(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis
AUTHOR: Russell Hendel (firstname.lastname@example.org);
DATE: Wed, 13 Nov 1996
SUBJECT: Re: The sacrifice of Isaac
The Akeydah---the order to Abraham, by God, to offer his son Isaac, raises
the psychological question: how---even if Hashem ordered it----could a
person offer his son as a sacrifice
Hashem is always considerate of people's feelings; He never "barges"
in on them in a way that would freighten them (Rashi Gen 3:9). The most
famous example of this is Hashem's first appearance to the prophet Samuel,
(Sam I,3). G-d was so gentle that Shmuel thought that it was his teacher,
Ali, who was calling him!
In a similar manner Judaism emphasizes that God only tests people when the
people in question will pass and benefit from the tests (e.g. Prv 3:12 and
comments on it).
Thus if God wanted to test Abraham with the sacrifice of his Isaac he would
certainly first "prepare" him for it.
A search thru the Chumash [Torah] clearly shows this preparation: How
elegant that exactly one chapter before the sacrifice of Abraham's son
Isaac (Gen 22) we find Abraham's expulsion of his other son Yishmael (Gen
21)! Thus the sacrifice of Isaac was preceeded by the "sacrifice" of
Ishmael. The Bible even goes into the depression and agony which Abraham
felt and how God comforted him (Gen 21:11-12). Indeed, Abraham was
prepared for the Akayda!
Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.d, ASA