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Parasha Insights

By Rabbi Mordechai Ovadia
August 22, 2018

The Torah speaks about a wayward son who does not listen to his parents, he is judged now for his future actions. Rashi explains that he is killed now for the future sins that he will transgress- he will steal his father’s money and he will end up killing people in order to fulfil his desires, so it is better that he dies innocent now than guilty later.

Rav Eliyahu Mizrachi asks the question why is this wayward son judged based on his future actions and Yishmael in Parshat Vayera 21:17 it says that when Avraham banished Hagar and Yishmael from his home and they were in the wilderness, they ran out of water. The Torah tell us that Hashem heard the voice of Yishmael , and miraculously provided them with a well of water. The Torah tells us that Hashem listened to Yishmael ” just as he was there “. Rashi explains that Yishmael was judged based on his current and not on his future actions. The Angels  protested someone who’s descendants are going to kill your children by not providing them with water you are going to provide with a well of water. Hashem answers them is he now a Tsaddik or a Rasha ? They responded a Tsaddik. Hashem says i judge him according to his current actions.

Rav Mizrachi asks why the wayward son is judged based on his future actions and Yishmael is judged based on his current actions?

A further question arises, that the angels responded that Yishmael  was a Tsaddik , but the Pasuk 21: 9-10 tells us that the reason Avraham banished Yishmael from his home was because that Sara saw Yishmael “Mesachek”.  Rashi translates this as he was committing the 3 cardinal sins : Murder, idol worship, and Immorality, so it appears that he was not such a Tsaddik. The answer is that Hashem punishes a person measure for measure meaning if a person commits a sin in a certain area he is punished in the same area, for example the Egyptians drowned the Jewish children in the River Nile so Hashem drowned the Egyptians in the red sea. Yishmael had not committed a sin to do with water so he was not punished with the sin of water. However, the wayward son he had started to fulfil his lusts with meat and wine and he was going to continue to steal and kill people in order to continue fulfill  his desires so he is punished now based on his similar future actions.

The Minchas Yehuda gives a further answer that the Heavenly Court does not punish based on future actions so that is why Hashem could not let Yishmael die of thirst but the Beit din shel Matta which is our Beit Din can punish based on future actions so that is why the wayward son is punished now for his future actions.

The Maharsha answers that a person is judged now on his future actions , that is why the wayward son is judged , but Yishmael is only judged for his own future actions but not for the actions of his descendants.

Rav Ginsburg answers that Yishmael at the end of his life he did Teshuva so he cannot be judged on his future actions as he did not complete his life as a wicked person.

May we merit always finding favor in the eyes of Hashem and always be judged favorably.

Mordechai Ovadia


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