Making the Ultimate Sacrifice

Yael Eckstein  |  October 21, 2021

Yael Eckstein looks out at Israel's neighbor with IDF

I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies. — Genesis 22:17

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Vayera, which means “and he appeared,” from Genesis 18:1-22:24.

One area of The Fellowship’s work that is especially close to my heart is the help we provide to Israeli soldiers and veterans and their families. Among these are the incredible “lone soldiers” — young men and women from all over the world with no family in Israel as volunteers to serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

I stand in awe before their willingness to step up and say, “Here I am!” to the call to defend Israel from her ever-present enemies.

With the recent 20th anniversary of 9/11, I’ve been thinking a lot about the spiritual power of self-sacrifice for the greater good. It is an undeniable fact of life that the triumph of good over evil sometimes requires good people to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Making the Ultimate Sacrifice

I thought about this when reading this week’s Torah portion about the binding of Isaac by his father Abraham.

After stopping Abraham from sacrificing Isaac, the angel of the Lord blessed him. Specifically, the angel told Abraham three ways that God would bless him. But here’s the interesting part that I noticed as I was reading — only one of the blessings was new. The other two had already been told to Abraham in earlier passages in Genesis.

The angel told Abraham that he would be blessed with offspring as numerous as the stars and the sand, that his descendants would triumph over their enemies, and that the entire earth would be blessed through them.

The first of these blessings had already been told to Abraham in Genesis 15:5 and the third blessing was stated in Genesis 12:3. Only this blessing — “Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies” — was told to Abraham here for the first time.

The message here is one that is all too familiar for the family of every fallen solider. With this blessing, the angel of God told Abraham that victory over our enemies sometimes requires us to be willing to offer up our sons and daughters, even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice.

Let us all pray that God brings comfort to all the families of fallen soldiers who gave their lives defending our freedom.

Your Turn:

Please pray for those who are defending the state of Israel and the U.S. — and give honor to all those who have made the ultimate-sacrifice.

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