Rabbi Dr Zvi Aviner


Ó copyrights 2022

 THEFT-5/ What do we Learn  From the Binding of Isaac




Today we’ll learn about the Binding of Isaac.

It is one of the most known story in the world,

yet so much misquoted and misunderstood.

Especially by those claiming to have superseded Israel.

To understand the story and its moral message,

let’s summaries what we’ve learned about Abraham

and his contribution to our faith.






Abraham grew up in a society plagued with IDOLATRY,

in addition of violating the rest of Noah’s Seven Commandments.

In particular, Abraham’s society engaged in THEFT on a large scale,

so-called Organized Theft, where Empires formed

to invade other nations and steal their land and subdue their people

for forced  slavery.


(Abraham lived around 1,900 B.C.; whereas Gilgamesh,

the first recorded Mesopotamian king who built an empire,

lived around 2,500 B.C.)


What was special about Abraham, was the fact that he had to

discover G-d on his own. In the process, he evolved spiritually

through unique, new steps.




Step one



First, being impressed by the extraordinary beauty of Nature,

Abraham said that it must have been created by a CREATOR,

who is also a gifted architect, an artist, a sculpture and a painter.


By this point alone, Abraham stands apart from

many other thinkers and scientists who have come

to recognize a CREATOR through studying nature.


Whereas they usually arrive at that conclusion by recognizing

the wisdom and the intelligence embedded in Nature

 Abraham discovered a CREATOR through the Art in nature;

through the beauty of natural scenes and the creatures in it.



The second ‘revolutionary’ step



That Abraham took was to see the CREATOR,

as an OWNER of Nature, by the virtue of having created it.

(As we’ve learned, his father had taught him that they have the right to sell

the statues he made in his shop.)


This too was a new notion of G-d that Abraham introduced,

since no one else has ever conceived such an idea, of G-d’s ownership,

either before or after Abraham.

Even today’s Christianity and Islam do not usually emphasize

G-d’s ownership of the world.


And this new, ‘weird’ notion of G-d as an OWNER

had an enormous impact on Abraham’s faith

and on Judaism.


For Abraham figured out that since the CREATOR

‘owns’ the world, then, consequently, THEFT,


are a direct violation of G-d’s OWNERSHIP

and, therefore, should be forbidden!


(At that conclusion Abraham arrived,

way before he met Noah, and before he knew anything

about the Seven Commandments.)


The point that many Rabbis have made here is that

although THEFT (STEALING) was forbidden in all recorded

ancient sets of laws, especially THEFT within their own societies,

yet it saw regarded as an issue between man and man,


without any interest of the gods.


But for Abraham, THEFT became a religious dictum

a violation of the CREATOR’S sacred ownership of the world.



The third step: A New Name for G-d



As a result of this new notion, Abraham also introduced

a new Name to G-d:


The Superior El Who Owns (who’s purchased)

the Heavens and the Earth,”


as seen in his conversation with Malki Zedek. (Genesis 14:19.)



The Fourth step: Meeting Noah



Abraham discovered G-d on his own,

Then, at the age of 58, Abraham met Noah.

This changed his life and consolidated his faith.


Noah taught him about the CREATOR, YHVH ELKM,

who had created the world in Six long Days,

as shown in Genesis Chapter One.


Noah must have told him also about

the (Eternal) Sabbath, IDOLATRY,

and about the Six Commandments

given to Adam in Eden.


Noah must have also told Abraham

about the concept of Sin as shown in Eden,

and about the sanctity of MARRIAGE and the Laws of ADULTERY

as seen in the story of Eden.


Noah also told him about how eating from the Forbidden Tree

brough Adam and his wife to KNOW YHVH, KNOW EVIL,

KNOW about YHVH’s Mercy, Compassion, Forgiveness

and the importance of REPENTANCE.

“YHVH ELHM is still calling us, Adam, where are you? Come to me!”

Noah must have said to Abraham.


Noah must have told Abraham also

about Cain killing Abel, about BLOODSHED, the Flood,

and the Rainbow Covenant which is based on full,

elaborated BLOODSHED Laws.


 Noah then told Abraham about

the Seventh Commandment that he, himself,

had received as a part of the Rainbow Covenant with G-d.



Noah said: My new Law forbids the drinking or eating

blood and a limb torn from living animal.

It came, Noah said, to help Mankind overcome

out bloodthirsty heart, and diminish Man’s cruelty.


My SEVENTH Law, came to support Mankind struggle against



And here we’ve arrived at a basic concept in the Torah that says:





Abraham’s EIGHTH Commandment, Circumcision

came to support Adam’s FORTH, Theft.


And Jacob’s NINTH Commandment, the Sciatic Nerve prohibition,

came to support Adam’s FIFHT, JUSTICE.


And Israel’s entire TEN Commandment,

came to support Adam’s SIXTH, the (sanctity of G-d’s Name)

or the prohibition of Desecrating G-d’s Name.


Hence, in fact, all the Commandments of Sinai,

each one oof them, came as a support of at least

one of Adam’s Six, given to Mankind in Eden.


This makes sense, since it implies that the




Step Five:

Combining Noah’s Faith with his Own

 with a new Name for G-d



After meeting Noah,

Abraham combined his faith with Noah’s teaching.

Henceforth he would be the FIRST,



He gave his life to teach people the believe in G-d

and the Seven Commandments, spreading the knowledge

among people and his “allies.”

He also called YHVH as the –

Supreme El Who Owns Heavens and Earth.


Henceforth, Abraham became an avid “LOVER OF YHVH,” as Isiah calls him.

This meant he dedicated his life and wealth to build

hospitals, kitchen and hotels for the poor, sick and hungry,

the opposite of what the Sodomites did.



With the overturn of Sodom, Abraham realized

that perceiving G-d as the “Owner of the Universe,”

would not be enough to hold people back from doing evil.


One must accept G-d on oneself,

to have a meaningful impact on one’s behavior.


He therefore ascended one more step.

He taught people that G-d owns not only the Heavens and the Earth,

but also owns each and every person individually,

and He watches us and judges us personally, as individuals,

like a master watching closely his servants (slaves).


This brought him to introduce another new Nam for G-d:

AaDoNai, My Owner, my Master, My (Land) Lord.


Compared to Noah who perceived G-d as a


the new title “My Master, AaDoNai,” is “closer” to us,

more ‘intimate’ with us, more interested in our daily affairs,

more interfering with our mundane daily affairs.


Moreover, the new title “My Master, AaDoNai,” also means

that ‘I am your slave,’ that your will is my will,

that my body and property (and soul) belong to you,

and that I dedicate my life to no other task but to SERVE YOU.


It is not easy to introduce a new Name to G-d,

name that would appease G-d, and be accepted by Him.

For one must be sure the new Name DOES NOT represent

a new religion!




Step 6: G-d’s Approval, and Circumcision



This is why G-d, the Heavenly Court in full session,

appears to Abraham with approval of the new title.


First appears YHVH, saying:

“Walk before me and be in full compliance (surrendering)  (Genesis 17: 1)


Then follow ELKM, changing

Abram’s name to Abraham, giving him a new,


which is the “emblem of our Master in our flesh.” (seforno)


It says:

Since I am a slave to G-d,

no one else may own me,

no human master, no country or political party

or any drug, alcohol or social philosophy.


And since we are all His Slaves,

THEFT is a violation of our Master’s OWNERSHIP.


Hence, as we’ve said,

commandment number eight (circumcision)

came to support Adam’s number four (theft).


Same as Noah’s number seven

came to support Adams’ number three (bloodshed)


As high as Abraham has already ascended in his faith,

he had to take one more step,

perhaps the most relevant one, even to us,

so many thousands of years later.


For Abraham, at that point, could not tell

which of G-d’s Attribute prevails in the Heavenly Court?

Who is the “Master, AaDoNai?”

Had he asked Noah, Noah wouldn’t tell,


For before the Flood,

the text shows the Heavenly Court in session,

debating the fate of mankind (Genesis 7: 5-13.)


There comes first YHVH, expressing Her view,

then comes ELKM, expressing His view,

yet both agree to annihilate Mankind and save Noah.

None prevailing over the other.



Same, after the Flood,

the Heavenly Court appears again in session,

deciding the future of Noah’s descendants.


First you see in the text the view of YHVH,

then the view of ELKM,

yet both agree to enter the Rainbow Covenant with Mankind.

None prevails over the other.




The only way to find out which Attribute is “Greater’,

Noah would have told Abraham,

is to see that happens (IN THE TEXT) when they

clash “head-to-head” with OPPOSING VIEWS,

seeing which one would prevail over the other!


But this situation has not been seen (in the text),

not in Adam or Enosh’s time, nor in my time,

Noah would have said.


Yes, the Attributes would debate a person’s verdict,

and decide according to the balance of the person’s sins over his merits,

but that doesn’t show which Attribute prevails!


Only when a person’s balance is equal

in the eyes of ELKM and the eyes of YHVH,

and each Attribute says something else,



Thus, despite his spiritual ascent,

Abraham could not tell which Attribute is AaDoNai, My Master.


Therefore, when he asks G-d for a child

despite his age, and Sarah’s age,

Abraham addresses G-d , the first time ever,

with the new Name: AaDoNai, saying:



what reward can you give me

 when I am old?” (Genesis 16: 2)


The Hebrew text shows the two Attributes, YHVH and ELKM,

at once!

Hence, Abraham addresses both as My Master,

accepting their verdict whatever it might be with submission.

In other words, here he calls both AaDoNai.





Step Seven: The Binding of Isaac.




You know the story well,

since it is one of the most known stories in the world.


Satan, the Prosecutor

As the story begins, Abraham is at his peak.

G-d had blessed him with “everything” –

sons, wealth, health, and respected old age.

Yet Satan – our ‘prosecutor’ in the Heavenly Court – noticed

an apparent fault.


Now, please do not mix the “Satan” mentioned in the Torah, the Bible,

with the “Satan” – Demon, Evil – seen in the European imagination.


The “Hebrew Satan” is a Prosecutor,

an Angel appointed by the Heavenly Court,

whose task is to bring up the truth about us,

particularly the bad truth.


Satan may be depicted with baby face and white wings.

And it may be appointed by ELKM, as in the Book of Job,

or be appointed by the Merciful YHVH, as in the story of Bilaam.


In fact, the only “stan” mentioned in the Five Books of Moses,

is “the Angel of YHVH” facing Bilaam’s “talking she-ass” holding

a sword in its hands, trying to stop Bilaam from going forwards.


Hence it was definitely a “good Angel,”

a prosecutor of the wicked Bilaam.



Satan’s charge

Standing in the Heavenly Court before ELKM, Satan charged:

My King, has Abraham given you anything?

You gave him so much, wealth, children at his advanced age,

yet has he given you anything in return?”


My King!” Satan continued,

“all that Abraham has done is to walk in YHVH’s ways,

spreading Her name by alters,

building hospitals, kitchen and hotels for the poor

in Her Glory!

Has he done anything in your Name?

Has he not violated ONENESS?


As is usually the case,

Satan is smart and cunning and has a point.  ELKM listened and agreed.

Abraham seemed to have forgotten Him in his zeal for the Merciful YHVH.

ELKM therefore said to Satan- let’s test Abraham!


You may ask, does ELKM need a test?

The answer is that the Hebrew word for test, neis,

Also stands for a banner, a flag.

The outcome of that text would become a banner for humanity.

Something eternal for all Noahide Nations!


Remember: Abraham was a Noahide,

who abided by eight, one more than Noah’s seven Commandments (RMBM.)



A titanic clash



 ELKM calls Abraham and asks him to do for Him

the harshest task possible: Offer Isaac on the Altar on Mt Moriah.


You know the story. Abraham complies with ELKM in full

despite his love to Isaac. He overcomes his own mercy

and is ready to slaughter Isaac.


Then the Angel of YHVH appears, telling Abraham

“Do not stretch out your hand against the lad!


The story is copied down here, in two colors,

since it is equally divided to two symmetrical parts:


the first- in red- mentions ELKM’s Name only (5 times)

the second – in blue – mentions YHVH’s Name only (also 5 times)


 ELKM’s Wing showing Abraham’s name 9 times,

YHVH’s Wing showing Abraham’s name 9 times.


ELKM keeps ordering Abraham to offer his son,

since ELKM never recant his order, never capitulates,

never surrenders to any power, be it important as it might be!


But as the exactly same time,

the Angel of YHVH is ordering Abraham to do the exact opposite,

to refrain from doing any harm to the lad!


Abraham is frozen. To whom should he listen now?

Since the Attribute clash head-to-head, which one prevails?  



ELKM, after all, is the All-Mighty Judge,

Whose hand and fingerprints are seen everywhere,

whose art and wisdom is evident everywhere,

whose power is awesome,

should Abraham listen to Him?


YHVH, after all, is Abraham’s beloved,

the Attribute he had walked with in such dedication,

shouldn’t he listen to Her?


Abraham was torn apart.

No one had ever prepared him for that titanic clash

between the two Attributes, head-to -head!


So how did he decide? The Rabbis said

Since the Angel of YHVH was telling him:

“Now I know that you fear ELKM,”  

Abraham realized that, in essence, they are ONE,

and that the clash is only apparent,

and that YHVH is greater and prevails!




A Banner to Mankind



What would Abraham do, then?

Should he listen to MERCY only, discarding ELHM’S words?


Enosh, Adam’s grandson, would have done just that!

For the verse says about Enosh, that in his time,

they “began” (also profaned) to call YHVH (only)! (Genesis 4: 26)


Had there been there by the altar,

one of the infamous, Cain’s Children of ELKM (Genesis 5:4,)

he or she would have opted for ELKM,

would have discarded YHVH’s words altogether,

in self-proclaimed piety.


But Abraham did none of the above.   

Noticing the ‘ram caught in the bush,’

he offered the ram on the altar, instead of Isaac

thereby complying with both Attributes at once.


The “ram solution,” therefore stands for Judaism.

Though Mercy prevails, yet the Laws of ELKM are ameliorated,

yet never abrogated.


Yes, ELKM’s Finger wrote:

“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” (Exodus

Yet the Ram Solution dictates: to implement justice,

use monetary compensation only.



Who is AaDoNai?



From Abraham, in the story of Binding Isaac,

we learn that YHVH prevails in the Heavenly Court,

and the title that Abraham proposed for the CREATOR,

namely AaDoNai, My Master, My Owner, My Lord,

is related to YHVH.


Therefore, in prayers and reading the Torah,

we never ‘replace’ ELKM’s Name by AaDoNai,

but rather preserve it to replace YHVH only!



No other similar story



There is no other similar story in the entire Bible,

where the text shows in the open the two Attributes

clashing head-to head, with direct, opposing order.


For hundreds of years before Christianity,

as the High Priest of Israel was entering

the Holy of Holy Chamber, on Yom Kippur,

he used to pray:


“G-d of our Fathers and forefathers,  

the same as Abraham subdued his mercy to comply with your (harsh) will,

let Your Mercy Subdue Your (Harsh) Judgement!”





And it came to pass after these words and the (1 )E Lo Ki  M tested (1) Abraham and He said  to him
  (2) Abraham! And he said here I am. And He said “Please take your son, your only son whom you

 love  , Isaac, and go for yourself to the land of Moraiah and offer him up there     as a burnt-offering
on one of the mountains of which I’ll tell you. And (
3) Abraham  rose early in the morning

and saddled his donkey and took his own young men with him and Isaac his son
. Then he split wood and stood up and went to the place of which
(2 ) E L K M  

had spoken to him On the Third day (4) Abraham lifted his eyes and he saw
the place from afar, and
(5) Abraham   said to his young men you stay here
with the donkey and I and the lad will go yonder and we will bow down
there and then return to you. And
(6) Abraham 
took the wood for the
Offering and placed it upon his son Isaac, and took into his hands the

fire and he took the knife, and so they went both together And. Isaac

spoke to (7) Abraham his father and said: “My father and he said

 “Here I am my son.” And he said here is the fire and the wood

but where is the lamb for the offering?” And (8) Abraham said,

 (3)ELoKIM will see for Himsefl the lamb for offering And so

they went bot together. They came to the Place which the (4)  E L o K i M
had spoken to him and then (
9) Abraham built an altar and

arranged the wood and bound Isaac his son on the altar upon the wood.
And [1] Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife
to slaughter his son.
And the Angel of (1) Y H V H called him from

the Heavens saying,[2] “Abraham! [3] Abraham! And he said, “Here I am!”

and He said, “Do not stretch your hand towards the lad, nor do the slightest
thing to him. For now I know that you fear
(5) E L o K i M and did not withhold your son,
your only son from me. And
[4] Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there was

 a ram. And it was caught in the hedge by its horns. And [5] Abraham went and took the ram
and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son. And
[6] Abraham named this place(2) Y H V H

will see yireh which today say as follows: in the Mountain (3) Y H V H is seen.” And the Angel of (4) Y H V  H 

called to (7] Abraham the second time out of the Heavens and said, by myself have I sworn says (5) Y H V H because you

have done this thing and have not withheld from Me your son your only son that I’ll bless you without as the stars of the Heavens

and as the sand that is fail, and multiply your descendants on the
seashore your seed shall inherit the gate of your enemies, and the nations of the earth shall bless themselves

through your seed as consequence of your having harkening to my Voice and [8] Abraham returned to his young men, they rose up and went together to Beer Sheva and [9] Abraham dwelled in Beer Shaeva”