Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Akedah- All Sorts of Questions

I have been engaging in a discussion outside of the MOT circles about the Akedah over here that brought up a number of questions for me that I have mulled over the years.

1) Old Abe fought with G-d about Sdom and tried to save the city, where is argument here?
2) How can you sacrifice your children?
3) What happened to Yitzhak afterwards?

Now I suppose I can kind of buy into the line that discusses this within a historical context in which it may not have been seen as being completely meshugah to be asked to sacrifice a child, but that is a little tenuous for me.

I have wondered if this experience is part of the reason that Yitzhak was the father he was. Here is what I mean by this and some of this may stem from ignorance of the text, but I don't recall hearing much that makes me think of him as being father of the year material. Clearly his relationship with Yaacov and Esav suffered because of this and one could extrapolate that the lesson of not playing favorites was lost on Yaacov.

In theory if Yitzhak had been more evenhanded there might not have arisen a situation of such acrimony with Joseph and his brothers.

Thoughts, comments, questions?


Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

If i remember correctly (i'd have to find my notes), Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg reads much of the narrative about Avraham and Yitzhhaq's lives as dealing with repressed (or unrepressed) trauma.

Stacey said...
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Anonymous said...

Robert Alter in "The Art of Bibilical Narrative" has a very interesting chapter on this. I'll see if I can find any of it online; if not, I'll scan and email it to you when I get a chance. (I have the book at home.)

Jack Steiner said...


That makes sense to me.


That sounds interesting.

Jack Steiner said...


Just curious why no one else is commenting here.

Soferet said...

You know, The Gift of Death by Jaques Derrida is entirely an analysis of Akeidat Yitzchaq. Particularly from chapter 3 on (if I remember correctly - not at home right now, so cannot check). It was a terrific read, if you can stand this philosipher, & I highly recommend it.

smb said...
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smb said...

It was an extremely hard test and when Avraham showed that he would do it, G-d sent an angel to tell him to stop. And he offered a ram instead.

this test was extremely hard for him, but he was able to get through it. I think it's Not Only because of his devotion to Him but also b/c of his trust in Him.

Jack Steiner said...


I'll have to try and look at that book.


It is hard for me to accept that as an answer, there are other tests that cause less trauma.

Anonymous said...

I checked Robert Alter's book last night and there isn't much about the Akedah in it. Hmmmm. I must have been remembering something else.

It's interesting that the Muslims believe it was Ishmael, not Isaac, who was almost sacrificed.


Zoe Strickman said...

I was wondering if when you said "MOT," were you referring to "Man of the Tribe"? In law school, a nonjewish friend of mine refers to me as the MOT because of my long beard and chassidic look.

By the way, I hope you don't mind me asking you this (and I'm doing so on some other jewish sites as well), but would you be willing to put a link to my site on yours? My site is seriously lacking in Jewish readership and I could use the increased traffic (and more importantly, the feedback) on topics that I am writing about on the blog, and I don't know how to attract more Jewish readers. I'd appreciate any suggestions you have, and I've enjoyed reading your site. Thanks. -Zoe

Jack Steiner said...

Member of the Tribe.