This week’s parasha begins with the words ראה אנכי See I… The Baal HaTurim writes that one interpretation of these words is ראה אנכי, see the Ten Commandments that commence with the word אנכי and fulfill them, as all the commandments are contained within the Ten Commandments. Alternatively, the Baal HaTurim writes that Moshe was telling the Jewish People, “observe me, i.e. my conduct, and follow suit.”
Perhaps we can suggest an alternative explanation for these words. The word אנכי equals in gematria the word כסא, My Throne. The Gemara (Shabbos 89b) states that in the future, only Yitzchak will be able to vindicate the Jewish people from their sins. It is said (Tehillim 2:4) יוֹשֵׁב בַּשָּׁמַיִם יִשְׂחָק , He Who sits in heaven will laugh. It is noteworthy that the name יצחק is also spelled (Tehillim 105:9)יִשְׂחָק . While the name יצחק means laughter, Yitzchak is known for the attribute of fear and strict justice. Perhaps the way to reconcile this dichotomy is through the two words ראה אנכי. We are enjoined to see אנכי, i.e. Hashem’s Throne, where He sits upon high and laughs. Yet, we know from the theme of Rosh HaShanah that HaShem sits on a Throne of Justice, and only when we blow the Shofar does He move from the Throne of Justice to the Throne of Mercy. Similarly, Yitzchak embodies justice, but he still has the capability to invoke HaShem’s mercy.
A careful reading of the portion regarding the Akeidah, where Avraham brings a ram in lieu of Yitzchak on the mizbeiach, bears out this message. It is said (Bereishis 22:14) וַיִּקְרָא אַבְרָהָם שֵׁם הַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא יְ-ה-ֹו-ָה יִרְאֶה אֲשֶׁר יֵאָמֵר הַיּוֹם בְּהַר י-ְה-ֹו-ָה יֵרָאֶה, and Avraham called the name of that site “HaShem Yireh,” as it is said this day, on the mountain HaShem will be seen. The word יִרְאֶה, meaning see, can also be interpreted to mean fear. Thus, through the binding of Yitzchak, the epitome of fear, the Jewish People would merit in the future (on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur) HaShem’s mercy (See Rashi Ibid).
As we enter the holy month of Elul, HaShem should allow us to invoke His mercy and turn the harsh justice that we have experienced of late in sweet mercy, and He should bring us the Ultimate Redemption, with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily, in our days.
Have a Seeing Yourself Shabbos!