Friday, October 22, 2010
VaYeira 5634 Third Ma'amar
Note: I did two ma'amarim this week.
"וַיֹּאמֶר קַח־נָא אֶת־בִּנְךָ אֶת־יְחִידְךָ .../He said, 'Please take your son, your only one …" (Breishis 22:2) Thus begins Avraham Avinu's greatest test, Akeidas Yitzchak. After God promised Avraham that Yitzchak alone would be considered his progeny, God instructs Avraham to offer him up as a sacrifice. Interestingly, God does not command Avraham as we find in other places. He rather makes a request, "Please take your son …" God is telling Avraham what He wants without commanding him to do it. What is the significance of this?
The Sfas Emes explains that the fact that God only requested and did not command Avraham Avinu makes this test all the more difficult. God is not testing whether Avraham will follow His instructions. Avraham would obviously do whatever God tells him to do as he had done for his entire life. Rather, God is testing Avraham's desire to fulfill His will simply because he knows that it is God's will. It is a test of his love for God.
This is why God makes a point of saying, "your only son". If God had not said this then Avraham might have thought that he will sacrifice Yitzchak and God will provide him with another son from Sarah. By asking Avraham to sacrifice his "only son", God is saying that He wants Avraham to sacrifice his progeny completely.
So, the test was for Avraham to accept God's will even though there was no command. This he did gladly.
Many times we rationalize saying that if only God appeared to us and told us exactly what to do we would follow God's command unquestioningly. The Akeida buries this rationalization. At the Akeida God revealed His desire to Avraham without commanding him to do it. That Avraham did it and passed the test gives us, his progeny, the fortitude and desire to achieve God's will as well.