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    Two Abrahams – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. In the Torah reading for Rosh HaShanah, why is Abraham addressed twice (“The angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!'”)?

    A. The verse is Gen. 22:11. Rashi says, “The repetition of the name is an expression of Divine love (l’shon chibbah’). Three other Biblical figures were called twice at great moments in their lives – Jacob (Gen. 46:2), Moses (Ex. 3:4), and Samuel (I Sam. 3:10). The rabbis say that each of the four was the same person before the Divine call and after it, not that the moment left their personalities unchanged, but they were righteous before the call and righteous after it (Tosefta B’rachot 1:14). A further passage says, “The first mention of the name ‘Abraham’ is the call to Abraham himself; the second is an exhortation to his descendants” (B’reshit Rabbah 56:7).

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