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Bound Faith

This week's parashah, Va'yera, contains such an abundance of material that it is difficult to decide what to discuss. It begins with the visit of the messenger- angels who tell Abraham that Sarah will bear a child in her old age. The narrative then continues with Abraham attempting to convince God not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah along with the saving of Lot and his family, the birth of Yitzhak/Isaac to Abraham and Sarah, and the casting out of Hagar and Ishmael. The parashah then ends with one of the most familiar and troubling passages in the Torah, the Akedah - Binding of Isaac.

In spite of this plethora of material I always seem to be drawn to the narrative of the Akedah. Perhaps it is because I still have not come to terms with it. Perhaps it is because there are so many ways and so many perspectives from which one can interpret it . But whatever the reason I am once again drawn to the story this year.

However, today I have chose to once again use poetry as a way of expressing what I imagine some of Yitzhak's thoughts might have been after leaving Mount Moriyah. According to the text Abraham returns alone to his servants after the Akedah. Commentators throughout the centuries have tried to answer the question of what happened to Yitzhak at that point.

I imagine that Yitzhak walked away alone as his father was sacrificing the ram in his stead. Reliving the moment when his life was almost sacrificed he begins to wonder what meaning might be derived from this experience. According to one ancient rabbinic tradition Yitzhak was 37 when he was bound on the altar. If that were the case then he certainly could have overpowered his elderly father. So perhaps we must ask ourselves, as I imagine Yitzhak might have, what is the meaning of his "inaction" on Mount Moriyah when he allowed himself to be bound and almost sacrificed?


Bound Faith

Yitzhak
my name
Yitzhak
a verb
he shall laugh
but I cannot laugh
the name itself is a cruel joke
perhaps they made a mistake
maybe it should have been Yitz'ak
he shall cry out
no even that is not right
for I am not a verb
I do not act
I simply am
I know not what
let father decide
let mother decide
let God decide
let me decide
now there's something that could make me laugh
but there is no one here to hear
I am alone

I have left my father's house
Yet I will always carry it with me
I have left the place of my birth
Perhaps now I can finally be born
I have left my land - my piece of earth
Though it was never really mine

Only one piece of earth truly belongs to me
the place where I was bound
the place where I was willing
to give up my life my self
for my father
for his God for my God
the place where I was prepared to act
to finally become
a verb
a man
by doing nothing
inactive action
the most courageous foolish act I could have taken

that place that time that moment
I became human
I became one with God father mother brother self everything
I realized
I am alone but not alone
no longer bound to the altar of fire
I am bound to the altar of faith
bound faith not blind faith
faith in the One who gave me life upon that altar
at the moment when I surrendered
when I chose
to act to do to make a difference
to finally live not knowing how long my life would last

I pray that I can continue to act
to make a difference
to become
a blessing to all

Now I must begin my journey
to the place that will not be shown to me
to the place that I will find on my own
maybe
that's the point
the journey
each step of the journey
is the destination
is the place
is Divine
is where we are meant
to be
to live
Each place is the end and the beginning
for in each place we can bind ourselves
to God to others to being
and that is the essence
of the sacrifice
of the journey
of being
Alive
Topics: Divrei Torah
Type: Dvar Torah