Many a pen has been sharpened - and broken - on the slaughtering blade placed at Isaac's throat, and maybe there would be no point returning to the Biblical binding and sacrifice had it not been brought back to our culture for eulogizing and remembering those gone - "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away." You are familiar with this distorted approach. Vindication of judgment is the latest craze.
Even the Mishnah, those rabbinic deliberations, distinguish between a war of choice and a war of necessity, but on memorial days, they all appear together as one great war that's not yet over - the War of Independence of 1948 and the war of subjugation of 1967 are the same thing; their dates mix together confusedly and the same martyred skies spread over them like a black canopy, and all the sacrifices are accepted.
"And the Lord tested Abraham" - that's the official version that should be rejected in every possible way. It would be better for those carrying out these kinds of experiments to do so on their own necks and not their children's. If God demands proof of total devotion, and if it's important for someone to prove this, let them arrange things without involving the little ones.
I have my own version: God was not planning to test Abraham but rather to mock him and his blind faith. God had not yet calmed down after the Garden of Eden scandal - in which they had eaten from His forbidden fruit - and supposedly said to Abraham: You, man, consider yourself very knowledgeable, you ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but I shall show you that you are really foolish. I shall give you an order to sacrifice your only son whom you love, and you will obey my words and not even ask questions.
And to intensify the mockery, God pointed out at the last minute the ram caught by its horns in the thicket. By then Abraham was ready, he had already "stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son," but God was not ready. That happens sometimes - God is more merciful than those who believe in him, more human.
Did the title "father of many nations" go to Abraham's head? And was he prepared to do something that should not be done and fix it eternally in the national consciousness? Is the behavior of the fathers an example for the sons who will become fathers? Between something good and something preferable, the conclusion is clear - it's much easier to be a father to a large number than to two small children.
This sacrifice has no end, and there is no ram at its end, and in recent times our glorious past has been brought back as a shining example. Take an example from Abraham and do like him, and they even stop asking questions while there is still time, perhaps because there is no one to give a reply and the responses add insult to injury.
This is because each of us has a little Abraham in him who hopes to prove something big to his God and himself. That's what happens when God is removed from the heart, close by, and placed in the sky, far away. They give Him emissaries who run from here to there and back, and they receive text messages every minute telling them what to do and what not to do, directly from the seat of honor.
This is not a proposal to slay little Avreimele before he grows up. This is a proposal to evict him from among us, just as Abraham sent Ishmael into exile to wander in the desert and die of thirst. Our father Abraham sacrificed twice. Had it merely happened once, I would have said it was feeblemindedness.
But time after time, well, that's a matter of personality.
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