Thursday, November 06, 2014

We used to think Isaac was brought back from the dead (maybe)

This seems like a good time to discuss one of the neatest bits of parsha speculation I've ever come across. It relates to the Binding of Isaac on Mount Moriah, and the suggestion that his father, Abraham, actually killed him. Let me list and categorize the various piecesof evidence for your amusement and consideration


Abraham went through with it
וַיֹּאמֶר בִּי נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי נְאֻם יְהֹוָה כִּי יַעַן אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ אֶת הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה וְלֹא חָשַׂכְתָּ אֶת בִּנְךָ אֶת יְחִידֶךָ:
And he said, "By Myself have I sworn, says the Lord, that because you have done this thing and you did not withhold your son, your only one,

Abraham returned from the Akeida alone
וַיָּ֤שָׁב אַבְרָהָם֙ אֶל־ נְעָרָ֔יו וַיָּקֻ֛מוּ וַיֵּלְכ֥וּ יַחְדָּ֖ו אֶל־ בְּאֵ֣ר שָׁ֑בַע וַיֵּ֥שֶׁב אַבְרָהָ֖ם בִּבְאֵ֥ר שָֽׁבַע
And Abraham returned to his attendants and together they set off and traveled to Be'er Sheva. And Abraham settled in Be'er Sheva.


Zevchim 62a
[When the generations that returned from the Babylonian exile began to build the second temple,] “How did they know what to do with the altar? Said R. Eleazar: They beheld the altar all built and Michael, the Great Prince, stood by it sacrificing on it. But R. Isaac Napha said: They beheld Isaac’s ashes, that these lay on that spot.

Pirqe de Rabbi Elazer
Rabbi Jehudah said : When the blade touched his neck, the soul of Isaac fled and departed, (but) when he heard His voice from between the two Cherubim, saying (to Abraham)," Lay not thine hand upon the lad " (Gen. xxii. 12), his soul returned to liis body, and (Abraham) set him free, and Isaac stood upon his feet. And Isaac knew « that in this manner the dead in the future will be quickened. He opened (his mouth), and said : Blessed art thou, O Lord, who quickeneth the dead

Midrash Lekach Tov
“The God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac: for Isaac was in the grip of fear as he lay bound on the top of the altar, and his soul flew out of him, and the Holy One, Blessed be He, restored it to him by means of the dewdrops for Resurrection of the dead”

Shibboley Haleket Hashalem
“When Father Isaac was bound on the altar and reduced to ashes and his sacrificial dust was cast on to Mount Moriah, the Holy One, blessed by He, immediately brought upon him dew and revived him. That is why David, may he rest in peace, said: ‘Like the dew of Hermon that cometh down from the mountains of Zion’ etc [Ps. 133:3] – for he is referring to that dew with which [the Holy One, blessed by He] revived Father Isaac. Forthwith the ministering angels began to recite, Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who quickens the dead


Rashi on Leviticus 26:52
And why is the expression “remembering” not used with Isaac? [Because] Isaac’s ashes Bereishith Rabbah 56:9; Tanchuma Shelach 14) [always] appear before Me, gathered up and placed upon the altar“ [and therefore, God does not have to ”remember" Isaac, for Isaac is never forgotten].

Rabbinic commentary on Genesis 27:27,
The verse that tells us the Isaac caught the scent of Jacob's clothing prior to blessing him, and was reassured, saying: Behold, the fragrance of my son is like the fragrance of a field, which the Lord has blessed! The midrash Tanchuma says that Isaac is, in fact, referring to the scent of Gan Eden. Can a man recognize the odor of a place he's never visited?


The Haftarah reading assigned to Parshas Vayerah is 2 Kings 4:1-36 which tells of Elisha's resurrection of the Shunamite's son (however, other Vayerah parallels are there, too, such as Elisha's promise that the woman would bear a son)

The piyyutim we say on the High Holydays:
The Mogen Avraham blessing is associated with Abraham; as a result high holiday piyutim that celebrate Abraham are said before Mogen Avraham. The next set of piyutim are about Isaac and they are associated with the resurrection of the dead/ Mechayeh Maysim. Furthermore some of the Isaac piyutim hint at his own resurrection from the dead. 

    Search for more information about how Isaacs resurrection from the dead might parrallel my own Facebook resurrection

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