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The Wood We Carry

Lev Avos Blog

Exploring Tanach while reflecting on parenthood

The Wood We Carry

Yechiel Shaffer

As we live through another Rosh Hashanah, and read of Avraham taking his son to the top of a mountain to sacrifice him, maybe this was an opportunity to reflect upon the time's parents make their child do something they don't want to. While the Akeidah is an obvious extreme, and Yitzchak certainly seems to be a willing participant, nevertheless it is worthwhile considering how disconnected Avraham and Yitzchak seem from each other following the Akeidah. The Pesukim fail to mention Yitzchak's descent from the mountain, only pointing out that Avraham returned to Be'er Sheva. 

Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk focuses in on one detail that is easily missed. In the description offered of all the equipment Avraham brings with him on this three-day journey, we are told he also brings along wood. Why? There surely would be wood available within the vicinity of his destination? 

Rabbi Elimelech wisely reminds us of the impossible challenge Avraham faced in the Akeidah and perhaps, the opportunity to go and search for wood may have been the perfect distraction from following through on the instructions from God. Avraham from the very beginning of his journey is committed to the instructions of God and therefore brings the wood with him. 

As we each journey to our destination, it may be worth considering the words of the Rebbe Elimelech, and gather our wood at the beginning of this trip.

When the time comes, we don't want to have to then begin gathering wood!