THE TWO ABRAHAMS
Recorded at Limmud Festival 2020
Abraham is a central figure in the Rosh Hashanah liturgy, appearing as the main protagonist in the portions we read on both days of the Festival (Genesis 21 and 22). It is therefore no wonder that commentators ponder at length the lessons we can draw from his life and actions, as narrated in the Tanakh.
As we scrutinize our own existence and deeds during the month of Ellul, it is appropriate to follow in their footsteps. And Anthony Julius’s thought-provoking reflection on The Two Abrahams, originally delivered at Limmud Festival 2020, provides an inspiration for such efforts.
Weaving biblical and midrashic accounts of Abraham’s life, Julius uncovers two distinct threads, each with its own foundational origin. Reconciling these two characters, he posits, hints to the unique challenge that Judaism sets before us, and to our purpose as Jews.
Questions for thought:
- Which Abraham manifests himself in Genesis 21, in the account of the expulsion of Ishmael?
- During the High Holidays, which Abraham should we draw greater inspiration from?
- Where does your Jewish journey begin? Where does it originate?