B’resheet 26:5 “Mishmaret”

“These are the generations” B’resheet 5:19-26:35

  1. what is to be preserved
  2. guard(ing), custody: a) š¹mar mišmeret stand guard 2K 115ff, offer allegiance 1 Co. 12:30 (oath.: keep loyal);
    1. guard, sentinel Is 218 ; he±®mîd mišm¹rôt station guards Ne 73, l®mišm¹rôt according to the divisions of servans 129; bêt_ mišmeret detention 2S 203;
  3. obligation: š¹mar mišmartî keep what I am obligated to do Gn 265, mišmeret HaShem one’s obligation to Y. 1K 23; mišmeret miƒvat HaShem observance of the commandment of Y. Jos 223

Thus, we see that Abraham was “faithful” to the teachings of Shem, i.e. the Sages. Abraham was most faithful to the traditions of his mentor and teacher Shem. We will be faithful in their presence and their absence knowing that we are only authorized through the principle of agency. Tis speaks to us as Rabbis, or those who are to become Rabbis, we are to guard the Mesorah of our Masters, i.e. Hakhamim. While we may not specifically label Abraham a “Rabbi” or a “Hakham” we must pause to as what was he if not a Hakham and Rabbi?

Mishmaret, then becomes a way of guarding the true character of the Torah. The character flaws of those who study the Torah are repaired (Tikun) through “guarding. This means that they are true to the teachings of their “ancestors”- teachers seeking flaws yet without undue judgment or self-condemnation. Abraham represents the side of chesed, Yitzchaq represents the side of Din and Ya’aqob the central column.

Thus, in a manner of speaking it is Ya’aqob that teaches us to refine our imperfections through the use of the right and left sides of the Atz Chaim. He wrestles with false piety and masters it through Mishmaret. Abraham, as the right side desires to give (share) his possessions and spirituality. In the presence of Yitzchaq we learn to receive. Of course this can be both positive and negative. If our desire to receive is only for ourselves or our grandeur, we are sadly missing the point of being a receptacle. In Yitzchaq we have free will to choose between giving and receiving. Here we see that there are times to share and there are times to receive. The balances expression of these characteristics is “free will.”

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