Monday, October 25, 2010

Vayera: Sdom, Akeida and the Breaking of Paradigms

Avraham takes two very different forms in Parshat Vayera. On the one hand, he brings his subjective moral intuition into a discusison with God about destroying the city of Sdom. On the other, he seemingly submits silently to carrying out the command to sacrifice his son at the Akeida.

Contemporary theologians disagree as to the significance of these stories. Whereas Yeshayahu Leibowitz and Joseph Soloveitchik see the Akeida (and therefore restraint and obedience) as the ultimate expression of religious worship, David Hartman sees the model of Sdom (assertiveness, and autonomy) as the proper paradigm for understanding our ideal relationship with God.

Finally, we looked at a position from Jerome Gellman that suggests that rather than strengtheing the idea of paradigms, the stories of the Akeida and Sdom actually come to break them.

Click here for the audio recording and the source sheet.

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