Why did G-d ask Avraham to sacrifice and slaughter his son?

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    – msh210
    Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 1:58
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    I think this is a broad question with answers on many, many levels (starting with a more precise description of god's request that Abe "raise [Isaac] up as an olah offering"). Can it be refined? What sort of answer are you looking for? A summary of god's motivation, or the significance of the test?
    – rosends
    Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 1:58
  • @dan From the question as worded before the edit, she is looking for a Dvar Torah to say.
    – Ariel
    Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 2:43
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    @Ariel I did see that but that just begs the question "what sort of dvar torah? something pshat based as a recap? Something medrashic and spiritual? Something steeped in meforshim and textual explication?" etc.
    – rosends
    Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 2:55
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    The question as currently worded is perfectly valid, I think, and can be answered from any of those perspectives, and perhaps more, @Dan.
    – HodofHod
    Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 8:00

1 Answer 1


Literally, he didn't ask him to slaughter him, just to bring him up on the alter as a sacrifice.

The whole thing was a test of faith whether he would listen to Gd with a good heart for such a painful test.

Here's a quote from the chovos halevavos shaar cheshbon hanefesh chapter 3 way#27

Know, my brother, that for the ten tests which G-d tested Avraham our forefather with, we would not be praising Avraham for standing up to these tests, if it were not the case that he received everything from his G-d willingly and with a good heart, as written: "And found his heart faithful before You" (Nechamia 9:8), and the generation who left Egypt did not become deserving of culpability and rebuke in the desert if not that they became angry and their hearts was not good with G-d and His prophet, ("even though they accepted everything that came to them and did not sin in speech, but their hearts were always grudging against G-d and they did not desire in His decrees but were like one who is forced to accept against his will" - TovLevanon comentary), as written: "But they beguiled Him with their mouth, and lied unto Him with their tongue" (Tehilim 78:36), and many times they would show their grudging and rebelliousness against G-d and the breaching of His covenant, as we find them constantly desiring to return to Egypt, or the like. Good bearing is a good character trait but one who bears (begrudgingly) out of force does not receive any reward for it, and he does not attain forgiveness from it ("G-d does not forgive his sins due to the suffering that came to him since he does not accept them contently but only out of being forced" - T.L.).


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    Doesn't bringing him up as a sacrifice entail slaughtering him? In fact, when the Torah tells us in general to bring various Korbanot (say in Parshat Pinchas), does it tell us to slaughter each one or is that perfectly understood from 'offer it as a sacrifice'?
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 12:59
  • yes. but according to the midrash, when Avraham asked Gd afterwards on this, G-d answered him "I didn't tell you to slaughter him, just to bring him up as an olah"
    – ray
    Commented Oct 12, 2012 at 6:42
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    If you are referencing a Midrash please state as much in the answer and source it as precisely as possible.
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 12, 2012 at 7:37

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