Abraham’s Unique Faith

There is a question that is often asked regarding the “The binding of Isaac.” Why is this story seen as the ultimate act of sacrifice in the Name of G-d, when nobody died.

There were so many instances in history, where Jews gave their lives, sanctifying Hashem. Why not point to one of these incidents, instead of Akeidat Yitzchak.

Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Berkowitz said that the answer to this question comes from an apparently superfluous word. When Avraham is told by the angel, that he does not need to sacrifice his son, there is a little bit of confusion. The Torah tells us that Avraham lifted his eyes, and behold there was an איל אחר, a different ram, stuck in the thicket. The word, אחר, does not need to be written at all.

The Pasuk could be understood without it. Avraham lifted his eyes and saw a ram, and offered it instead of his son. Why was it written as an איל אחר, a different ram?
This extra word, taught the greatness of the faith of Avraham. His faith was so great, that he no longer saw his beloved son, as his son, but, rather as a sacrifice. This type of faith was rare. This is the reason for the extra word, אחר.

When fulfilling the word of Hashem, it must be done without hesitation or questioning.This is where Avraham was unique. The ram stuck in the thicket, was offered instead of the other intended sacrifice, Yitzchak. This is an extremely high level of faith, that Avraham possessed. We are to emulate such faith. This is why the chapter of Akeidat Yitzchak, is included in our morning prayers every day. We will never go wrong by putting our absolute faith in G-d. Avraham set the example of such faith. It led to the formation of עם ישראל, that will live on forever, with G-d’s help.

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