Most commentators agree that the most difficult of the so-called ten trials of Abraham was the Akeyda-the commandment to sacrifice his son Isaac. (found in the portion from last week, Vayera).
Not Rabbi Jonah Girondi (d. 1263). Girondi believes that the greatest and most difficult of Abraham’s trials takes place in the portion of this week, Hayyei Sarah.
Abraham is forced to engage in complex and difficult negotiations with the local inhabitants in order to purchase a burial site for his wife, Sarah. The test, according to Girondi, is that Abraham thought he was done. He had done everything God had asked, even almost sacrificed his own son, and now thought that he was entitled to enjoy his rest and retirement. He was ready to move to Boca and play a little golf and maybe soak in the sun. But no-he had to once again rise to the occasion and engage in the difficult and soul-wrenching experience of not only burying his wife, but negotiating with sharp and hard bargaining traders. The greatest trials, says Girondi, usually occur when we think we are done with trials altogether.
Just when we were coming to the end of the aftermath of Sandy (although many remain without power to this day) we are hit with a nor’easter! The greatest of trials occur precisely when you think you are done.
*with apologies to The Godfather Part III