Liquid error (sections/custom_mobile-menu line 86): Expected handle to be a String but got LinkListDrop
  • Group 27 Login

Binding of Isaac
Unlocking a Profound Lesson in Sacrifice Justice and Humanity

 The story of the Binding of Isaac, as found in the Torah portion Vayera, represents a pinnacle in the spiritual career of our forefather Abraham. What happens in this story? It is said that "God tested Abraham." The question arises: why is it written as a test of Abraham and not Isaac? After all, Isaac was supposed to be offered as a burnt sacrifice on the altar, not Abraham. Rabbi Judah Loen Ashkenazi explains. He suggests that the trial of the Akeidah was indeed a test for Abraham because he epitomized the attribute of Chesed or loving-kindness.

Chesed opposes the Binding of Isaac [Akeidah] concept, as Chesed recognizes the Holy One, blessed be He, as the Giver of life. So, why take one's life back? On the other hand, Isaac, who represented the attribute of Gevurah, or strict justice, did not see the Akeidah as a new concept. According to Gevurah [strict justice], one has to pay the price for what one receives, and the price for Isaac receiving life for free is by giving his life back to his creator. Therefore, for Isaac, the idea of the Binding of Isaac [Akeidah] wasn't new. The novel idea was for Abraham.

What conclusion can we draw from this profound concept?
In the end, Isaac needed to be left alive. The willingness to sacrifice himself didn't need to be carried out in practice. Quite the opposite, as soon as one is willing to sacrifice their life, from that very moment, their life becomes significant.

Hence, the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded Abraham not to stretch his hand to the lad, emphasizing the core of all sacrifices. Human beings are willing to offer themselves, but Hebrew halacha demands that, instead of a person, an animal should be provided, just as Abraham did - offering a ram instead of Isaac.

And who gains from this grand act? The actual beneficiaries are all of humanity. This is precisely what Abraham said to the non-Jewish, non-Hebrew youth who accompanied him. He told them, "I and the lad will go yonder, and we will prostrate ourselves and return to you." [Genesis 22:5] The aim is to bring abundant moral and spiritual enlightenment. This is the purpose of the Binding of Isaac [Akeidah] for the entire world.

Wish to learn how to combine Chesed with Strict Justice in your daily life? click here

More Articles

Real Bible Moral Values
Hammas attacked Israel
what was wrong with Israel's Moral Discernment?

In the Cain and Abel narrative, Rabbi Yochanan's interpretation highlights the risks of showing kindness to the wicked, underscoring the need for discernment in acts of compassion. This story prompts us to reflect on moral behavior, emphasizing the importance of considering the character and intentions of those to whom we extend kindness. What broader ethical lessons can we draw from this cautionary tale, and how can we apply them to our interactions with others?

Civilians Under Siege
Hebrew People in the Face of Terror

"Israel recently experienced an unfounded terrorist attack, deliberately targeting civilians, encompassing women, children, and the elderly. In the face of adversity, the Jewish people demonstrated their unity and strength, guided by their faith in one God. They aspire to create a world characterized by peace, harmony, and dignity. To contribute, you can help disseminate this message in your language, among your friends, and provide financial support. May blessings be sent to Israel and all those who stand in solidarity. Let us pray for peace, invoking the hope that 'He who makes peace in His heavens, may He make peace upon the people of Israel and the entire world.'"