Dr. Frederic A. Doppelt,
Rabbi, The Temple,
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Quest Club Lecture
Friday, October 11, 1968
Fort Wayne, Indiana
ABRAHAM AND ISAAC
A Contemporary Reappraisal
Beginning with chapter 12, the Book of Genesis proceeds to sculpture the character
and personality of Abraham from the time he is just the son of an old pagan family
in ancient Chaldea to become the father of a new faith and people upon the horizon
of history. From the moment he leaves the city of Ur in ancient Babylonia and
sets foot in the land of Canaan--signifying his rejection of the heathen world and
its civilization—he experiences a series of personal moral crises which mold and
shape his life from mere progenitor to become the prototype of a new spiritual
force in the stream of humanity. All of them, however, are only in the nature of
a prelude to the most dramatic and climactic experience in his entire career--
the near-sacrifice of his son Isaac, known in Hebrew as the "Akeda." It is the
gravest crisis which confronted him; it is, infact, the climax in his life. Let us
read this singular account; Genesis 22.
1. After these things, God put Abraham to the test,
and he answered, "Here I am."
He said to him, "Abraham,"
2. And He said, "Take your son, your favored one, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the
land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the heights which I
will point out to you."
3. So early next morning, Abraham saddled his ass and took with him two of his ser>*
vants and his son Isaac. He split the wood for the burnt offering, and he set out
for the place of which God had told him.
4. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place from afar.
5. Then Abraham said to his servants, "You stay here with the ass. The boy and
I will go up there; we will worship and we will return to you."
6. Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and put it on his son Isaac. He
himself took the firestone and the knife; and the two walked off together.
7. Then Isaac said to his father Abraham, "Father!" And he answered, "Yes, my son."
And he said, "Here is the firestone and the wood; but where is the sheep for the
8. And Abraham said, "God will see to the sheep for His burnt offering, my son."
And the two of them walked on together.
9. They arrived at the place of which God had told him. Abraham built an altar
there; he laid out the wood; he bound his son Isaac; he laid him on the altar, on
top of the wood.
10. And Abraham picked up the knife to slay his son.
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