Kenneth Cohen

Abraham’s Remarkable Faith

The final test of Avraham Avinu, was the עקידת יצחק, Binding of Isaac. This act of faith was unparalleled in Jewish history, and is viewed as the ultimate act of unshakable commitment to the Al-mighty.

The question that is asked is why this act of faith, where no lives were lost, is considered the example of love and trust, while other acts of martyrdom, involving loss of life, do not get such recognition.

One answer to this question is the manner in which Avraham responded to Hashem’s request. Avraham was told, “Go to the land of Moriah, and offer your one and only son on one of the mountains that He will be shown.”

We are never told which mountain was the appropriate one. Avraham knew this by way of prophecy. The fact that he still had prophecy in spite of what was asked of him, was remarkable.

This is because, we are told in the Rambam, that one can only receive prophecy if he is in a state of great joy. Prophets would work hard to lift their spirits by playing musical instruments, so that they would be able to hear the word of G-d.

Avraham Avinu still maintained that high level of joy, and received prophecy. This was what made עקידת יצחק so unique. Others did give their lives for the sake of sanctifying the Name of G-d. But never was there an individual who could fulfill such an illogical and irrational request, in a state of joy. It is our task to emulate this unshakable faith, as demonstrated by Avraham Avinu.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at