Monday, September 17, 2007

Abraham's bloodlust?

The rabbi spoke of why the angel had to speak Abraham's name twice. He proposed an interpretation that once Abraham made up his mind, he was overtaken by some type of bloodlust, some kind of almost hypnotic state where he wanted to draw blood, and he had to be shaken out of this state by the angel. That the test was not whether Abraham could bring himself to kill Isaac, but whether he could stop himself after he made up his mind that it was truly G-d's commandment.

As wild as it seems, parts of this idea ring very true to me. I know that many times when people are forced to do something unthinkable, they seem to have some type of mental break and once they are put on that course of action they will attempt to follow through on it, even if someone tells them that they no longer have to go through with it. It's as if once they realize that they have gone beyond rationality, they cannot allow rationality to interfere again.

I have never heard this interpretation before. Does anyone know its source?


Blogger Tobie said...

I wonder if it's based on the Midrash that the angel had to keep on telling Avraham not to do anything, with Avraham pleading just to make a little cut and so forth. It's an interesting interpretation. Although I'm not sure what it does with "For now I know you are G-d fearing for you have not withheld your son from me."

September 17, 2007 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard Rabbis say that the test was for Avraham NOT to agree to kill Yitzchak, so in fact he failed.

It's nice, but it doesn't really fit with the mesorah.

September 17, 2007 11:56 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Yep, that's it. The rabbi used the same words - "a little cut".

Any more details about this midrash?

September 17, 2007 11:56 AM  
Blogger Baal Habos said...

>I have heard Rabbis say that the test was for Avraham NOT to agree to kill Yitzchak, so in fact he failed.

And the proof that he failed the test, is that God no longer spoke with Abraham after the Akeidah.

September 17, 2007 11:58 AM  

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