Random Quote #73 topic: hebraic, Translations from the Talmud, Midrashim and Kabbala

"And it came to pass after these things that God did test Abraham" (Gen.
xxii. 1). After what things? Rabbi Yochanan, in the name of Rabbi Yossi
ben Zimra, replies, "After the words of Satan, who said, 'Lord of the
Universe! Thou didst bestow a son upon that old man when he was a
hundred years of age, and yet he spared not a single dove from the
festival to sacrifice to Thee.' God replied, 'Did he not make this
festival for the sake of his son? and yet I know he would not refuse to
sacrifice that son at my command.' To prove this, God did put Abraham to
the test, saying unto him, 'Take now thy son;' just as an earthly king
might say to a veteran warrior who had conquered in many a hard-fought
battle, 'Fight, I pray thee, this severest battle of all, lest it should
be said that thy previous encounters were mere haphazard skirmishes.'
Thus did the Holy One--blessed be He!--address Abraham, 'I have tried
thee in various ways, and not in vain either; stand this test also, for
fear it should be insinuated that the former trials were trivial and
therefore easily overcome. Take thy son.' Abraham replied, 'I have two
sons.' 'Take thine only son.' Abraham answered, 'Each is the only son of
his mother.' 'Take him whom thou lovest.' 'I love both of them,' said
Abraham. 'Take Isaac.' Thus Abraham's mind was gradually prepared for
this trial. While on the way to carry out this Divine command Satan met
him, and (parodying Job iv. 2-5) said, 'Why ought grievous trials to be
inflicted upon thee? Behold thou hast instructed many, and thou hast
strengthened the weak hands. Thy words have supported him that was
falling, and now this sore burden is laid upon thee.' Abraham answered
(anticipating Ps. xxvi. 11), 'I will walk in my integrity.' Then said
Satan (see Job iv. 6), 'Is not the fear (of God) thy folly? Remember, I
pray thee, who ever perished being innocent?' Then finding that he could
not persuade him, he said (perverting Job iv. 12), 'Now a word came to
me by stealth. I overheard it behind the veil (in the Holy of Holies
above). A lamb will be the sacrifice, and not Isaac.' Abraham said, 'It
is the just desert of a liar not to be believed even when he speaks the

THE TALMUD, _Sanhedrin_, fol. 89, col. 2.


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