|credit העקדה באיור איסלאמי בשיראז|
And also, unlike in this old illustration and the way many people read/understand the story, Issac was not a child; he was a man in his late thirties. He could easily have gotten out of his very elderly father's grip and escaped.
Issac was willingly bound to his responsibilities and role he inherited from his father Abraham. This father-son bonding trip to the "place Gd showed" Abraham was Issac's final test. It's also a continuation of the לך לך Lech Lecha Go, you go order Gd had given Abraham when He said to go to the "Land I will show you."
Genesis Chapter 22
And He said, "Please take your son, your only one, whom you love, yea, Isaac, and go away to the land of Moriah and bring him up there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains, of which I will tell you."
בוַיֹּ֡אמֶר קַח־נָ֠א אֶת־בִּנְךָ֨ אֶת־יְחִֽידְךָ֤ אֲשֶׁר־אָהַ֨בְתָּ֙ אֶת־יִצְחָ֔ק וְלֶ֨ךְ־לְךָ֔ אֶל־אֶ֖רֶץ הַמֹּֽרִיָּ֑ה וְהַֽעֲלֵ֤הוּ שָׁם֙ לְעֹלָ֔ה עַ֚ל אַחַ֣ד הֶֽהָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֖ר אֹמַ֥ר אֵלֶֽיךָ:
And as this potentially frightening story of how Issac and Abraham are tested ends with a happy ending, the letters ר א appear a number of times in verses 14-16:
2And he said, "Do not stretch forth your hand to the lad, nor do the slightest thing to him, for now I know that you are a God fearing man, and you did not withhold your son, your only one, from Me."
יבוַיֹּ֗אמֶר אַל־תִּשְׁלַ֤ח יָֽדְךָ֙ אֶל־הַנַּ֔עַר וְאַל־תַּ֥עַשׂ ל֖וֹ מְא֑וּמָה כִּ֣י | עַתָּ֣ה יָדַ֗עְתִּי כִּֽי־יְרֵ֤א אֱלֹהִים֙ אַ֔תָּה וְלֹ֥א חָשַׂ֛כְתָּ אֶת־בִּנְךָ֥ אֶת־יְחִֽידְךָ֖ מִמֶּֽנִּי:
13And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and he saw, and lo! there was a ram, [and] after [that] it was caught in a tree by its horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.
יגוַיִּשָּׂ֨א אַבְרָהָ֜ם אֶת־עֵינָ֗יו וַיַּרְא֙ וְהִנֵּה־אַ֔יִל אַחַ֕ר נֶֽאֱחַ֥ז בַּסְּבַ֖ךְ בְּקַרְנָ֑יו וַיֵּ֤לֶךְ אַבְרָהָם֙ וַיִּקַּ֣ח אֶת־הָאַ֔יִל וַיַּֽעֲלֵ֥הוּ לְעֹלָ֖ה תַּ֥חַת בְּנֽוֹ:
14And Abraham named that place, The Lord will see, as it is said to this day: On the mountain, the Lord will be seen.
ידוַיִּקְרָ֧א אַבְרָהָ֛ם שֵֽׁם־הַמָּק֥וֹם הַה֖וּא יְהֹוָ֣ה | יִרְאֶ֑ה אֲשֶׁר֙ יֵֽאָמֵ֣ר הַיּ֔וֹם בְּהַ֥ר יְהֹוָ֖ה יֵֽרָאֶֽה:
As terrified as Abraham was at losing his precious son, he knew that just as he answered Issac, Gd would show them what to sacrifice in the nick of time, just as it happened. Lihavdil, yes, differently, it reminds me of how I feel sometimes when I'm waiting for a ride/tremp/bus. Time is passing, I'm tired, late, cold, hungry-whatever, and I have no idea how long and who will rescue me, but all along I say to myself:
"It will be fine."And yes, it does. At no point do we see any sign that Issac is trying to escape. He shows complete and utter faith that his father is doing the right thing, because his father is doing what Gd had commanded. A couple of hundred years later, Nachshon jumps into the sea, which causes it to part into a dry pathway for the Jewish People to escape from Egypt. He, too, had the faith of Issac, because if Issac had fought Abraham and escaped, Abraham would have needed a new son to take over. And if Nachshon hadn't jumped into the water the Jewish People would have been slaughtered by the Egyptians.
"I will get a ride."
"I don't know when, but it will all work out."
עקידת יצחק Akeidat Yitzchak is the Binding of Issac to Gd and his role as inheritor of Abraham's responsibilities.
There are times when we must do what appears dangerous or illogical to some, but they are the right things to do. When my husband and I got on that boat to Israel, barely two months after our wedding in 1970, no doubt there were many who thought us foolish. But I never had a second's doubt that it was the right thing to do. And here we are forty-six years later, and I can't imagine living any place else.