Rosh Hoshonnah Morning Torah: Shalom Isaac

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  I recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Laurence Steinberg for one of our upcoming Seekers of Meaning podcast/tv. We were discussing his new book “You and Your Adult Child”. In reading the book and in discussing adult child and parental relationships with Dr. Steinberg, I could not help but think of the Torah portion that will be read this weekend: The “Akedah. the Binding of Isaac. No doubt, your rabbi will speak on the myriad of interpretations. I wanted to share this with you as Rosh Hoshonnah begins and this portion of texts looms so large.

   Many of our generation face the issue of seeing our adult children growing up (it does seem way too fast) and becoming independent people. At time, it seems that it is difficult to “let go”. After all, we had, and still may have so many hopes and dreams for them. Yet, in so many ways, they carve out their own life. The tension or challenge of “letting go” of these dreams, hopes, fantasies, etc can crate, at time, stress. But think about this passage of Genesis and the fact that what Abraham is having to do it to “let go” of Isaac. Remember, there is some tradition that reminds us that Isaac is an adult and not a child.

   That scene on the mountain may be symbolic of the moment in parental-child relationships that we recognize and honor their independence. We “let go”! As one interpretation notes: “Abraham has sacrificed the projections he has cast upon Isaac, and is now freed from Isaac as part of his psyche. From now on Isaac is an independent being who exists in his own right. Abraham’s integrity and wholeness are enhanced by his forfeiting Isaac and his grip on him” (Abraham The Man And The Symbol: Dreifuss and Riemer. p.101)

  As the story ends, Abraham returns to his men alone. Isaac becomes his own person. Abraham has “let go” of his projections. We all live this story as parents and grandparents. The message of this portion is eternal. The message is also challenging and very real.

Shannah Tovah. Stay safe and healthy in the new year

Rabbi Richard F Address



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