Sunday, October 20, 2013

On Akeidas Yitzchak

 This week's parsha was Vayera  which includes the story of Akeidas Yitzchak - the sacrificing of Yitzchak. As most of us , I remember learning of this as a child. I guess I wasn't as sensitive a child as I thought, or maybe the credit for this not bothering me as a kid goes to the rabbi who taught us this. I don't know. This shabbos I was able to revisit the mind of a child regarding Akeidas Yitzchak.
    I was at my friend's house this shabbos and her twelve year old daughter was very upset by the parsha. Me, not even remembering what the parsha was asked her why. She said that  Akeidas Yitzchak really bothered her. She could not understand why the idea of being willing to sacrifice one's child to Hashem would be an admirable thing. I paused for a moment and realized just how great a test Akeidas Yitzchak was to Avraham. Of course as an adult I understood how grand a test this was for him. He fathered Yitzchak at age 100. Even if 100 was like 65 at the time , 100 was still old to have a child . If I had a child at my age which is nowhere near  90 or 100 I could not imagine sacrificing them even to Hashem. Of course this is what made Avraham special. He would be willing to sacrifice the son he had in old age to Hashem. I think that the point of Akeidas Yitzchok is not only that Avrahm's faith was that great that he would do anything Hashem wanted him to  but also that Hashem would not really have him go through with it. Hashem would want us to feel we would do anything for him , but he would not necessarily want us to do anything (like sacrifice our own child) for Him. Its really quite profound.


tesyaa said...

Why would Hashem want Avraham (and not to mention Yitzchak) suffer PTSD as a result of this event? And the midrash says that Sara died of the shock of hearing about the event. Sure, it was a great test, yada yada yada, but how nice was it, really?

smoo said...

The Torah teaches lessons through the development of stories. The ancient world accepted infanticide as a right and even was done for supplicating the deity. The Torah sets the ancient reader up to hear a story that jives with their world view of infanticide and then SURPRISE it isn't at all what the deity wanted after all!

For more see:

frum single female said...

smoo- I read your post. very informative. I appreciate your take on it.