Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is Yishmael a nabi (prophet) or tzaddik of some sort? The reason why I ask this is because when I read the midrash version of the Torah I found out that it said that Yishmael near the end of Avraham's life did teshuva and worshipped only HaShem. So I was wondering if he became kind of a tzaddik of some sort or even a nabi (prophet).

share|improve this question
    
He's not on this list judaism.stackexchange.com/a/22949/759 – Double AA Feb 24 at 22:27
    
While Islam believes that Yishmael, along with the Avot, Moshe, and Aharon were nabiyyin, Judaism does not. That is not to say the prophecy among non-Jews didn't exist (Bila'am is one notable example), only that Yishmael is never considered a prophet. – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 24 at 23:00
    
Related (Re:Yishmael being a tzaddik of some sort): Why Avraham hated Yishmael if he was a tzadik. – Tamir Evan Feb 26 at 13:00

There are a couple sources that indicate that Yishmael was a tzaddik at certain points in his life.

Rashi to Breishit 25:17 notes that the the word ויגוע is only used by tzaddikim, and is used here to refer to Yishmael at the end of his life.

ויגוע: לא נאמרה גויעה אלא בצדיקים:‏

Also, Rashi on 21:17 quotes a midrash where the angels are trying to tell God not to save Yishmael (after being banished). Hashem asks them what he is now: tzadik or rasha, and they answer tzadik.

באשר הוא שם: לפי מעשים שהוא עושה עכשיו הוא נדון ולא לפי מה שהוא עתיד לעשות, לפי שהיו מלאכי השרת מקטרגים ואומרים רבונו של עולם, מי שעתיד זרעו להמית בניך בצמא אתה מעלה לו באר. והוא משיבם עכשיו מה הוא, צדיק או רשע, אמרו לו צדיק, אמר להם לפי מעשיו של עכשיו אני דנו וזהו באשר הוא שם.‏

So we have another example.

There is nothing that i know of to indicate that he ever received prophecy.

share|improve this answer
4  
+1 It's also interesting to note that until the rise of Islam, which "took" the name and "made it its own", the name Yishmael was used a lot from the time of the bible and until the period of the Mishnah and Talmud (5 different Yishmael in the bible, and 30 sages names Yishmael later). So the name had a positive connotation. – Cauthon Feb 24 at 22:59
    
I always understood it was the terminology "vaye'asef el amav" that conveys that the person is a tzadik gamur... One might question whether the second, earlier instance is one who is a tzadik gamurr, or whether Yishmael merely fits the circumstances of Rambam's tzaddik - zechuyos yoser michiyuvos - which is why he was dan lizchus in this instance. – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 24 at 23:03
    
The simplest sign that Yishmael wound up okay is a careful reading of the verses: at Abraham's funeral, he allows Isaac to go in front of him: "Isaac and Ishmael buried him." He respected his father's wishes of priority. Whereas Esau goes before Jacob at their father's funeral -- "Esau and Jacob buried him." – Shalom Feb 25 at 12:16
    
@Shalom where do we see either Abraham or Isaac commanding an "order for honor"surrounding their eventual burial? – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 28 at 0:37
1  
@IsaacKotlicky I don't think we see it explicitly, but we know who the favored son is. – Scimonster Feb 28 at 6:29

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.