The sacrifice of Isaac
Thu, 14 Nov 1996 18:54:35 -0500 (EST)
The question whether G-d commands or requests Abraham to sacafrice Isaac is
clearer in English than Hebrew. In Hebrew the command, Kach-nah is used,
that is the polite form of "take." We might phrase it, "Could you take" or
"would you mind taking." The understanding here is that Abraham used his
own free will--he was not forced into this action. Certainly the sacrifice
could have taken place on that day, in that location, but Abraham journeys
for 3 days--a long time to contemplate such a serious action as sacrificing
one's favorite son.
There are many ways to read this parashah. None of them are wrong. the
multiplicity of levels merely adds to the richness of understanding of this
very complicated narrative.