The Akeida – A Source of Eternal Merit

B’rashith 22.1 “And it happened after these words that The G-D nisah essayed [tried, proved, tested] Avraham and said to him, Avraham. And he replied, Hineini.”

Avraham has no idea why God has called him or what God will ask, but he is ready and responsive.

And so when G-D calls out to Avraham, he stops and replies “Here I am” I am ready, I am focused and listening. “Hineini.” Avraham demonstrates for us what commitment means: it is the stance of being fully present, open, alert, and responsive in the moment when we are called.

G-D calls directly, “Avraham”, who replies with the phrase “Hineini, I am here.” Saying “Hineini,” does not simply mean, “I’m here” the way a student absentmindedly responds to a teacher to indicate presence, Hineini means, “I am here for you fully, with the trust and vulnerability to do whatever it is you ask of me.”

Yet the Parsha continues:

“And He said: ‘Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, even Yitzchaq, and go into the Land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.’ ”

“upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”

The Torah does not tell us what G-D spoke to Avraham concerning “one of the mountains;” or does it?!

If our definition of Hineini encapsulates a multifaceted meaning, then our “lead word” Avraham has a multifaceted meaning besides being Avraham’s name (“Father of a Multitude”).

3 And Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he cleaved the wood for the burnt-offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which G-D had told him.

B’rashith 22.3 states: “and went to the place of which The G-D had told him.”

B’rashith 22.4 “On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.”

B’rashith 22.5 “And Avraham said to his young men: ‘Abide here with the ass, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship [prostrate], and come back to you.’ “

[“… ] and we will worship [prostrate] (Tehillim 95.6), and come back to you.”

Targum Y’rushalmi interprets the name Moriah as land of worship; while others interpret the name to mean the teaching-place (referring to the Sanhedrin that met there).

Yet we find in B’rashith 22.14 that Avraham named that site Ad-nai Yireh. “And Abraham called the name of that place Adonai-yireh; as it is said to this day: ‘In the mount where the L-RD is seen.’ “

Moriah is related to the word Torah – “teaching” – the lesson to Avraham, Yitzchaq and their offspring is that G-D prohibits human sacrifice! If (since) Avraham means “Father of a Multitude” and he named the place of which he was told, Ad-nai Yireh (‘In the mount where the L-RD is seen.’) then he must have been told something about that place “where the L-RD is seen.”

One must ask why does the Torah go into detail about “rising up early and cleaving the wood”?

He split the wood to check for worms or insects which would disqualify the sacrifice (if the wood were left whole).

When he tells his two young men “we will go yonder and worship and return to you” he intentionally excludes them from their act of worship (prostration).

What the Torah is getting at seems to be something special about that place “where the L-RD is seen” on the Mountain which Avraham has been told about.

He is called by HaShem Avraham out of compassion for his offspring! If Avram has compassion for worms and insects then surely he, Avraham a “Father of a Multitude” would have compassion for his only son Yitzchaq.

HaMoriah is the place where HaShem is seen (His Compassion for all creatures) and where He provides a ram in the stead of Yitzchaq. It is a contraction of [prefixed with a hey the definite article “the” and a mem for from] Ori (my Light) and Yah (as in HaShem), meaning “The Yah is my Light” or “My Enlightenment is from The Yah!” (The Torah tells us by the definitive article “hey” prefixing El-him (22.1, 3, 9) that there is none else besides the Judge and Father of Compassion. )

B’rashith 22.4 “On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.”

22.7 And Isaac spoke unto Abraham his father, and said: ‘My father.’ And he said: ‘Here am I, my son.’ And he said: ‘Behold the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?’

So the Torah tells us that Avraham saw the place where HaShem is seen from afar off and went with Yitzchaq to prostrate (worship) and sacrifice. The Enlightenment Avraham and Yitzchaq obtain or receive on the Mountain is that HaShem does not demand human sacrifice even though Avraham and Yitzchaq were willing (Hineini) to offer up Yitzchaq but rather HaShem desires Compassion for all creatures!

Absent from our examination is the voice of the Angel (22.11-12, 15-16) because Yitzchaq’s voice comes through much more prevalent: “And Isaac spoke unto Abraham his father, and said: ‘My father.’ And he said: Hineini ‘Here am I, my son .’

On the Mountain (Moriah), HaShem will eternally see the Binding of Yitzchaq as a source of merit (Compassion) for Avraham’s offspring. (Rabbi Bachya)

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