Commentary - Year 1 Sabbath 19

Genesis 22:1-24   -   Isaiah 33:7-22   -   Psalm 17   -   Mark 11:1-33


Av 15, 5761 / Aug  4, 2001

Av 13, 5764 / July 31, 2004 

Av 13, 5767 / July 28, 2007

Av 13, 5770 / July 24, 2010

Av 13, 5773 / July 20, 2013

Av 16, 5776 / Aug 20, 2016

Av 16, 5779 / Aug 17, 2019

Av 16, 5782 / Aug 13, 2022


Vayhi Nisah / After these things...tested   SCRIPTURES should be read first

The Akeidah (Binding of Isaac) is historically known as one of the most important parts of the Torah, warranting extra study. The ram that was caught by its horns is recognized as a forerunner of the Passover (lamb). Note: In this narrative, Avraham is 137 years old, Sarah is 127 (based on her subsequent death in the following chapter), Yitzchak is 37; picture a 137 year old man taking his 37 year old son to be offered on an altar. Comparing to Yitzchak, Yeshua was at least 33 when crucified.

Avraham was asked to sacrifice his only son – the son long promised and awaited, who was miraculously conceived, born when Avraham was 100 and Sarah was 90, and destined to fulfill Avraham’s name: “Father of Many Nations.” Avraham could only do this because he had finally learned to trust that God could and would fulfill His promise, even if by raising Yitzchak from the dead. When approaching the place of sacrifice with his son, Avraham left his attendants, saying (v.5): “We will return”!

So we read in Hebrews 11: 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;  18 it was he to whom it was said, "IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED."  19 He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.

Note that the year was about AM 2095. Yeshua was crucified somewhere around the year AM 4000. Isaac’s prophetic picture was about 2000 years before Yeshua’s fulfillment.

Torah tells us that Avraham saddled a donkey for taking Yitzchak to Mount Zion (in Moriah); Mark tells us how God miraculously provided a donkey for Yeshua to ride to the Mount Zion (the Temple Mount). Talmud teaches, “How did they know the site of the Altar?” (the Holy of Holies in the Temple) . . . “They saw Isaac’s ashes lying in that place (i.e.- the ashes of the substitute ram)” – Kodashim: Zebahim 62a. As the ashes of the ram were counted as the ashes of Yitzchak, so the death of Yeshua represented our death for sin: we are told to consider ourselves dead to sin but alive to God – Romans 6:11.

Yitzchak was not a fitting subject for an elevation offering, but a ram was a fitting substitute. Likewise, we are not fitting subjects for elevation offerings – for sweet aromas of our own righteousness to ascend up to God: but Yeshua, the righteous one, is a fitting substitute for us – His righteousness being imputed / accounted to us.

The Midrash states that the original name of the place was Shalem (named by its King Shem – Malchi-Tzedek); Avraham here names it Yahweh-Yireh (Yahweh sees to it): the present combination name is Yerushalem. [The name is pronounced “Yah-WAY Yi-RAY” – not “Je-HO-vah JI-rah,” though this is not stated for the purpose of certifying some exact original pronunciation.

Torah tells us that Yitzchak made a three-day trip to the place of sacrifice; Yeshua made the trip for three days to the Temple grounds – on successive days as Messiah King, Priest , and Prophet. As only a King could on a never-ridden donkey, He went to the Temple on a Sabbath, while people strew a carpet of palm leaves in His path and greeted Him as “King of Israel who comes in the name of the Lord.” As a priest must and only a priest could, he fulfilled His priestly duty of cleansing the Temple. As Prophet, He taught with the authority that only Messiah could.

Torah tells us that Yitzchak walked with his father to the place of sacrifice; John 16:32 tells us that Yeshua walked with His Father.

Torah tells us that Yitzchzk carried the wood on which he was to be bound for sacrifice – the Midrash says, “Like the one who carries on his own shoulder the stake upon which he is to be executed”! Two thousand years later, the Apostle John writes (John 19:17) that Yeshua carried the wooden cross on which He was to be bound for sacrifice (for part of the trip Simon carried it – Matthew 27:32).

When Yeshua was crucified, this was part of an overwhelming volume of prophecy by which everyone should have recognized who He was.

Today’s lesson is about walking with God, not “doing what seems right in our eyes,” and not referring to our own thoughts as something “God said,” but learning what God says. Avraham came through many trials before learning to trust God so explicitly. How many have suffered for an example to us!

Romans 12:1 [NLT] And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind He will accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask? 2 Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.

The relationship of the Haftarah:

Isaiah 33:14-15 – Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual burning?  He who walks righteously, and speaks with sincerity . . .

Psalm 17:3, 15 – Thou hast tried my heart; Thou hast visited me by night; Thou hast tested me and dost find nothing; . . . As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awake.

The three concurrent interpretations of this week's Seder are:

1.     Literal – the historic narrative surrounding of the binding of Yitzchak (Isaac): Yitzchak rode a donkey three days to a mountain of Moriah, then walked with his father, carrying the wood for himself to be sacrificed upon.

2.     Prophetic – the representation of the crucifixion of Yeshua: Yeshua rode a donkey, going for three days to a mountain of Moriah, being presented as King, Priest, and Prophet; then walked with His Father, carrying the cross for Himself to be sacrificed upon.

3.     Spiritual – aspects of walking with God in the Spirit: Is He your Prophet (from whose word you learn), your Priest (to whom you confess daily), and your King (to whom you subject your life)? Are you a living sacrifice to God? {Discuss these aspects of walking with God.}


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."


Reader 1* Amen 1 Now it came about after these things, that Elohim tested Avraham, and said to him, "Avraham!" And he said, "Here I am." 2 He said, "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you." 3 So Avraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

Reader 2* Amen 4 On the third day Avraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. 5 Avraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you." 6 Avraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together.

Reader 3* Amen 7 Isaac spoke to Avraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." And he said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" 8 Avraham said, "God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." So the two of them walked on together. 9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Avraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.

Reader 4* Amen 10 Avraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of Yahweh called to him from heaven and said, "Avraham, Avraham!" And he said, "Here I am." 12 He said, "Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me."

Reader 5* Amen 13 Then Avraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Avraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. 14 Avraham called the name of that place ‘Yahweh Yireh,’ as it is said to this day, "In the mount of Yahweh it will be provided."

Reader 6* Amen 15 Then the angel of Yahweh called to Avraham a second time from heaven, 16 and said, "By Myself I have sworn, declares Yahweh, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."

Reader 7* Amen 19 So Avraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba; and Avraham lived at Beersheba. 20 Now it came about after these things, that it was told Avraham, saying, "Behold, Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: 21 Uz his firstborn and Buz his brother and Kemuel the father of Aram 22 and Chesed and Hazo and Pildash and Jidlaph and Bethuel." 23 Bethuel became the father of Rebekah; these eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Avraham's brother. 24 His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore Tebah and Gaham and Tahash and Maacah.


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."



"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."


Isaiah 33:7-22

Reader 8* Amen. 7 Behold, their brave men cry in the streets, the ambassadors of peace weep bitterly. 8 The highways are desolate, the traveler has ceased, he has broken the covenant, he has despised the cities, he has no regard for man. 9 The land mourns and pines away, Lebanon is shamed and withers; Sharon is like a desert plain, and Bashan and Carmel lose their foliage. 10 "Now I will arise," says Yahweh, "Now I will be exalted, now I will be lifted up. 11 "You have conceived chaff, you will give birth to stubble; My breath will consume you like a fire. 12 "The peoples will be burned to lime, like cut thorns which are burned in the fire.

Reader 9* Amen. 13 "You who are far away, hear what I have done; and you who are near, acknowledge My might." 14 Sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling has seized the godless. "Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual burning?" 15 He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity, he who rejects unjust gain and shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe; he who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking upon evil; 16 he will dwell on the heights, his refuge will be the impregnable rock; his bread will be given him, his water will be sure. 17 Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; they will behold a far-distant land.

Reader 10* Amen. 18 Your heart will meditate on terror: "Where is he who counts? Where is he who weighs? Where is he who counts the towers?" 19 You will no longer see a fierce people, a people of unintelligible speech which no one comprehends, of a stammering tongue which no one understands. 20 Look upon Zion, the city of our appointed feasts; your eyes will see Jerusalem, an undisturbed habitation, a tent which will not be folded; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its cords be torn apart. 21 But there the majestic One, Yahweh, will be for us a place of rivers and wide canals on which no boat with oars will go, and on which no mighty ship will pass-- 22 For Yahweh is our judge, Yahweh is our lawgiver, Yahweh is our king; He will save us--


Psalm 17    (To be sung.)  A Prayer of David.

1 Hear a just cause, O Yahweh, give heed to my cry; give ear to my prayer, which is not from deceitful lips. 2 Let my judgment come forth from Your presence; let Your eyes look with equity. 3 You have tried my heart; You have visited me by night; You have tested me and You find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress. 4 As for the deeds of men, by the word of Your lips I have kept from the paths of the violent. 5 My steps have held fast to Your paths. My feet have not slipped. 6 I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; incline Your ear to me, hear my speech. 7 Wondrously show Your lovingkindness, O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand from those who rise up against them. 8 Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings 9 From the wicked who despoil me, my deadly enemies who surround me. 10 They have closed their unfeeling heart, with their mouth they speak proudly. 11 They have now surrounded us in our steps; they set their eyes to cast us down to the ground. 12 He is like a lion that is eager to tear, and as a young lion lurking in hiding places. 13 Arise, O Yahweh, confront him, bring him low; deliver my soul from the wicked with Your sword, 14 From men with Your hand, O Yahweh, from men of the world, whose portion is in this life, and whose belly You fill with Your treasure; they are satisfied with children, and leave their abundance to their babes. 15 As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.


Mark 11

Reader 11* Amen. (King) 1 As they approached Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples, 2 and said to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. 3 "If anyone says to you, 'Why are you doing this?' you say, 'The Lord has need of it'; and immediately he will send it back here." 4 They went away and found a colt tied at the door, outside in the street; and they untied it. 5 Some of the bystanders were saying to them, "What are you doing, untying the colt?" 6 They spoke to them just as Jesus had told them, and they gave them permission. 7 They brought the colt to Jesus and put their coats on it; and He sat on it. 8 And many spread their coats in the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. 9 Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting: "Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of Yahweh. 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!" 11 Yeshua entered Jerusalem and came into the temple; and after looking around at everything, He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late.


Reader 12* Amen. (Priest) 12 On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. 13 Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening. 15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; 16 and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. 17 And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations ‘? But you have made it a ‘robber’s den’.” 18 The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching. 19 When evening came, they would go out of the city.


Reader 13* Amen. (Prophet) 20 As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. 21 Being reminded, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.” 22 And Yeshua answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. 24 Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. 25 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” 27 They came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to Him, 28 and began saying to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things, or who gave You this authority to do these things?” 29 And Yeshua said to them, “I will ask you one question, and you answer Me, and then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Was the baptism of John from heaven, or from men? Answer Me.” 31 They began reasoning among themselves, saying, “If we say, 'From heaven,' He will say, 'Then why did you not believe him?' 32 "But shall we say, 'From men '?”-- they were afraid of the people, for everyone considered John to have been a real prophet. 33 Answering Yeshua, they said, “We do not know.” And Yeshua said to them, “Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”


John 19:16-17

Reader 14* Amen. So he then delivered Him to them to be crucified. They took Yeshua therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."


© 2004  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)