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Hopelessness: The self-fulfilling prophecy


At the age of one hundred, Abraham had resigned himself to being childless and lost hope of fathering a child. Therefore, when G-d appeared to him to bless him, Abraham replied, “What could You possibly give me, seeing that I am going to be childless and my servant, Eliezer, will inherit me?”

Tellingly, G-d replied to Abraham, “Eliezer will not be your heir instead, your own child will inherit you.”

This reply can be understood as a rebuke to Abraham that his feelings of despair will prevent him from receiving the Divine blessings. Instead, Abraham was told that he must say, “MY child will inherit me.”

The teaching in this passage is of great importance. A person’s attitude of despair can prevent him from finding a solution to his situation. A person dares never lose hope. Regardless of how bleak circumstances may be, he must never give up.

Abraham was told that he must retract his statement that he is doomed to be childless because unless he shakes off his negative attitude of despair, the Divine blessings may not be effective. Instead, he must say, “I believe it is possible for me to have a child.“ Hopelessness can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whereas things may appear extremely bleak, for the person with faith, there is always hope.