When Avraham is told to take Yitzchak to the akeida, Yitzchak is specified with a series of 3 descriptions (Bereishit 22:2): אֶת־בִּנְךָ֨ אֶת־יְחִֽידְךָ֤ אֲשֶׁר־אָהַ֙בְתָּ֙

your singular son whom you love

but when the angel stops Avraham, he describes Yitzchak only as אֶת־בִּנְךָ֥ אֶת־יְחִידְךָ֖, omitting "love" (pasuk 12 and 16).

Why is the descriptor of love removed after the fact? Was something lost in the relationship because of the Akeida? Does Avraham no longer love Yitzchak? The attribute is no more or less specific and necessary than the others but is missing here.

  • The presumption of your question is incorrect. The article "את"used in each of the 3 phrases indicates that the angel is instructing Avraham to bring the 3 people who potentially would inherit his household. Namely, his son, Yishmael born from Hagar, his chief servant who he loves, Eliezer and Yitzchok, his son born from Sarah. The 2nd part of your question (about pasuk 12 and 16) is addressing the unique status of Yitzchok in relation to Avraham. He sees the same vision shown to Avraham. Sep 21, 2020 at 16:01

2 Answers 2


A possible answer could be culled from the Sichos Mussar on Parshas Chayei Sarah (שיחות מוסר, מאמר יא (פרשת חיי שרה), 'מידת ההסתגלות'). He has a shmuess entitled 'מידת ההסתגלות' - 'The Trait of Adaptability'.

He asks how was it possible, that Sarah Imeinu who was on a greater level of nevuah (prophecy) than Avraham died immediately upon hearing the news of the Akeida and yet Avraham was fine.

HaRav Chaim Shmulevitz זצ"ל observes that when being informed of his task, אברהם seeks constant affirmation as tries to understand what is being asked of him. אברהם is instructed in the following manner; "קח נא את בנך את יחידך אשר אהבת את יצחק" – “Take now your son, your only son, the one whom you love – Yitzchok.” At each step, אברהם has to qualify whom Hashem is referring to:

“Take now your son” – אברהם has to ask which one, יצחק or ישמעאל?

“Your only son” – אברהם again needs further clarity, they are both only sons?

“The one whom you love” – Like any good father, he loves both his children.

“Yitzchok” – Finally, אברהם is given a definitive answer.

The carefully drawn out manner of the question ensured that it cushioned the blow and made it more manageable. Whereas for Sarah it was said immediately as a matter of fact which came as such a shock that it was this that killed Sarah.

So possibly, in the first instance, it needed more words / stages to ensure that it would not shock Avraham to such an extent that it would kill him, whereas in the second instance as the event was over, it needed less descriptors to summarise the action.

  • that is an interesting take on the absolute number of descriptors, but not the particular selection. Would there be a reason why "whom you love" is taken out as opposed to any other?
    – rosends
    Sep 21, 2020 at 15:29
  • Thanks @rosends. I am aware it doesn't totally answer your question, but it at least accounts for all the descriptors in the first instance.
    – Dov
    Sep 21, 2020 at 16:06

since it was a angel who stopped him and not hash-em.......

a) how would the angel know that he loved him

b) angels do not recognize emotions and can’t relate to “ love “

  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review Sep 22, 2020 at 13:41
  • question was why the angel does not say. “whom you love”
    – user19400
    Sep 22, 2020 at 13:56
  • BTW: Who is hash-em? Is that like Hashem but written to look like you're not writing it? If so, why not? Sep 22, 2020 at 14:14
  • some people will not write any form
    – user19400
    Sep 22, 2020 at 14:24

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