In Genesis 22, we read the powerful and deeply challenging narrative of Akedat Yitzhak: Avraham binding and nearly sacrificing his son. Join us as we uncover its complexity and profound meaning with Rabbis Erin Leib Smokler, Dov Linzer, Ethan Tucker, and more.
The Akedah Project
The Akedah Project explores the story of the Binding of Isaac (“akedah” means “binding” in Hebrew), which is one of the most confounding narratives in the Bible. Scholars, rabbis, artists, teachers, poets, and readers have tried to make sense of this story for millennia, which has given us a range of lenses through which we can read it, even as we bring the new questions, ideas, and perspectives that come with every new generation of readers.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: You Want it Darker
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is a British rabbi, philosopher, theologian, author, and politician. He served as the chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth until 2013 and has since served on the faculties of New York University, Yeshiva University, and King’s College London.
Rabbi Tali Adler: Isaac’s Binding, Rachel’s Tears
Sacrifice and the High Holy Days: Akeidat Yitzhak, the Torah reading for the Second Day of Rosh HaShanah, is usually seen as the ultimate Jewish model of personal sacrifice. But is willingness to die for God really the epitome of sacrifice? In this session, we will explore a midrash that questions Akeidat Yitzhak’s role as the central model of sacrifice and offers a story about Rachel, our matriarch, as an alternative. We will use the midrash to explore questions such as: What does sacrifice look like? What role should it play in our religious lives? And what might our High Holy Days be like with a different model of religious sacrifice at the center?
Judaism Unbound Podcast with Lex Rofeberg and Dan Libenson
This Rosh Hashanah, Lex Rofeberg and Dan Libenson look at the four major biblical readings associated with the holiday. They ask how these texts can apply to twenty-first-century life, and they provide a variety of answers, including many that incorporate historical understandings of the Bible gleaned from biblical source criticism. In this episode, they tackle Genesis 22, which tells the story of the binding of Isaac.
Anne Gordon: The Akeida in Art
From Rembrandt to Caravaggio, the drama of Akeidat Yitzhak has been captured by some of the greatest fine artists. Join Anne Gordon in an exploration of how their interpretations might inform our own.
Reading and Re-reading the Akedah with Rabbis Ethan Tucker, Erin Leib Smokler, and Dov Linzer
The Binding of Isaac raises many core religious questions: Is true service to God achieved through submission? What is God trying to communicate in asking Abraham to sacrifice his son? What is achieved when God cancels that command? Hear this spirited conversation as our three panelists (Erin Leib Smokler, Dov Linzer, and Ethan Tucker—from Yeshivat Maharat, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, and Mechon Hadar, respectively) engage in a live collaborative reading of Genesis 22 that aims to probe the depths of this text while grappling with its ongoing relevance for contemporary religious life.
Nizakher Venikatev: A Reflective Guide for Torah on the Second Day of Rosh Hashanah
What does it mean to “show up” for the people, causes, and communities we care most about? How have you worked to notice voices of people who have been marginalized or difficult to hear? Explore these questions and more as we go deeper into the themes of our reading from Torah.