TOYS "R" US
The Midrash relates that as Abraham and Isaac proceed toward Mt. Moriah, the sight chosen by Hashem for the akeidah (the binding of Isaac), the Satan, aware of the great implications of this test, attempts to dissuade Abraham from carrying out G-d's command.
The Midrash relates that as Abraham and Isaac proceed toward Mt. Moriah, the sight chosen by Hashem for the akeidah (the binding of Isaac), the Satan, aware of the great implications of this test, attempts to dissuade Abraham from carrying out G-d's command. Finding that all his efforts are for naught, the Satan then tries to convince Isaac to refuse to go through with the akeidah. Isaac, too, stands firm in his determination to give up his life for Hashem. Yet, in a final attempt, the Satan presents an argument which causes Isaac to falter, albeit momentarily. What could the Satan possibly say to change Isaac's mind? If the thought of losing his life wasn't enough, what could be?
The Satan tells Isaac: "Remember the cute toys that your mother, Sarah, made for you to play with? If you die, Yishmael will inherit them." Upon hearing this, says the Midrash, Isaac "called out to Abraham his father and said, 'My father'" (Genesis 22:7). From the verse's double usage of the word "father", the Midrash deduces that Isaac was, in a subtle way, trying to conjure up Abraham's mercy so that he should not sacrifice him. How could it be that these cute toys, something so insignificant, would make even the slightest difference to Isaac's decision to give up his life?
Rabbi Moshe Meiselman, rosh yeshiva (dean) of the Yeshiva Toras Moshe in Jerusalem, explains that many times, people are willing to make life decisions, changing all the major aspects of their lives to follow the path of Torah. But, there are still some little things from their previous path that they just cannot relinquish. This was the weakness that the Satan hit upon. Isaac was willing to give up even his life itself, but there was some little thing that he had not yet come to grips with parting from - the cute toys that Sarah made for him. Isaac did falter, but caught himself immediately and decided that, just as he would sacrifice the greatest things, so would he sacrifice the smallest things.
It is our job to learn from Isaac that we must commit ourselves fully to leading a life in accord with Hashem's will - in all matters, great and small.
Avi Lowenstein, a graduate of Yeshiva Atlanta, is studying at the Yeshiva Toras Moshe in Jerusalem.
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