I spent the month of Elul learning the akeda (Avraham’s would-be sacrifice of Isaac) in much depth from the text, Rashi, and other commentators – and the entire time I had a nagging feeling about it. I left almost every class in angst about the whole thing. It really didn’t sit well with me and I couldn’t explain why. We talked about tests and challenges, and I tied it into what we we learning about callings from Yonah. I was intellectually enlightened and psychologically wrecked.
Walking home from a very emotional Kol Nidre, I had a moment of clarity – I can relate a little too well to Yitzhak at this point in my life.
Avraham heard Hashem. He was following a direct calling. While it was difficult, there was no doubt that he was doing exactly what he was supposed to be. He doesn’t have a moment to wonder what the end result was or what the process would entail – and even if he did, he could rely upon the knowledge that this was what he was supposed to be doing. While Yitzhak understands that this is part of the plan, he didn’t get the call himself. He doesn’t have Hashem’s “voice” in his head reminding him of this. He has to rely on his heart and faith. He doesn’t know the end result clearly, even if he can sense it.
D has a clear calling to be a rabbi. While he may sometimes think about other things because it is a long road still, he knows that this is exactly what he is supposed to do. Meanwhile, I don’t know. I have a hunch about where my path is taking me and what my contribution is supposed to be, but I haven’t had a lucid moment of calling. I don’t know what my test is, and don’t think I will until its over.
(Ironically, I have always felt a strong connection to Sara and it is said that Yitzhak and Sara are very similar personalities. I also love praying and do best with Mincha – two additional things which we learn from Yitzhak. I’ll have to flush that out more before I can write in detail on it though.)
While I of course do not feel that I am remotely on the same level of any of the accomplishments or challenges of Yitzhak, I feel a deeper connection to him now and hope that as I continue to learn about his story I can better flush out how to handle my own. In the interim, I guess I just have to rely upon my faith and the calling of the person who I am walking with on this journey.