Thursday, July 8, 2010

God, Abraham, Isaac and the Akedah

I have recently engaged in a discussion about the famous biblical event that has perturbed many and been discussed and analyzed extensively: The Akedah, the incident where Abraham comes close to sacrificing his son Isaac at God’s direction, only to be stopped at the last minute by an angel of God. In addition to the traditional lauding of Abraham for passing this test with unquestioning faith, all kinds of discussions focus on why God would play such a mind-game with Abraham, why Abraham would even consider that this was in fact a genuine command from God, and what about the traumatic effect on poor Isaac? Some discuss that at the time, it was common for human sacrifice to be practiced, and even though Abraham was forging in a new spiritual direction, he might not have considered it so odd for such a request to be made. The lesson was that from that point forward, part of the new spiritual direction would be the cessation of human sacrifice, that animal sacrifice would suffice.

This is my take/revelation about the akedah incident: I generally look below the surface for the figurative lesson that lies behind the literal story (if you are not familiar with the PARDES approach to studying scripture, you should Google it). What is most striking to me about this story is that God was asking Abraham to sacrifice his future, his legacy, his chance at eternal life/immortality, which was all embodied in his son, Isaac. It was very close to God asking Abraham to kill himself, it was just a generation removed; he was asking Abraham to sacrifice/kill/annihilate his future. Why? Because the future, legacy, eternal life/immortality sometime later are all bogus! To be immersed in the PRESENT is the only thing that really exists and the only portal to Eternity NOW. God was asking for the ultimate sacrifice in order for Abraham to have the ultimate revelation that all that ever exists is The Eternal NOW (with apologies to Eckhart Tolle). Then he can have it all, the lower animal nature of a ram will do for the sacrifice (because the lower animal nature constantly needs to be sacrificed) and Isaac can live.


Anonymous said...

awesome blog, do you have twitter or facebook? i will bookmark this page thanks. jasmin holzbauer

Steve Gold said...

Thanks for the comment. You can find me on facebook, although I don't use it much. You are welcome and encouraged to post other comments or questions on this blog.

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