This D’var Torah should be a Zechus L’Ilui Nishmas my sister, Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my paternal grandfather Moshe Ben Yosef A”H, my uncle Reuven Nachum Ben Moshe & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein.
It should also be in Zechus L’Refuah Shileimah for:
-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel
-My grandmothers Channah Freidel Bas Sarah, and Shulamis Bas Etta
-MY BROTHER: MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO BEN CHAYA ROCHEL
-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili
-Noam Shmuel Ben Simcha
-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis
-And all of the Cholei Yisrael, especially those suffering from COVID-19 and the Meiron tragedy.
-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken by terrorists (Hashem Yikom Damam), COVID-19, and the Meiron tragedy.
-It should also be a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.
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לע”נ שמואל מנחם בן אריה לייב
לע”נ לאה בת אברהם
לע”נ יהודה חסדא יקיר בן הרב שלמה
Parsha Paradise/פרשה פרדס – Vayeira: Avraham Didn’t Sacrifice Yitzchak… Or Did He? ?
Although Avraham was ready to make the ultimate sacrifice, he didn’t actually sacrifice Yitzchak… Did he?
P’shat: Of Course Not…
Rashi and Bechor Shor [22:2, 12, Bereishis Rabbah 56:8] highlight the fact that Hashem never told Avraham specifically to slaughter Yitzchak, but to offer him up; once Avraham did so, Hashem ordered him to bring him down from the altar. Ibn Ezra [22:19] therefore argues that anyone who thinks that “Avraham returned” alone from Akeidah, having slaughtering his son, is drawing a conclusion that runs contrary to the Pashut P’shat. (Even if the Pasuk doesn’t specify that Yitzchak also returned, of course he did.) This near-death read of the Akeidah is undoubtedly the traditional understanding of the story.
Remez: Yitzchak’s Ashes
And yet, later in the Torah [Vayikra 26:42], at the end of the Tochachah, Rashi and Ba’al HaTurim cite a Remez that is at least suggestive of a read that implies that, indeed, Yitzchak was the subject and object of the ultimate sacrifice. The verse in Parshas B’Chukosai reads, “V’Zacharti Es Brisi Yaakov V’Af Es Brisi Yitzchak V’Af Es Brisi Avraham Ezkor…”-“And I will remember My covenant with Yaakov, and even my covenant with Yitzchak, and even my covenant with Avraham I shall remember…”
The Midrash [Sifra, B’Chukosai 8:6-7] is bothered by the fact that Hashem specifies that He will “remember,” using the word “remember” in direct juxtaposition to His covenant with Yaakov and with Avraham, but not regarding His covenant with Yitzchak. Why is the word “remember” not specified in connection to Yitzchak, Al Pi Remez, the Midrash suggests that it is because the covenant with Yitzchak does not require a special reminder or memory, as the “ashes” of Yitzchak remain constantly before Hashem.
Although we know that Yitzchak was eventually buried in Chevron, the Midrash suggests that the Yitzchak is seen as having been reduced to “ashes” at the Akeidah.
Drash: As if…
The above supports what we may think of as the homiletical read of the Akeidah, that even though, of course, Yitzchak did not die at the Akeidah, due to the commitment of both Avraham and Yitzchak to the will of Hashem, it was considered as though indeed, Avraham slaughtered his son.
Thus, Rashi [to 22:13] cites another Midrash which gives special attention to the ram that Avraham slaughtered “Tachas B’no,” literally, “instead of his son.” These words were not necessary to demonstrate that Avraham slaughtered the ram and not his son. However, explains the Midrash, the words “Tachas B’no,” quite precisely, mean “in place of” his son, not merely acting as an alternate, but as a fulfillment of the original command. Avraham prayed that as he slaughtered the ram, sprinkled its blood, skinned it and consume it to ash, that it should be as though he had performed those rituals upon his son [Bereishis Rabbah 56:9].
Sod: He Actually Did…
And yet, there are several other sources in both Midrash and Kabbalah that insist, that contrary to the traditional approach, Avraham actually slaughtered his son Yitzchak at the Akeidah, and that Yitzchak was later revived.
(Among them: Yalkut Reuveini, Rabbeinu Bachya, Zohar, Megaleh Amukos on Chayei Sarah, Riva, Chizkuni, Shach Al HaTorah, Likutei Ma’amarim Shvilei Pinchas.)
Among the evidence, they cite several points, for example, the fact that the Chumash states that Avraham returned from the Akeidah and Yitzchak’s name is absent until the day he gets married. There are several other imcredibly compelling arguments made in favor of this wild approach, too many to cite here. To hear more, listen to my audio version of this Shiur or listen to this Shiur:
In the meantime, what would be the point of such an extreme read of our story and how could we possibly align this read with the opposite read in the simple P’shat? Avraham either slaughtered Yitzchak or he didn’t. Could it be both?
And perhaps this is where the concept of “Pardeis” becomes relevant. Each approach of Pardeis represents another simultaneously true angle of the story. Perhaps, historically, Al Pi P’shat, Yitzchak wasn’t killed. But, Sod represents a different angle. If the P’shat is physical, historical body of the story, Sod represents the soul, the deepest essence of the story. Avraham and Yitzchak’s full commitment to the deed is not just “viewed as if” it happened, but in the “alternate universe,” the Emes of the matter is that Avraham sacrificed Yitzchak.
We should all be Zocheh to be Moser Nefesh and completely dedicate ourselves to the Ratzon Hashem, and He should reveal His dedication with Geulah and the coming of Moshiach, Bimheirah BiYomeinu! Have a Great Shabbos!
-Yehoshua Shmuel Eisenberg