Why did Avraham pray for Sedom but not for his son Yitzchok by the akeidah?
Why is that when Avraham Avinu heard that Sedom was going to be destroyed he prayed with so much effort to recall the decree, but when he was told to slaughter his own son, he didn’t pray at all? That’s your question, right?
And the answer is that when he heard that Sedom was about to be punished so he knew it was because of their crimes and so he intervened for them to gain forgiveness for them. But when Avraham was told to slaughter his son it wasn’t for any crime — Yitzchok wasn’t being punished, Avraham wasn’t being punished. It was just an act in the service of Hashem. Avraham didn’t want to get out of serving Hakodosh Boruch Hu. Avraham should have said, “Please excuse me from doing this difficult mitzvah”?! Avraham wouldn’t do such a thing!
TAPE # R-11 (November 1972)
How could Hakodosh Boruch Hu ask Avrohom Avinu to sacrifice his son, Yitzchok? Isn’t that too extreme of a demand?
I don’t understand the question. Why not? What is a son? A son is a gift from Hashem. So how do you show your appreciation for such a wonderful gift? You had him for so many years, so now you take him and you bring him as an offering to Hashem. What’s wrong? I don’t see the kasha. I don’t understand the question.
You don’t like the idea? Even Yitzchok himself was satisfied. He had lived many years. How do you show appreciation to Hashem? You’re willing to give your son back to Him if He asks. Let’s say I lend you my car, and you’re riding around in my car, enjoying yourself for a couple of days, and then I say, “My friend, can you please give me back my car tomorrow?” So you’ll say, “What do you mean, ‘Give back the car?! I’m enjoying it to no end. I don’t want to give it back.'”
Now, Hashem gave us life. Of course, we know that Hashem doesn’t want any of us to be sacrificed, but in logic it certainly has a place. Of course it does. Only that Hashem’s logic is higher than our logic. But if we were Hashem, we would demand that people give their lives to us. Certainly we would. Don’t think that you’re so good. Don’t think you wouldn’t demand it. We’re lucky that Hakodosh Boruch Hu is in charge, not we. And therefore, Hakodosh Boruch Hu said, אל תשלח ידך – “Don’t stretch out your hand.” Don’t sacrifice your son.
TAPE # 772 (March 1990)