And God called to Abraham and Abraham said Hineini, here I am.
To be honest, this is when it get’s a little crazy. Here’s the plan:
Take your son who you love. Bring him to a place that I will show you
and kill him. Do it for me! Now, I have a son who’s about to be five,
and there are times when he’s standing with his underwear half on
and we’re about to be late for school or wherever it is we’re trying to
get to on time and he has that look on his face with his pouty lip out that says
“you’re in my hands and we’re not going anywhere until I feel like putting this
underwear all the way on.” It’s times like this I just want to hear God calling my name with directions to a rock on top of Mulholland and very specific instructions on
what to do when I get there. But a stern look from my wife who sees it in my eyes
combined with the threat of taking his snack away usually prevails.
But Abraham decides to do it. Doesn’t even question it. The Lord is the Lord.
Takes Isaac, his son who he loves to the mountain. Even makes him carry the wood.
As an aside I should point out it says in the Torah when they got to the mountain
Abraham said to his accompanying servants “You stay here with the ass.
The boy and I will go up the mountain.” I only mention this because I know,
living in Los Angeles, it’s all of our secret desires to be able to say to someone
with some kind of legitimate context “You stay here with the ass.” I mean isn’t that
what we’d really like to say to those other cars on the freeway? “All of you,
stay here with your asses!” as we zoom past them to work climbing our mountains.
But I digress. And I’m skipping a few details here, but, it all works out.
Angels come at exactly the right moment. (When else would Angels come.)
I’d like to be able to tell you they said something like “Hey, Abraham, where you
going with your son in your hands.” and that that was the original inspiration for
the Jimi Hendrix song, but that’s not what they said so I won’t even mention it.
In fact, they just called his name. And he said Hineini, here I am. And they told him
to stop. He had passed the test. Not quite as catchy as Hendrix lyrics, but come on
They boy got to live. And then, a substitute sacrifice appeared, like it was
some kind of act of . . . God . . . a ram in the bushes. Which is crazy because these days
if you see an animal in the bushes you call animal control, unless it’s a cat in which case you start to feed it and pay it’s veterinary bills because, they’re so cute, I mean come on
have you seen the cat videos on the internet? Anyway, that’s what I do.
But I digress, here I am, digressing. Hineini. God was pretty impressed with Abraham
told him his descendants would be as many as there are grains of sand at the sea.
Now I assume that’s a lot. I tried counting the sand one day at the beach
but I got bored when I got to fifty. Maybe there’s an app for this?
God also said Abraham’s descendants would be as many as there are stars in the sky.
So they left the mountain. And Isaac had a couple of kids.
One of whom had thirteen kids. (Twelve of them were famous,
Especially the one with the fancy coat, but it’s so old fashioned to
leave out the girl. It really was thirteen kids.) Who went to Egypt and had
many more kids, who had more kids, who left and wandered around the dessert for
forty years, and had more kids who eventually lived in Israel for a while
having more kids, and more kids who left and went to the Old Country
when it wasn’t even old yet, I mean I think they just called it The Country
and they invented the bagel there and had more kids, who had more kids
who came to America where they had more kids, who had more kids,
who came to Los Angeles and had more kids, some of whom came
to this room, this morning.
You are the stars in the sky that were promised to Abraham.
You are the promise of the covenant. The reason for the binding of Isaac.
The reason we keep this chain going. The reason we bother to come to this room at all. Akeidah. Hineini. Here we are.