by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek
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Parashas Toldos (72)Genisis 25:19
And these are the generations of Isaac son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac.
Abraham was the father of Isaac; RASHI Because the scoffers of the generation were saying that Sarah conceived by Avimelech, since she had lived with Abraham for many years and did not conceive with him. What did G-d do? He made Isaac's face similar to Abraham's so that everyone could testify that "Abraham was the father of Isaac."
WHAT IS BOTHERING RASHI ?
Rashi is explaining why the verse repeats itself - "Isaac son of Abraham" then again "Abraham was the father of Isaac."
Rashi explanation tells us why there is emphasis of this theme.
But this is not p'shat. Since nowhere in the Torah itself do hear about the scoffers.
P'shat ACCORDING TO CHIZKUNI
The Chizkuni makes an important point. He says simply the Torah is emphasizing that Abraham and not Abram gave birth was the father of Isaac. While Abram was the father of Ishmael.
This interpretation answers a question that has bothered me. We say the blessing in Shemoneh Esrei 'Magen Avraham." The Protector of Abraham. But now adays the Jews' biggest threat comes from Ishmael, the Islamic Arabs. We pray for G-d's protection, but that protector of Abraham is also the protector of Ishmael …. I thought.
The Chizkuni has enlightened us. The Protector of the Jews is the Protector of Abraham, the father of the Jews, not Abram the father of Ishmael.
So our blessing is accurate - may it be fulfilled! Amen.
"What's Bothering Rashi?" is produced by the Institute for the Study of Rashi and Early Commentaries. The five volume set of "What's Bothering Rashi?" is available at all Judaica bookstores.
This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
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