The Murder-Ballad of Abraham and Isaac

Can you imagine the person who bathed you and put you to bed at night tying you up one day and holding a knife to your throat?

From The Sacrifice of Isaac, by Caravaggio, 1603. Wikimedia.

From The Sacrifice of Isaac, by Caravaggio, 1603. Wikimedia.

Atar Hadari
Observation
Nov. 17 2016
About the author

Atar Hadari’s Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of H. N. Bialik (Syracuse University Press) was a finalist for the American Literary Translators’ Association Award. His Lives of the Dead: Poems of Hanoch Levin earned a PEN Translates award and was released in 2019 by Arc Publications. He was ordained by Rabbi Daniel Landes and is completing a PhD on William Tyndale’s translation of Deuteronomy.


This week’s Torah reading of Vayera (Genesis 18-22) is the centerpiece of a trilogy devoted to Abraham. In the entirety of the Pentateuch, only Moses receives more attention. But Moses gets to perform miracles; Abraham merely muddles along, founding monotheism. Just what that entails is the subject of this reading.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

More about: Abraham, Religion & Holidays, The Monthly Portion, Vayera