Sharona Margolin Halickman

We Don’t Sacrifice Our Children

At the end of Parshat Vayera we read the story of Akedat Yitzchak. God commands Avraham (Breisheet 22:2) “Please take your son, your only one, who you love-Yitzchak- and go to the land of Moriah; bring him up there as an offering upon one of the mountains which I shall tell you.”

Avraham would have been willing to sacrifice his son Yitzchak if that was what God was asking for. Child sacrifice was commonly done during that time period so although Avraham did not want to sacrifice the son that he waited one hundred years to finally receive, he would have done it if necessary.

However, that is not what God wanted.

Rashi points out that God did not say to Avraham, “slaughter him!” because God did not wish him to be killed, but, only to be brought up the mountain to be made into an Olah (sacrifice). Once he brought him up God said to him, “Bring him down.”

We learn from here that Judaism is a religion of life. Even if other nations are sending their children off to die in the name of their religion, it is not something that we do.

You may ask why we even need to discuss this topic as we are no longer living in the days of child sacrifice.

The answer is that unfortunately child sacrifice is still taking place. During Operation Protective Edge children served as human shields. Throughout the world we hear about young children who are being sent out in explosive belts to carry out suicide bombings. Teenagers are sent by their parents to throw stones at Israeli soldiers, Israeli cars and the light rail train knowing that there is a chance that they may get killed in clashes with the soldiers.

Last week, a 32 year old Islamic Jihad terrorist who was a resident of Jerusalem tried to assassinate Rabbi Yehuda Glick. Fatah’s youth movement in Jordan’s Facebook page posted: “With great pride Fatah salutes its heroic martyr of Jerusalem”. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas himself said the man who shot Yehuda Glick would go to heaven as a martyr.

This terrorist was 32 years old. Yitzchak’s age at the time of the Akeda was 37 (as he was born when Sarah was ninety and she passed away at 127 about the same time as the Akeda). The Akeda reminds us that our children are our children no matter how old they are and contrary to what Fatah and Abbas have to say, it is unacceptable for them to martyr themselves at any age.

And where did the Akeda take place?

Avraham was specifically told to bring Yitzchak up to Har HaMoriah, the Temple Mount which from that moment became the Jewish nation’s holiest site.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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