Today we read about the binding of Issac, Akeidat Yitzchak. A story that is well known and at the same time a bit troubling on many accounts. It is also a story that is directly tied into the days of awe. The binding of Isaac, is seen daily in the slichot prayer. We say,
מי שענה לאברהם אבניו בהר המוריה הוא יעננו. מי שענה ליצחק בניו שנעקד על גבי המזבח הוא יעננו
The one who answered Abraham our Father on Mt. Moriah, He should answer us. The one who answered Yitzchak his son, while he was bound on the altar, he should answer us.
The Jerusalem Talmud, in Taanit 2:4 brings a direct tie from Abraham’s view of the binding of Issac to the repentance of the Jewish people.
Abraham said to God, “It is known to you that in the moment that you told me to bring up my son, I had what to say to you. Only yesterday did you tell me that my lineage would live on through my son Yitzchak, and now You are telling me to sacrifice him. And God forbid, would I not listen to you, and without questioning I did your bidding. May it be your will that when the children of Yitzchak are in trouble, and there is no one to testify for them, God, you should remember the Akeida, and show mercy on the children of Israel.”
The shofar too has a connection to the story of the binding of Issac. At the end of the Torah reading, we hear about Abraham finding a ram and being told to sacrifice that instead of his son The Gemara in Rosh Hashana (16a) asks the question of why do we specifically use a ram’s horn to blow.
“Rav Abahu asked: Why do we blow the Shofar of a ram? God said: Blow with the shofar of a ram before Me, so that I will be reminded of the binding of Yitzchak son of Avraham. And I will consider the shofar blowing the equivalent of your having bound yourselves before Me.”
It is very fitting that we read the story of the Akeida during Rosh Hashana. May we all merit to both be looked at in eyes of Mercy by God, and may God answer our needs and wishes in the same way that He answered both Avraham and Yitzchak at that pivotal moment.