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Baruch Shem Kivod Malchuto: Akeidat Yitzchak: Process

The Midrash says: A trusted servant who had the complete run of the king’s household, once determined to give his sons the status of free men and to tell them where the documents

confirming this status could be obtained. The king, divining the servant’s intention, positioned himself above the servant. Thereupon, the servant, fearful of being caught in an act of disloyalty, began to exhort his sons to promise continued loyal service to the king.

Similarly, Jacob called his sons to tell them about the time their exile would come to an end. Immediately, God appeared wanting to know “why have you invited them without inviting Me?”

This is the meaning of Isaiah 43,22, “and Me you have not called, Jacob!” As soon as Jacob realized this, he began to tell his sons that they should declare that they would serve the Lord just as their fathers had done, i.e. “the Lord before Whom my fathers have walked” (Vayehi 48:15).

The sons responded saying “We know what is in your heart. As you are true to only one Master, so we too will be true to only one Master” (Shema Israel). When Jacob heard this, he responded by saying: “Baruch Shem Kivod…”, “Blessed Be The Name of Your Glorious Kingdom Forever and Ever”. (Akeidat Itzhak)

It is obvious that Jacob wished his sons to follow in his footsteps and serve God. Revealing the end of the exile would not have served to set them free, as in the analogy of the servant. It would have given them the assurance of what was in store for them if they were to undertake the fixing and unification of this world. But they didn’t need to know when the redemption would happen in order to assert their loyalty to “the Lord before Whom my fathers have walked”; and they didn’t need to know how it would happen in order to be guided through the process leading to the redemption.

Indeed, through the “Shema”, they voice their acceptance of God’s unity. The “Baruch Shem” echoes what their declaration entails. As Jacob whispers those words, he understands that his descendants must go through the process of the exile and, through the choices they make, reveal the glory of God’s Kingdom.

They will do so despite not knowing how long the suffering of their exile will last.

And even though Jacob has just experienced the withdrawal of the Divine Presence and is incapable of disclosing the details of the redemption, the words he murmurs are a foretaste of those that will be proclaimed by all when that day finally comes.

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