12. "And Hashem spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron" (Vayikra 16:1): Rabbi Chizkiyah opened the discussion saying, "Therefore, thus says Hashem concerning the house of Jacob, who redeemed Abraham..." (Yeshayah 29:22). This verse is troublesome. It should read, 'Therefore, thus says Hashem, who redeemed Abraham.' Why does it say "Therefore, thus says Hashem concerning the house of Jacob, who redeemed Abraham?"
13. We have already learned that Jacob surely redeemed Abraham. At the time that ABRAHAM fell into THE FURNACE OF the Chaldeans' fire, his fate was being decided before the Holy One, blessed be He. In what merit should this one be saved as he lacks ancestral merits? THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, said TO THE COURT ON HIGH: 'He should be saved because of his sons.' As we have learned, a son can bring merits for his father. The others replied: But Ishmael will descend from him. The Holy One, blessed be He, replied, 'But Isaac WILL DESCEND FROM HIM, who will extend his throat FOR THE SACRIFICE on the altar.' The others said: But Esau will derive from Isaac. THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, said, 'But Jacob will DESCEND FROM HIM, who is a whole throne, and all his sons are perfect before Me.' They concurred by saying: Surely for this merit, Abraham shall be rescued. Such is the meaning of, "who redeemed Abraham."
14. IT IS WRITTEN, "Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now grow pale; when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in the midst of him, sanctifying My name" (Yeshayah 29:22-23). HE QUESTIONS: Who are "his children, the work of My hands?" HE ANSWERS: They are Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, WHO THREW THEMSELVES INTO A BURNING FIRE TO SANCTIFY MY NAME. HE QUESTIONS, "Jacob shall not now be ashamed:" What is Jacob doing here? For it is written, "These were among the descendants of Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah" (Daniel 1:6). NOTE, they are referred to as scions of Judah. As a result, it should read: 'Judah shall not now be ashamed.' Why then does it state, "Jacob shall not now be ashamed?"
15. HE ANSWERS: We have learned at the time they bound HANANIAH, MISHAEL AND AZARIAH in order to cast them into fire, each raised his voice and spoke before all the gathered nations, kings and nobles. Hananiah said, "Hashem is with me, I will not fear: what can man do to me? Hashem takes my part with those who help me: therefore I shall gaze upon those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in Hashem..." (Tehilim 118:6-8). Mishael said, "Therefore fear you not, My servant Jacob, says Hashem...For I am with you, says Hashem, to help you, for I will make a full end of all the nations" (Yirmeyah 30:10-11). At that moment, when THE NATIONS AND THE NOBLES heard the name Jacob, they were disgusted and began mockingly to laugh, BECAUSE HE PUT HIS TRUST IN JACOB. Azariah commenced to proclaim, "Hear O' Yisrael, Hashem our Elohim; Hashem is One" (Devarim 6:4).
16. This is what is written, "One shall say, I am Hashem's..." (Yeshayah 44:5). "One shall say, I am Hashem's" refers to Hananiah, WHO DECLARED THAT "HASHEM TAKES MY PART..." "And another shall call himself by the name of Jacob" (Ibid.): This is Mishael, WHO SAID, "FEAR YOU NOT, O MY SERVANT JACOB." "And another shall subscribe with his hand to Hashem, and surname himself by the name of Yisrael" (Ibid.). This is Azariah, WHO SAID, "HEAR O' YISRAEL..." At that moment, the Holy One, blessed be He, assembled His heavenly council, NAMELY THE ANGELS, and said to them, 'For which word among the words that these three uttered, should I save them?' They replied, "That they may know that You alone, whose name is Hashem, are the most high over all the earth" (Tehilim 83:19), MEANING SAVE THEM, BECAUSE THEY TRUSTED IN HASHEM.
17. At that hour, the Holy One, blessed be He, said to the throne, WHICH IS MALCHUT, 'My throne, for which word, among all the words THEY UTTERED, should I save these righteous men?' It replied: For the word that all the others mocked, I would save them, NAMELY THE MERIT OF JACOB, "Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now grow pale," SO THEY WILL SEE THAT THEY WERE SAVED IN HIS MERIT. Just as THE MERIT OF Jacob stood fast when Abraham was cast into the fire, now it will stand fast for these - NAMELY HANANIAH, MISHAEL AND AZARIAH. This is what is written, "Thus says Hashem concerning the house of Jacob, who redeemed Abraham, Jacob shall not now be ashamed..." namely by the contempt and the mockery with which THE NATIONS AND NOBLES RIDICULED HIM.
18. We have learned that all those who ridiculed this word, NAMELY "JACOB," were consumed by that fire, and a spark of flame killed them. Who saved Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah? HE DID, because they prayed before the Holy One, blessed be He, Hashem, and unified His Name properly. Because they unified His Name properly, they were saved from that consuming fire.