Wednesday, November 30, 2016

In Defense of Isaac

It seems inevitable that every year someone will say, "Isaac is boring."

Abraham traveled the world, argued with God, and led armies into battle.

Jacob was cunning and strong, received messages from God in dreams, and wrestled with angels.

But Isaac never traveled beyond the boundaries of his promised land. He re-dug the same wells as his father and re-hashed the same stories. He rarely spoke to God and never wrestled with angels.

I've always been sympathetic to Isaac. I don't think he is meant to be larger than life, like his father and his son. He represents us - bound to the Jewish people by our forefathers, repeating their rituals and re-treading their well-worn steps in the landscape of Jewish tradition, taking God's promises on faith, and promising even more to our children.

Maybe this year we can view Isaac not as the boring and blind forgotten middle patriarch, but as the model for our own Jewish lives.