Rabbi David Fohrman points out that Avraham’s response to his son is the same word he used when G-d initiated this task by calling out for Avraham, and Avraham responded, “here I am” (22:1). It also happens to be the same word Avraham uses when the angel calls out to prevent him from going through with his action, with Avraham again responding, “here I am” (22:11). Avraham wasn’t just there, and he wasn’t just going through the motions requested of him. He was all in; he was present and fully engaged with G-d, his son, and anyone around him.

Being there for others means being mindful of what makes them happy, their challenges and fears, and, most importantly – knowing what they need to hear and when they need to hear it.