In a recent interview on Times of Israel, Rabbi Nathan Lopez Cardozo says that he is of the opinion that Avraham failed his test at the Akeida:

I am of the opinion that Abraham, by being prepared to do so, to sacrifice his son, failed the test. I think that the reading of the binding of Isaac should be different from the conventional approach as some chassidic texts indeed seem to suggest. For an excellent overview read: The Fear, the Trembling and the Fire by my dear friend, Professor Jerome (Yehudah) I. Gellman, published by University Press of America in 1994.

Aside from the book that Rabbi Cardozo references, what are the Jewish sources that Rabbi Cardozo may be drawing upon (i.e. Talmud, Rishonim, Achronim, later source, etc.)?

  • 3
    It's weird that this recent post quotes verbatim from another one 2 years ago in the Jewish Press without attribution.
    – WAF
    Dec 23, 2018 at 10:39
  • 5
    Avot 1:3 - עֲשָׂרָה נִסְיוֹנוֹת נִתְנַסָּה אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם וְעָמַד בְּכֻלָּם Dec 23, 2018 at 12:09
  • @WAF indeed, almost half the entire interview is the exact same text Dec 23, 2018 at 18:39
  • possible duplicate judaism.stackexchange.com/q/44543/759
    – Double AA
    Aug 5, 2021 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


Rabbi Cardozo quotes Professor Gellman's book“The Fear the Trembling and the Fire”.

I do not have the book but the link above provides an excerpt. This quotes (p 23):

Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Leiner of Izbica (also known as the Izbitzer) and his work מי השילוח.

Gellman writes that “The 'Izbicer' became known for his novel and sometimes daring readings of Scriptures.”

Other Jewish sources mentioned are

“Saadia”, but it is not clear which Saadia this is.

The book also says that the Ralbag's commentary on the Torah is the closest precedent to the Izbicer's version.

  • 3
    I think it would be more helpful if you quoted the sources or interpretations which Professor Gellman is drawing on that actually suggest Abraham failed his test. I read from מי השילוח and from the chapter you linked (as far as the preview allowed) and I didn't see that claim
    – b a
    Dec 23, 2018 at 14:26
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    @ba You're right. Meanwhile I saw this blog, highly critical of Rabbi Cordozo's approach: blogs.timesofisrael.com/… Dec 29, 2018 at 22:00

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