for Parshat Lech-Licha
Sarah has been barren all her life. She will be ninety.
Abraham will be one-hundred.
God announces that they will give birth to a son. They laugh.
God says: you shall call your son’s name Isaac, Yitzchak.
Yitzchak means: He-Will-Laugh.
A joke does not make sense until its conclusion comes.
The punchline comes, and the punchline reveals that there are ways of viewing the world that you had not considered: and the story makes sense.
You are given sudden clarity. You laugh.
You would have thought it impossible that Abraham and Sarah should have a child.
But there is another way of viewing the world.
There is the world beyond the level at which we understand things.
There is the level of God.
Isaac guides Abraham and Sarah to this level of God.
This revelation brings laughter.
Isaac is the punchline to the story of Abraham and Sarah.
The story of Abraham and Sarah is a story which can have a punchline, because it is a story that God tells.
And the people they birth, too, is a story that God tells.
Shabbat Shalom, Abe
I cannot remember how much of this idea is my own: it came to me and felt recollected, I think largely from Avivah Zornberg.