198. Rabbi Yosi and Rabbi Chiya were traveling on the road. Rabbi Yosi said to Rabbi Chiya, Why are you silent? The road is not improved save with words of Torah. Rabbi Chiya sighed and wept. He opened the discussion saying, "But Sarai was barren; she had no child" (Beresheet 11:30). Woe unto this, woe unto the time that Hagar bore Ishmael.
199. Rabbi Yosi said to him, Why? SARAH gave birth after ISHMAEL WAS BORN, and had a son of a holy stock. WHY DO YOU SAY, WOE? He said to him, You see, and I see, and so I heard the matter from the mouth of Rabbi Shimon, and I wept. FOR HE SAID, Woe for that time, because since Sarah was tardy, it is written, "And Sarai said to Abram...I pray you, go in to my maid" (Beresheet 16:2). Therefore, the moment was propitious for Hagar to inherit Sarah her mistress, and HAGAR bore a son from Abraham.
200. And Abraham said, "O that Ishmael might live before you" (Beresheet 17:18). Even though the Holy One, blessed be He, gave him the news about Isaac, Abraham cleaved to Ishmael, until the Holy One, blessed be He, answered him, "And as for Ishmael, I have heard you..." (Ibid. 20). He was later circumcised and entered the Holy Covenant before Isaac came into the world.
201. Come and see, for four hundred years, the minister of the children of Ishmael stood and begged before the Holy One, blessed be He. He said to Him, Whoever is circumcised has a portion in Your name. THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, said to him, it is so. He said to Him, Behold Ishmael who is circumcised. Why does he not have a portion in You like Isaac? He said to him, It is not so: the one was circumcised well and properly, while the other was not. Moreover, the ones cleave to Me properly at the eighth day, while the others are distanced from me for many days. THE APPOINTED MINISTER said to Him, But still in all, since he is circumcised, would not he have a good reward for this?
202. Woe is to the time that Ishmael was born into the world and was circumcised. What did the Holy One, blessed be He, do PERTAINING TO THE COMPLAINT OF THE MINISTER OF ISHMAEL? He distanced the children of Ishmael from supernal cleaving and gave them a portion below in the Holy Land, because of their circumcision.
203. The children of Ishmael are destined to rule over the Holy Land for a long time when it is empty from anything, like their circumcision, which is empty and imperfect. And they will prevent the children of Yisrael from returning to their place until the reward for the merit of the children of Ishmael reaches completion.
204. The children of Ishmael will cause great wars in the world and the children of Edom will gather against them, and wage war against them, one on the sea, one on the dry land, and one near Jerusalem. And they will rule over each other, but the Holy Land will not be given over to the children of Edom.
205. At that time, a nation from the end of the earth will be roused against evil Rome and wage war against it for three months. Nations will gather there, and will fall into their hands until all the children of Edom will gather against it from all the corners of the world. Then the Holy One, blessed be He, will be roused against them. This is the meaning of, "For Hashem has a sacrifice in Botzrah" (Yeshayah 34:6). And afterwards, it is written, "That it might take hold of the ends of the earth..." (Iyov 38:13). He will destroy the descendants of Ishmael from the land, and break all the powers of above. There will not remain any power above over the eternal people, MEANING YISRAEL, except the power of Yisrael alone. This is the meaning of, "Hashem is your shade upon your right hand" (Tehilim 121:5).
206. For the Holy Name is on the right, and the Torah is on the right. Therefore, everything stems from the right. We learned that we should raise the right over the left, as it is written, "At His right hand was a fiery law unto them" (Devarim 33:2). In the future to come, IT IS WRITTEN, "Save with Your right hand and answer me" (Tehilim 60:7). And of that time, it is written, "For then I will convert the peoples to a purer language, that they may all call upon the name of Hashem, to serve Him with one consent" (Tzefanyah 3:9), and, "On that day Hashem shall be one, and His Name One" (Zecharyah 14:9).