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In honor of Rosh Hashanah, this Shabbos we will read of Hashem’s command to Avrohom to offer his precious son Yitzchok as a sacrifice.
Hashem told Avrohom, “Please take your son, your only one, whom you love, Yitzchok, and go away to the land of Moriah and bring him up there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will tell you.” At the last moment he is told, “Do not stretch forth your hand to the lad, nor do the slightest thing to him. For now, I know that you are a G-d fearing man, as you did not withhold your son, your only one, from Me.”
Rashi cites the words “for now I know,” and says the following. “Said Rabbi Abba, Avrohom said to Him, ‘I will explain my discussion before You. Yesterday, You said to me ‘for in Yitzchok will be called your seed.’ You seemingly retracted these words and said, ‘Take now your son.’ Now You say to me, ‘Do not stretch forth your hand to the lad.’ The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, “’I shall not profane My covenant, neither shall I change the utterance of My lips.” When I said to you, ‘Take,’ I was not altering the utterance of My lips. I did not say to you, ‘Slaughter him,’ rather I told you to, ‘Bring him up.’ You have brought him up; (now) take him down.”
Rashi is not implying that Avrohom questioned Hashem. We see countless examples of Avrohom’s complete faith in Hashem’s words. It is impossible to say otherwise.
In Rashi’s earlier comments on the same verse, he cites the words “do not stretch forth,” and explains as follows. “To slaughter him. Avrohom said to Him, ‘If so, I have come here in vain. I will inflict a wound on him and extract a little blood.’ He said to him, ‘Do not do the slightest thing to him.’ Do not cause him any blemish.”
When Avrohom was told not to stretch forth his hand, he was concerned that perhaps he had not fulfilled Hashem’s command with a full heart. Furthermore, when he was told not to even make a blemish on the youth in order to carry out Hashem’s words, he was worried for the same reason. That is why G-d told him “now I know that you are a G-d fearing man, and you did not withhold your son, your only one, from Me.” Despite his concerns, he had actually passed the test.
May we learn from our forefather Avrohom to serve Hashem with a complete hear and total faith. In this merit, may Hashem grant all of us the best and sweetest year ever!
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס
. Bereishis 22:2.
. Bereishis 21:12.
. Bereishis 22:2.