God appears and then everything that transpires, the whole serpentine story, is God-ambiguous, somewhat difficult though the sequence resolves with the same root-words it began. The stories, the silences, the talk, the absence of talk, the visiting, the blessing, the laugh of Sarah, the argument with God, the flight of Lot, the trickiness of Abraham, the remembering of Sarah, the circumcising of Isaac, the alienation of Hagar and Ishmael, the terrible trek to the mountain of God, all of it a revelation, a vision, an appearance of Godliness. Somehow.
In the blessings, God. In the mess, God too. This is so much life as we know it. Up and down, light and dark, holy and not-yet-holy, silent and loud, somehow all infused in some hidden way with vision.
I am writing this to remind myself when I will need it: through the losses, in the mess, the God-lines, in all of it, the holy and the not-yet-holy, through the whole story, there is vision. God appears and – the entire sidrah – all of it, revelational, every part, it’s all over God, a vision.
Walk away from the Torah for a second. Take a ride on the moon you just rolled across the sky and look at the whole story from without, as it were, take a God’s-eye view, as the Chassidim say, the long look.
The serpentine story line of Vayera, the blessings, the curses, the deceit, the alienation, the resistance, the argument, the righteous, the wicked, the sneaking off, the return, the resolutions, the black fire, the white fire, the spoken, the not spoken, the blessings, the mess – it’s all God. The whole story, all over, Godliness.
God appeared, appeared in a whole bunch of difficult stories. It’s all a vision of Godliness. Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Hagar, Sarah, Avimelekh, the people of S’dom, the good, the bad, they can’t leave the story. The story is God – all God, all over.
A vision of prophecy or in a dream — Rambam, The Guide of the Perplexed, II:42.
An opening of eyes – Ramban in his Commentary on the Torah.