Abraham embodied love and kindness as an expression of the one G‑d, Creator of the entire universe. Abraham spent his career teaching people about monotheism, the belief in the one, omnipresent G‑d. He fought against the idea of idol worship, teaching that one should serve no force of nature and no other human being, only G‑d himself.1

Abraham felt a deep closeness to his eldest sonAbraham embodied love and kindness Ishmael, the son of Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant. Ishmael absorbed his father’s teachings and refused to submit to anyone but G‑d. Indeed, even before Ishmael’s birth, an angel of G‑d told Hagar that her son would be a free-spirited person:

And the angel of the L‑rd said to her, "Behold, you will conceive and bear a son, and you shall name him Ishmael, for the L‑rd has heard your affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be upon all, and everyone's hand upon him, and before all his brothers he will dwell."2

Despite the influence of Abraham’s ideas and beliefs, Ishmael would not be the one to receive the divine covenant and bear the eternal legacy of Abraham. Indeed, while Abraham was content with having Ishmael as his heir, G‑d insisted that the Abrahamic covenant continue through the son that would be born to Sarah:

And G‑d said, "Indeed, your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you shall name him Isaac, and I will establish My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his seed after him.”3

Why couldn’t Ishmael continue Abraham’s legacy? Why was it Isaac who was chosen as the bearer of the covenant? Because the Jewish nation could only be established through the union of Abraham and Sarah.

Abraham’s love was not sufficient to father the nation that would have an eternal covenant with G‑d. Abraham's love was unlimited; he spread his love to all. But Sarah understood that love must be focused and disciplined. To love properly, one must be willing to exclude the negative influences that could undermine that love. The potent force of love must be focused and directed.

Just as a motherSarah's love motivated her protects her child, Sarah’s love motivated her to expel negative influences from her home environment. Abraham without Sarah, love without boundaries, is a distorted expression of love.

The patriarchs and matriarchs are not simply our ancestors; they are our archetypes, our models and guides for life. Ensuring that the “marriage” between the Abraham and the Sarah within ourselves is harmonious and balanced will allow us to continue their mission: filling this earth with goodness and kindness motivated by the awareness of G‑d.4