Rashi's second interpretation of Braishis 27 (1) (based on the Medrash Rabbah 65 (10)) is that Isaac's eyes were weakened by the tears of the angels at the Akeidah.

Rashi speaking about the angels who visited Avrohom Braishis 18 (8) comments on the the word ויאכלו (and they ate), “they appeared as if they ate”. By this I understood that angels being spiritual beings do not eat nor shed tears.

I assume therefore that that we are not to understand the shedding of tears literally. In what figurative way are we then to understand it?

  • Note that your question is only on Rashi. (Chizkuni to 18:8, among others, says the angels ate.) And, even then, it's based on an assumption that their not eating is because they can't eat, which is because they're incorporeal to the extent that that they cannot shed tears, which you do mention as an assumption, and which seems somewhat reasonable, but which is unsupported (in the text of the question). +1, though.
    – msh210
    Oct 30, 2013 at 6:02
  • Have you checked the Mizrachi, Sifsei Chachamim and Gur Aryeh (Maharal)?
    – Ephraim
    Oct 30, 2013 at 7:51
  • @Ephraim, and what's the Taz, chopped liver?
    – msh210
    Nov 1, 2013 at 7:13

2 Answers 2


Here's what Avraham Schick in אשד נחלים writes:

כלומר מסבת ראות המלאכים כי מעיניהם ירדו דמעה לעיניו וע״כ כהו בימי הזקנה • והדבר בעצמו צריך ביאור איך יצוייר דמעה במלאכי׳ עליונים רוחניים • ומדוע דווקא נזלו לתוך עינו דווקא • והנראה בזה דהנה יצחק בעצמו מרוב אהבתו את ה׳ לא פחד לבו ולא נמצא בלבו רחמים על עצמו • אבל מעצם נפשו אשר היא אדוקה במלאכים הקדושים הן מעצמה והן בעזר מלאכיה הטיפו דמעות עליו • וזהו המליצה שנזלו מעיניהם לעיניו • והבן זה מאוד

  • Good find! Can you explain the answer of the אשר נהלים please? Oct 30, 2013 at 18:35

I once heard in the name of Rabbi Mordechai Miller zatsal of Gateshead that there were two ways how Avrohom could fulfill the command to sacrifice his son. 1) By "turning his heart to stone" and do a mechanical act, cutting out any emotional feelings. 2) By doing it with all the emotions intact, with crying, tears and all. Obviously this second way is much harder. When G'd told Avrohom to take "your son who you love" He was ordering him to do it in the second way. Every good/bad deed one does creates a good/bad angel. Hence Avrohom, by doing the Akeido with tears, he created "Malochim with tears".

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