Re: The Sacrifice of Isaac

Moshe Gluck (moish@juno.com)
Sun, 19 Jan 1997 00:40:40 EST

In regard to the debate about the Akeida (Sacrifice of Issac), I would
like to cite an interesting note I saw in Sefer "Lehodos U'lehalel" by
Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Friedman:

After a lengthy discussion if Issac would theoretically have been
obligated to recite the Blessing of "Hagomel" (Thanksgiving to
Hashem)according to Halacha (Jewish law) after he was set free from the
Akeida (along with Abraham after he emerged alive from the burning
furnace; Noach after surviving the Mabul-flood etc.), It is concluded
with a probability that Issac would indeed be exempt from reciting the
"Hagomel" -

An example is brought to illustrate his point: If one were to be
approached by an individual with a drawn gun- the victim trembling with
fear- the attacker pulls the trigger and... lo and behold it is a water
gun! The dazed "victim" breathes a sigh of relief while the alleged
"attacker" laughs and apologizes for the scare...

Now the question arises: is the "victim" obligated to recite the Blessing
of "Hagomel"- It is apparent that according to Halacha (Jewish law) he
is exempt being that he was never really in a situation of danger- it
only seemed so for a moment before he discovered that the alleged
attacker is actually holding a water gun to him.

The same is apparently with Issac- The sole purpose of the Akeida
(Sacrifice) was to test Abraham if he will obey Hashem's command
faithfully. It was never decreed that Issac should indeed be slaughtered.
It is therefore obvious that Issac was never REALLY in a dangerous
situation! It only seemed so to him all the while that Abraham was being
tested. After Hashem told Abraham that he should not slaughter Issac, it
was understood that the whole incident had been a Nisoyon (trial).
Therefore according to Jewish law it would seem proper to exempt Issac
from reciting the Blessing of Hagomel.

Moshe Gluck
moish@juno.com