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Explaining the Binding of Isaac

Where was Abraham's own moral sense when he agreed to murder Isaac?

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Visitor Comments: 27

(27) David Honaker, March 9, 2011 3:25 PM

Avram v'Yitzach

Well explained Rabbi Becher. I would suspect, also, that this part of Abraham's life is not completely recorded in the Tannach as we now have it. For example, when he told the Egyptians that Sarai was his "sister" how do we not know that he was commanded of G-d to do this? (It saved his life, and that of his wife who, for all we know, may well have also been his sister as the Mosaic Law was not then in place.) I believe, once the full story is known with all of its details we can view this is a more complete light. I also believe the mitzva was given to both him and his wife Sarai and by their compliance the two letters "hey" of the great four letter name were given one to Avram and one to Sarai so that the world would know that the G-d of the world placed his name (and thus approval) on Abraham and Sarah and through them all of the nations (even "Gentiles" such as myself) of the world would be blessed. - David in Phoenix, Arizona, USA

(26) Anonymous, November 7, 2010 4:57 PM

Abraham needed a jolt back to reality

Abraham was human, and we do need to keep that in perspective. Abraham also was known to try to reason with God, when he disagreed, example over destroying Sodom. Here over sacrificing Isaac, Abraham does not say a word to reason this out with who is telling him to do this. I do not see Abraham as a hero because he was willing to sacrifice his son. I see where Abraham had been influence by the people around him and their pagan practices and was too willing to do this. When Abraham listened to the Angel, the messager of God, was when Abraham had stepped in the right direction. Came to his senses, and then was able to hear God speak to him the pagan's ways was not his ways.

(25) Joseph, August 16, 2010 3:31 PM

cessation - why?

Rabbi, these siurim of yours are great. Why don't you continue adding more? We are thirsty for your wisdom.

(24) Dvorah, February 7, 2009 12:27 PM

A Test or The hint of a Law

I many times wonder if the binding of Issac had anything to do with Avraham "faith" so to to speak. In a world where the sacrifice of the child, especially one of the leader was seen as a ultimate way to please a god, was God using this situation to see if Avraham saw pleasing God the same as what he saw when he was young in the land he came from...and after all he could return for Ishmael or wait for another Issac to come along. Was HaShem using this to show that He was not like the other gods, "stop and think I trying to get you to think with this request and arque it out with Me, than just getting up and going ahead with there more to this than just doing without thinking, doing without communicating, doing without understanding." I think in the end of it all HaShem was saying, not human sacrifice Avraham, animal sacrifice, "since you are moving along and at the point of doing what pagans do, let me jump in here fast, not a human,,,,,,a animal,,,here's a goat". And Torah does go on to distinquish sacrifice into animal and we unlike the pre-world of Avraham today abhor the very thought of human sacrifice, one that clearly sets us apart from many religions of today..HaShem does not require human blood on any altar for any purpose.

(23) Mike, December 18, 2008 5:41 PM

Thank you

Thank you for your insight into this. This was one passage I struggled with and your perspective helped me.

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