"His (Abraham) sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him (Abraham) in the cave of Machpalah....." (25:9)
Rashi based on Baba Batra 16b states that since the verse precedes Isaac before Ishmael when referring to Abraham's burial, its an indication that Ishmael had repented (TSHUVA). It seems that the Sages had learned from this verse that Ishmael had acknowledged Isaac has Abraham's true heir, and had thus honored him as such. A question can be asked, How is the honor accorded Isaac by Ishmael an indication of repentance? Can one isolated act be a true indication of one's repentance?
How can the Rabbi's say this with certainty? I would like to propose an original answer, Bezrat Hashem as follows: Repentance has 3 basic time related components. In the present a person contemplates his deeds, thereby repenting his past transgressions while at the same time resolving not to repeat similar transgressions in the future. The "future" time element in repentance is significant in our understanding of Ishmael's repentance as understood by the Sages. In Yoma 86b it states the following: "Who is the penitent whose repentance ascends until the Throne of Glory? One who is tested and emerges guiltless.......................(Please refer there for further details.) (End of quote)
The Torah is teaching us that "true" repentance can only be measured when the repentant is faced with sin in the future, and emerges guiltless from any transgression. It means that the repentant stood steadfast, and refused to sin when confronted with sin in the future. This is a true indication that one's repentance was sincere or not. Did this person's repentance bring about everlasting changes in the sinner for the future, or was his repentance stymied in the past only? Ishmael's repentance had changed him. He was not the same person as demonstrated by his actions. He gave honor where it was due, and he humbled himself before Isaac.The Sages , therefore, concluded that Ishmael's had surely repented. It had the necessary element of the "future" in it.His actions had changed for the better, thereby demonstrating his resolve to be better. What type of repentance do we do? Is it stuck in the past, or does it transcend to the future?
Have a good Shabbos
This parsha sheet is being dedicated to my beloved father, Nachman Shimon ben Yehuda Meir Hakohan,Z"L.May it be a merit for his soul.