The Norman Transcript

Religion

April 3, 2014

Abraham’s test of faith and salvation

(Continued)

NORMAN —

In other words, just as the crucifixion of Jesus is the core belief of Christianity, what captures the Jewish imagination is Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac, to God. It was a test of faith that has caused many to wonder what was the purpose of the test. Abraham makes no assumptions that his moral instincts are greater than his Creator, and God, after testing Abraham, affirms the moral instincts of Abraham.

It is noted that immediately following this episode, Sarah, Abraham’s wife, dies. The early commentators do not see this as incidental, but Sarah is the collateral damage of Abraham’s test.

The Midrash says that Satan visits her in a dream telling her that her husband has gone to sacrifice Isaac. She lets out three wailing cries and dies before they have a chance to return. Sarah is collateral damage.

Those cries are emulated by the sound of the ram’s horn, the shofar, on Rosh Hashanah. Every Rosh Hashanah, Jews blow the shofar to remind God, that, yes, we have sinned, and yes, we are guilty, but not even the God is blame-free, so we supplicate, but with a subtle defiance.

Even the ram that was sacrificed in Isaac’s stead is also part of this story and the complex relationship between a human and his deity in a very un-perfect world

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