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Pesukei D’Zimrah: Hodu: Imrei Emet: Three Covenants

“Remember His covenant forever – that He made with Abraham and His vow to Isaac. Then He established it for Jacob as a statute, for Israel as an everlasting covenant.” (Chronicles I 16:7) This verse seems to describe three different covenants.

The three Patriarchs were preparatory stages fro receiving the Torah at Sinai. The Talmud teaches, “Our ancestors merited to enter a covenant with God only in the merit of circumcision, Mikvah and the blood offerings on the altar.’ (Keritut 9a) There is a similar Midrash: “The Torah was given with Fire, Water and Desert.” (Bamidbar Rabbah 1:7)

Fire corresponds to Abraham and the Mitzvah of circumcision. (Tikkunei Zohar, Introduction 10a) He served God with love and love is fire, as it says, “Its flashes are flashes of fire, the flame of God.” (Song of Songs 8:6)

Water corresponds to Mikvah and Isaac, who achieved the same purity as a Mikvah through his awe of God, “Then I will sprinkle pure water upon you, that you may become cleansed.” (Ezekiel 36:25) The Chinuch (Mitzvah 173) describes the workings of the Mikvah as above the limitations of nature, which also describes the life of Isaac.

The desert and the bloods of the offerings correspond to Jacob, who gave over all that was his to God: He made all that was his as free – hefker – as the desert. (Imrei Emet)

We should pause after each covenant and reflect on the uniqueness of each.

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