Some call it the binding of Isaac, some the sacrifice of Isaac. In Hebrew, we all call it Akeidat Yitzchak, the “Akeidah.” That does technically mean—the binding. But thinking deeply about the story and about the human relationships, there was indeed a sacrifice. Part of Yitzchak must have died there. Part of a father’s relationship with his son did. The man who vigorously bargained with God to save the City that became a metaphor for evil did not even try to bargain for the life of his son? And Yitzchak knows that?
It has always been troubling to me that father and son do not have a conversation that the Torah records again.
Avraham did not share the secret of the impending test before and we are not told that Avraham and Yitzchak discussed it later. His father even deceived him along the way. The next thing we know is that Yitzchak’s mother is dead and Avraham is going to find Yitzchak a wife.
None of our Patriarchs seem to have had great parenting skills.
Our Torah does not pull any punches and our Sages have been quite candid. We are to learn from the mistakes of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs too.
What would have happened if Avraham apologized to Yitzchak and explained to him about the pressure he was under to fulfill God’s command?
What would Sarah have done if Avraham had shared God’s command with her? God had told Avraham once before to listen to Sarah. How could Avraham not share this story with her? What if there had been a family discussion of the test?
Were those just different times?
Is it only now that we see the benefits of communication?
This Shabbat we learn with Rabi Aaron Bergman who will be discussing the Akeidah story through the lens of some Israeli poetry. I can hardly wait.
9:45 a.m. in the Shiffman Chapel. Come as you are. Stay as long as you like!