Vayeira: Helicopter Parenting

“Helicopter parenting” is a buzzword in modern society. In Parashat Vayeira, we see Sarah’s strong reaction to Yishmael “playing” with Yitzchak (Bereshit 21:9). The authors of the Midrash wonder why this “playing” caused Sarah to have such a strong reaction to the point where she banished Yishmael and his mother Hagar. The Midrash in Bereishit Rabbah 53:11 suggests that Yishmael and Yitzchak were engaged in more than just child’s play. The Midrash proposes that Yishmael was participating in foul play: anywhere from shooting arrows in the direction of his Yitzchak to engaging in idolatry by sacrificing locusts on a mini altar.

  • Was Sarah’s reaction a biblical-case of “helicopter parenting?”
  • Is there a deeper issue that Sarah was trying to address by putting an end to this play-date gone awry?
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