Re: The Sacrifice of Isaac

Moshe Gluck (moish@juno.com)
Tue, 04 Mar 1997 15:49:11 EST

Chaim Gold (Chaym@worldnet.att.net) wrote:
>Accordingly it is to my understanding that Issac would indeed be exempt
>from reciting the Hagomel for it is inappropriate to state that he was
>guilty for placing himself in a hazardous situation being that he was
>merely obeying the command of the Almighty. His case would therefore be
>similar to the minor who is not able to recite to Hagomel for the term
>"Chayovim" (guilty) does not apply to him.

[HaGomel - blessing recited after being near death - YM]

The point illustrated by Chaim Gold exempting Issac from reciting the
Hagomel (blessing after being saved from a dangerous situation) according
to Jewish law, is already stated in the Sefer [book] Lehodos U'lehalel that I
quoted in Forum V3 #20.

In addition it states in that book that not only does the term "chayovim"
(guilty) not apply to Isaac & to Abraham after being in a dangerous
circumstance, on the contrary, they were deemed righteous for acting in
this manner, for their sole purpose in entering this hazardous situations
was to sanctify Hashem's name (Al kiddush Hashem), therefore they are
precisely exempt from reciting the Hagomel.

Furthermore- it would seem that it was not solely to their advantage that
they were saved, being that Issac would have had the merit to be an Olah
Temima (offering) for Hashem & the same with Abraham, thus by being saved
from this situation, they were deprived of a chance to obtain this merit,
therefore it would not seem proper to obligate them to recite Hagomel
[meaning: Hashem has benefitted the guilty], for neither "Chayovim"
(guilty) is appropriate in their situation nor is "Tovos" (good), for their
recovery may not have been in their favor.

But this point is contemplated on in the Lehodos U'lehalel- for while it is
indeed a virtue to perish Al Kiddush Hashem (sanctify Hashem's name),
perhaps their survival from such a treacherous situation is a much greater
Kiddush Hashem in itself; furthermore, they now have the ability to relate
to others the wonders of Hashem and to spread his Divine Glory throughout
the universe.

On the other hand, there may be a problem of Mar'is Ayin (semblance of
wrong-doing), for by reciting the Hagomel it may seem that he is content
with the fact that he is alive after encountering a dangerous situation as
apposed to having the opportunity to be a Korban (offering) Al Kiddush
Hashem which he did not merit.

For availability of the Sefer Lehodos U'lehalel contact the author:
Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Friedman
815 14th. Street
Lakewood, N.J. 08701

Moshe Gluck
moish@juno.com