It’s a Boy!

Exactly one year to the day that the 3 came to Avraham and Sarah, they were blessed with a son, just as the angels had promised. When the baby was born, Sarah was 90 years old and Avraham was 100! They named their son Yitzchak, meaning “he will laugh” – because his birth brought joy and laughter to all.
On the day of his birth blessings galore showered upon the world:
Many women, who for years did not have children, were blessed this day with children. “Congratulations!”
Many sick people were healed on that very day. “No more pain!” “No more hospitals, no more doctors, and best of all, no more bills!”
Indeed, HaShem answered many prayers on this special day, and there was much “Tz’chok” – joy and happiness in the world!
Yitzchak had a Bris Milah (circumcision) at 8 days old.
When he was 2 years old, the proud parents made a great celebration and invited many, many VIP guests – King Avimelech, Og the giant and more kings. The celebration was a testimony that HaShem kept His amazing promise to Avraham and Sarah. It was truly a great Kiddush HaShem (publicizing HaShem’s greatness).

An Incredible Test of Faith

Years later, when Yitzchak was 37 years old, HaShem called to Avraham:
“Avraham.”
“Here I am.”
“Please take your son.”
“But I have 2 sons,” answered Avraham.
“Your only one.”
“But each of them is the only son of their mother.”
“Whom you love,” HaShem replied.
“I love them both.”
“TAKE YITZCHAK!”
Go to the Land of Moriah and bring him up for a sacrifice on one of the mountains that I will show you.”
WHAT?! Sacrifice his one and only son, for whom he had prayed and waited so long, from whom HaShem had promised to make a great nation?! How could HaShem ask this from Avraham?!
Indeed it was a test – the most difficult test you could imagine, and Avraham was ready to do whatever HaShem asked of him.
Although he had no clue even as to which mountain he had to go, Avraham did not waste a moment. He woke up early in the morning and saddled his donkey. Out of his great love for HaShem, he personally did all the preparations for this holy task.
Avraham set out on his mission together with his sons, Yitzchak and Yishmael, as well as his trusted servant, Eliezer.
They traveled 3 days, until they saw a unique cloud on top of Mount Moriah. It was like no other cloud they had ever seen, glowing with holiness, and they knew they had found the right place.

The Binding of Yitzchak

When they got close to the mountain, Yishmael and Eliezer stayed behind while Avraham and Yitzchak climbed to the top. Yitzchak realized that they had everything they needed for a sacrifice – except the animal.
“What is going on?” Yitzchak asked his father. “I see the firewood and the knife, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?”
Avraham replied, “HaShem himself will choose the sacrifice… if it won’t be a lamb… YOU WILL BE THE SACRIFICE.”
Yitzchak now realized what was about to happen. Instead of being sad, Yitzchak joyously climbed the mountain together with his father, ready to do whatever HaShem desired.
Yitzchak courageously asked his father to tie his hands and feet and place him on the altar, so he wouldn’t move. That’s why this episode is known as Akeidas Yitzchak –The Binding of Yitzchak.
Avraham built a Mizbei’ach (altar) and placed his son on it. He had the knife in his hand and was just about to sacrifice him, when HaShem’s angel called out, “Avraham! Avraham! Stop! Do not harm Yitzchak! You have passed the final, most difficult test!”
At that moment, Avraham saw from a distance a ram that was caught in a bush by its horns.
“HaShem wants me to sacrifice this ram instead of my son,” thought Avraham. So he immediately untied his son, and sacrificed the ram.
The mountain where Avraham brought Yitzchak was very special and holy. Many years later, in that very same place, the Beis HaMikdash, the Holy Temple, would be built! There, HaShem would accept all of Bnei Yisrael’s prayers and sacrifices.
On Rosh HaShana, when we blow the Shofar – the horn of a ram, it reminds HaShem of the ram that appeared on the scene of the Akeida, over 3000 years ago, and how our father Avraham passed his test with flying colors! For this reason every Rosh HaShana we read from the Torah the story of the Akeidas Yitzchak.

Tune in Next Time

After the Akeida, Avraham and Yitzchak returned happily home, but were in for a very sad piece of news when they got there.