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Akeidah Yitzchak consequences


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Shevat 1, 5773
Did the experience at Har Moriah cause Yitzchak any emotional problems? Thoughts to consider in this regard: 1. When Yaakov is giving his blessings, he refers to Yitzchak with the thought of "pachad" Yitzchak. Was this a fear from Har Moriah? 2. Did he have a dysfunctional relationship with his father from Har Moriah that was represented by his witholding the Avrahamic blessing to Yaakov until Yaakov was going off to Paddam Aram?
In general, we are supposed to learn from our parents, and it’s not our place to analyze them (unless they ask for our professional help…), especially when we don’t have even a tiny percentage of the necessary relevant information of Yitzchak’s life. I wouldn’t want to go to a psychologist who develops his analysis without knowing too much about the “patient”! That being said, the Tanach is (!) meant to be studied in depth for all generations, where in addition to the oral traditions, can also include the use of current methods, sciences and analyses (constantly keeping in mind that we’re not talking about “average” people. Just like the Chafetz Chaim, Rambam or Einstein would be hard to understand using conventional methods, geared for “average” people). In fact, there are many variant commentaries on how to explain “Pachad Yitzchak”, yet they all clearly are referring to God, as is clear from the context (31, 42 and 53). Nevertheless, this unique nickname of God’s is used only regarding His relationship with Yitzchak, and the Akeida was undoubtedly a central event in Yitzchak’s life and his personal and religious make-up. In fact, your suggestion is the general direction of the Abravanel (31, 31) and Rabbenu B’chayeh (31, 42)! On the other hand, your second suggestion is much too speculative and we know nothing about Yitzchak’s, or most other Tanachic characters’, relationship with their parents. If the Torah or even the midrashim, don’t reveal anything on the topic, than obviously there’s nothing we can know about it. One also should be careful not to suggest anachronistic explanations, because the father-child relationship was significantly different in ancient societies, especially when, again, we’re talking about out-of-the ordinary figures. Avraham’s extraordinary kindness held as the example for generations (Micha 7, 20) and as demonstrated regarding his saving Lot, trying to save Sodom, the guests, etc., in addition to the acceptance of child sacrifices in the ancient Middle East, surely brought Yitzchak to see the Akeida in different light than the “average” and modern child-father relationship would see it! With Love of Israel, Rav Ari Shvat
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