The medrash tells us as quoted here: https://www.ou.org/holidays/shavuot/offering_the_torah_to_the_nations/ that hashem first offered the Torah to the nations of the world. Each nation asked what does it say in this Torah, Gd responded with one of the commandments and the nation then went on to refuse the Torah as it is something that runs counter to their essence. “When he offered it to the descendants of Yishmael, they could not then, and they cannot now, deal with the prohibition against stealing (Vayikra 19:11), as the Angel of the L-rd said to our mother Hagar about our ancestor, Yishmael, “He will be a person without self-control, with his hand in everyone else’s property, and everyone else’s hand in his property, and he will camp on the borders of everyone else’s land.” (Bereshit [16]:12)”

Of course the Torah is about the descendants of Yitzchak, and of course the Torah says he will steal as in Bereishit 16:12 - where do we find this to the be case historically? What I mean is, Esav said no to the Torah because of "though shall not kill" - we know that Esav tried to kill Yaakov in he bible and throughout the ages, they slaughtered 10's of millions of Jews... Where do we find that destiny of Yishmael that he is all about theft and stealing? Is there any hint of Yishmael being engaged in theft in the bible that this commandment should be reason for them to refuse the Torah?

  • 4
    Don't we find it in Bereshit 16:12? – Double AA May 22 '18 at 14:34
  • Last time I checked the Torah was about the descendants of Yitzchak, and more specifically, of Ya'akov. Why should we expect there to be many examples of Yishma'el stealing? @DoubleAA Bereishit 16:12 is the only example you need. – ezra May 22 '18 at 17:41
  • 1
    "Where biblically do we find" I'm confused. Are you looking for events in Tanakh? Esav's descendants didn't kill millions of Jews in the Bible – Double AA May 22 '18 at 18:13
  • Meaning - I think Esav has murder in his veins and over the centuries it is displayed million times over. Where do find anything similar when it comes to Yishamel? – Draizy-Levi Pine May 22 '18 at 18:25

On the passuk in Beraishes 40:15 כי־גנב גנבתי מארץ העברים The Shem M'Shmuel explains that this refers to the Yishmaelim which took Yosef from the hands of the Brothers. And he cites the passuk mentioned above of ידו בכל . He also points out that the passuk of לא תגנוב In the עשרת הדברות is referring to גונב נפשות, as was the case with Yosef.

I was later shown that the same idea is cited in Mechilta and Midrash Lekach Tov

  • 1
    This שם משמואל needs explanation why would it be considered as if the ישמעאלים kidnapped Yosef, if the passuk clearly states that the brothers sold him to the ישמעאלים and if anyone the brothers should be considered as the kidnappers. וצריך ביאור. – RibbisRabbiAndMore May 22 '18 at 19:08
  • Thank you so much for actually trying to answer the question but as you explained so clearly, if the passuk clearly says he was sold, why should this be considered theft/kidnapping? – Draizy-Levi Pine May 22 '18 at 19:15
  • 1
    Respectfully, the SM was over a millennia late; the midrashim already invoked both verses in the description of the Ishmaelites' response in rejecting the Torah. See Mekhilta (here) and Lekach Tov (here). – Oliver May 22 '18 at 19:31
  • 2
    @Ribbis To answer your question on the Shem MiShmuel, maybe we can invoke the Rashbam who says that the Yishmaelim took Yosef from the pit and sold him to the Midianim, without the knowledge or participation of the brothers. – Joel K May 22 '18 at 19:35
  • 1
    @Draizy Rashbam on Bereishit 37:28. Discussed in detail here. And see this question with its answers. In my earlier comment, I got it the wrong way round - Rashbam says that the Midianim took Yosef from the pit (without the brothers' direct involvement) and then sold him to the Yishmaelim. – Joel K May 23 '18 at 6:08

The Midrash in full (Sifri Devarim 343) quotes a passuk for each of the nations. For Yishmael it quotes Bereishis 16:12, which is a quote from an angel describing to Hagar what her son will be like:

וְה֤וּא יִהְיֶה֙ פֶּ֣רֶא אָדָ֔ם יָד֣וֹ בַכֹּ֔ל וְיַ֥ד כֹּ֖ל בּ֑וֹ

And he will be a wild man, his hand in everything and the hand of all in him.

As Rashi explains there:

ידו בכל: לִסְטִים. ויד כל בו הַכֹּל שׁוֹנְאִין אוֹתוֹ וּמִתְגָּרִין בּוֹ:

His hand in everything: [He will be] a robber. The hand of all in him: Everyone will hate him and attack him.

  • was this the case throughout history, what period is this Midrash/Rashi referring to? – Draizy-Levi Pine May 23 '18 at 2:00
  • @Draizy-LeviPine The Midrash refers to the giving of the Torah. I didn’t read your question carefully enough - I see now that you already knew all of this. The Midrash views these pesukim regarding the nations’ ancestors as applying to the nations they founded. – DonielF May 23 '18 at 2:07

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .