An unusual discussion about Abraham - Vayera

Thursday, 14 November, 2019 - 5:25 am

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 L'étude Painting by Serge KRIEF

Three students of the great Magid of Mezeritch, Rabbi Dov Ber, were discussing late at night.

 “What was so great about Akedat Yitschak (the Binding of Isaac)? If G-d has asked me personally to sacrifice my son, of course I would have done it!” said the first one, and he answered his own question: “But I would have waited a few days before fulfilling the command, to enjoy my son a little more. Abraham though, left early next morning, without delay. This is what made the story so unique.”  

The second student said: “I would also have left early in the morning without wasting time in order to do what G-d had commanded me. But I would have done it with a heavy heart, while Abraham went happy that he was able to fulfill G-d’s command. This is what was special about Abraham.”

The third one said that if G-d had asked him to, he would have obeyed without delay and joyfully. But what was special about Abraham was his reaction when G-d told him that it was only a test to prove his faith.  His biggest joy was not that his son was saved but that he was able to fulfill another command of G-d, to sacrifice the animal (instead of Isaac).

This story was told by the first Rebbe of Chabad, Rabbi Shneor Zalman of Liadi, who was also a student of the Magid of Mezeritch. And he added: “This whole discussion was not theoretical for them. Each one of them had attained the level of self-sacrifice he described”.

Let’s think about it a little. Akedat Yitschak is a very central theme in Judaism. We mention it many times in our prayers and ask G-d to help us in its merit. In which merit? In merit of the joy! More important that the action itself was the way Abraham did it. With zeal and joy.

It is not enough to do good actions. Let’s do them in a good manner as well. Let’s be like Abraham and in the merit of our good actions which we will accomplish without delay and with true joy, we will bring Mashiach now!

Shabbat Shalom,


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