Thursday, July 27, 2006


I was going to write a blog in essay-format arguing a case for the logic of an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon. I wanted to first preface that by explaining the background issues briefly, namely the Sunni/Shiite split and the Arab/Non-Arab split. I will probably do that later today but instead wanted to post something I rediscovered while looking for a precise definition of Arab (in trying to explain, for example, Iran is Muslim but not Arab.) What I came across was a story from the Book of Genesis about Abraham. Abraham is accepted as the patriach of Judaism, Christianity and Islam; and the story offers how the divisions began. Here is the story briefly.


Long ago, after God created the world but before the Land of Israel was settled, there lived a man named Abraham in the city of Harran (modern Turkey.) One day God spoke to Abraham, and directed him south to Shechem, where he promised Abraham that his son would inherit and rule the land.

Wishing to fulfil his pact with God, Abraham got busy with his wife, Sarai, but to no avail. As these were the days before fertility pills, they had very few options. Desperate to keep his end of the agreement up, Abraham came into an "agreement" with his wife, who urged him to turn to the housekeeper, Hagar (Genesis 16:2).

And thus Abraham impregnated Hagar, while still wed to Sarai, which as expected created some very tense and extremely akward situations. But soon Hagar gave birth to a son, Ishmael!

They all began to raise Ishmael together and apparently Abraham was still physically intimate with his barren wife because out of the blue she became pregnant, and soon gave birth to their son, Isaac!

Well to sum it up, things were just too tense in that house, Abraham having a child with both the his wife and the housekeeper and them all trying to live together. Being Abraham's actual wife, Sarai put her foot down and got Hagar and Ishmael to leave.

Ishmael went east and became the father of the Arab people, Isaac stayed local and became father to the Jewish people, one of of whom many years later started an offshoot of Judaism that was called Christianity.

And still today Christians, Jews and and Muslims all regard Abraham as the patriarch of their peoples, one of the most important prophets in all three religions. And as fighting in the Middle East rages today among people, Muslims Christian and Jews, who all agree that they are all descendents of the Prophet Abraham, they may want look a little past the family fighting and estrangment between Abraham's two children Ishmael and Isaac, and what happened at the end of the story of Abraham.

Although they had fought eachother as enemies and lived apart for years without ever speaking, Isaac and Ishmael came together one last time to fulfil their responsibility as brothers; and that was to bury and mourn their father, together.



oldtownboys said...

I like it! Good job. Go on.

oldtownboys said...

I like it! Good job. Go on.