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והאלקים נסה את אברהם

G-d tested Avraham. (22:1)

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The question is obvious: Why is the Akeidah, Binding (of Yitzchak), considered a test of Avraham Avinu’s conviction? One would think that for a thirty-seven-year old man to “stretch out his neck” and prepare to be slaughtered as an offering to Hashem is an extraordinary test of his own faith. Why is it not considered the test of Yitzchak? The commentators, each in his own idiomatic manner, offer an insightful explanation. Yitzchak Avinu achieved a level of spirituality which was extraordinary. As the first one willing to allow his father to slaughter him as a sacrifice to Hashem, Yitzchak not only set a standard for our people, but he also engraved in the hearts and minds — in the psyche of Jews throughout time — the concept of a willingness to devote ourselves to Hashem, even if it means the ultimate commitment. We tend to overlook one aspect of Yitzchak’s commitment: his education; his mentor.

Yitzchak was the primary student of Avraham. As such, he was raised from birth in the most positive, spiritual environment, inculcated by parents who were themselves the exemplars of spiritual dedication. Is it any wonder that Yitzchak acted accordingly? This is what his parents taught him! Is it then any wonder that the Akeidah is known as the test of Avraham? He demonstrated the depth of his faith when he showed what his student had achieved.

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