Overpowering Yishmael; Laughter VIII

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    • Michal 4 months ago

      I was recently reminded of the idea of using laughter to deal with a Yetzer Harah [1]

      It occurred to me how appropriate it could be used as a tool to defeat the  power of Yishmael.

      Sarah understands that Yishmael must leave her home with his mother because she saw him making sport of Yitzchak Avinu.

      The words of the pasuk are וַתֵּרֶא שָׂרָה אֶת־בֶּן־הָגָר הַמִּצְרִית אֲשֶׁר־יָלְדָה לְאַבְרָהָם מְצַחֵק׃

      And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne unto Abraham, making sport[2] 

      The word מְצַחֵק contains the root word for laughter.

      Rashi says this is alluding to the following behaviors of Yishmael:

      1. He was doing acts of Avodah Zarah, derived from the language used by the sin of the Chet Haegel; And they rose up to make merry (לצחק).”
      2. He was committing Giluy Arayos, derived from the language used in reference to Potiphars wife; “To mock (לצחק) at me.”
      3. It refers to murder, as the verse uses that language in Shmuel, where they fought and killed one another. “Let the young men, I pray thee, arise and make sport (וישחקו) before us”
      4. Yishmael was quarreling with him about the inheritance, saying that he is the first born and will take a double portion. They went into the field and he (Yishmael) took his bow and shot arrows at him (Isaac), just as you say (Proverbs 26:18-19) “As a madman who casts firebrands, [arrows and death] and says: I am only מצחק mocking” (Genesis Rabbah 53:11).

      Q: What about laughter is connected with Avodah Zarah, Giluy Arayos, Murder, fighting over an inheritance?

      Q: Is it possible that the acts of Avodah Zarah, Gilui Arayos, and Murder and the way he quarreled with Yitzchak about the inheritance all represent the opposite of a Yitzchak; making a mockery of Yitzchak, to delegitimize him by making him into sport and ultimately mocking God?

      Q: Can we use the very forms of mockery of Yishmael to destroy this evil?

      Q: I find it interesting that the name Yitzchak also contains the word ,צחק, laughter.  Is it possible that we can use the laughter of Yitzchak  to starve the energy of Yishmael and what he represents?

      Q: I am wondering if it is a form of idol worship when we think the enemy has power, since we must know that “There is no other power or officer who has independent strength”

      (Rabbeinu Bachya says this about idol worship in his commentary on Parshas Vayikra:

      “In one’s heart one must not believe that there is anything to them and to what they purport to represent. We must consider idols as something devoid of any theological meaning, totally powerless to exert influence of any kind on anybody.” (Vayikra 19:2))

      Q: Is it correct to consider the giving into fear of the terrorists, of our enemies,  as a form of Avoda Zarah chas v’shalom, (If we are chas v’shalom disconnected  from the fact that Hashem is The Only Existence )?

      Q: If it is a form of Avodah Zarah by giving into the fears ,  I am wondering if we can use the strategies of Chazal as taught by Rabeinu Bachya to use mockery to deal with the enemy as our response?

      Rabbeinu Bachya states: ” We have a principle that unbecoming speech is forbidden unless such epithets are reserved for idolatry. we must relate to idolatry with a very negative and disdainful attitude and when for some reason speaking about it always make plain how we detest it. We are not to refer to houses pagan worship by the names they are usually referred to but by some name which belittles them, downgrades them.[3] (Shanhedrin 63)”

      I am contemplating the following:

      1. If  we hear an outrageous news report filled with lies and chutzpah , can we find ways to poke fun or laugh at it rather than being subject to this “power of evil” that is not true existence?
      1. Can we play with the events of evil and find ways to use our imagination and humor until we can paint a picture of true existence?

      וְלַמַּלְשִׁינִים אַל תְּהִי תִקְוָה וְכָל הָרִשְׁעָה כְּרֶגַע תֹּאבֵד וְכָל אֹיְבֶיךָ מְהֵרָה יִכָּרֵתוּ וְהַזֵּדִים מְהֵרָה תְעַקֵּר וּתְשַׁבֵּר וּתְמַגֵּר וְתַכְנִיעַ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה שׁוֹבֵר אֹיְבִים וּמַכְנִיעַ זֵדִים, Let there be no hope for informers and may all wickedness instantly perish; may all the enemies of Your people be swiftly cut off, and may You quickly uproot, crush, rout and subdue the insolent, speedily in our days. Blessed are You, Hashem, Crusher of enemies. and Subduer of the insolent.








      [1] Based on teachings of Harav Simcha L Weinberg, neiro yair

      [2] Beraishis 21:19

      [3] Devarim 7:26

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