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Wednesday, September 21, 2011


The article for the Lunch and Learn was a transcript of a round table discussion with several rabbis as they chewed over the meaning of the binding Isaac story, which is traditionally read on Rosh Hashanah (though Bereshit, In the beginning, is probably more appropriate).  Of course I hate this story, where the father is willing to sacrifice his beloved son, and I hate that it is held up as the ideal of faith.  As they say, God didn't ask Sarah to do it, because a mother wouldn't even consider it.  I thought the reading was super interesting, and my favorite comment was (maybe not surprisingly) from the female rabbi, who noted that perhaps we are supposed to understand the story as a condemnation of Abraham, that he went too far (she notes that his life falls apart after that - Sarah dies, Isaac leaves).  Another rabbi notes that the lesson is in the end of the story, when God lets Abraham off the hook - suggesting that God would never truly ask us to do that; rather than the lesson being about what we are supposed to be willing to do for God.  All these commentaries were very helpful to me - I can now see more clearly the value in the story, rather than just cringing over it. 


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