Can G-d be where we cannot laugh?

Mourning Kittel by Jacqueline Nicholls

Mourning Kittel by Jacqueline Nicholls

I have never understood the story of Akedat Yitzchak. How could anyone go willingly to be sacrificed? Was he deaf? Mute? Lame? Blind? Maybe he was already blind.

“Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the ram to be sacrificed?”
– Yitzchak finally hears the fire crackling and speaks.

And what about Avraham? What kind of king sacrifices his own kingdom?
I wonder if the 10th test was not really the 10th search. First Avraham breaks all the idols. Then he thinks the clouds, wind, moon and sun may be G-d. Soon he is hosting angels, people … Is he weighing their qualifications as G-d counterparts as well? After considering everything that is as a possible candidate for divinity, I wonder if Avraham is testing the boundaries of what is not.

Does death include G-d? Exclude him? And why not take his own life? Perhaps because taking ones’ future life is even harder …

Is looking for G-d like looking for our own limitations? What can we handle? What kind of past can the future bear to carry? Is this story a concentrated tale of humanity’s pushing our limits? Do the tales of Cnaanite cults sacrificing their children to Baal precede or succeed this story? Does it matter?

One thing seems clear to me. If it was up to Sarah, none of this would have happened. She knew what was up. She knew how to laugh at Avraham. Laugh at life. Laugh at her limitations too. At having a child in her old age.

But laugh at death? The ultimate limitation? We can pretend.
But really – no one can do that. Not even Sarah.

Can G-d be where we cannot laugh?


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