SUBJECTIVE VS. OBJECTIVE KEYS TO THE BOOK OF JOB
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mand. The moral issue, while still vexing, is then severely reduced.Perhaps one may further argue that when it came to Isaac. the normal had long been suspended. From a natural perspective, Isaac should never have been born. If any given child is a Divine gift, then Isaac was certainly a super-Divine gift. Not only that, but Isaac is quasi-sanctified by God as Abraham’s heir, the progenitor of an eternal people, as numerous as the sands and stars. Isaac had been wrapped up in the supranatural before he was even conceived. Isaac is historically unique. Looked at from this perspective, we may simply be unable to draw conclusions regarding moral interaction between God and man translatable to the more mundane.
However, from our moral perspective, Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son, notwithstanding the most unique circumstances surrounding Isaac, notwithstanding the mores of the time, and notwithstanding the Divine directive, clearly indicates that the right to claim a rational morality in the human-Divine interaction is not a “given,” across-the-board right.
Abraham’s forthright and almost brazen remonstrations on behalf of Sodom, related a few chapters earlier in the text, show his profound understanding of, and God’s receptiveness to, the moral underpinnings of the human-Divine interaction. Indeed, it shows Abraham’s insistence on a rationally moral interaction. Clearly, Abraham was very much aware of God’s moral commitment.612 And perhaps it was on the strength of this previously requited faith in this ultimate moral commitment that Abraham proceeded.
But we must ultimately conclude that Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice instructs an eternal lesson: The prophet, theologian, or any individual can only seek a rational interaction on issues in which he is not directly involved. When an individual, like our forefather Abraham, is at the vortex of the storm, he must ultimately act on faith in an ultimate morality.
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612 Spero, Morality, Halakha and the Jewish Tradition, p. 94.
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