The mainstay of the life of a person of faith is his awareness of a relationship with the Creator based on love and faithfulness .As king David writes; ”But you, O Hashem, are a G-d merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”( Psalm 86:15 ).
The responsibility of the created beings is expressed in the foundational verses in Deuteronomy; “You shall love Hashem your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might”. (Deuteronomy 6:5).
Yet clearly that can be a very unsteady basis in our walk of faith, As the Torah continues to instruct again;
“And now, Israel, what does Hashem your G-d ask of you, but to fear Hashem your G-d, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve Hashem your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul”( ibid 10:12-13)
Clearly the “fear of G-d” (the awe of G-d) seems to be the prerequisite for “love of G-d”.
This will help us understand the process of the Akeida-the Binding of Isaac.
We read the following; ”And it came to pass after these things, that G-d tested Abraham, and He said to him, “Abraham,” and he said, “Here I am. And He said, “Please take your son, your only one, whom you love, yea, Isaac, and go away to the land of Moriah and bring him up there as an elevated offering on one of the mountains, of which I will tell you.”( Genesis 22:1-2).
Abraham in his undying devotion to G-d obeys and he does so with haste. ”And Abraham arose early in the morning, and he saddled his donkey, and he took his two young men with him and Isaac his son” (ibid:3) .
We see as well that this passion of faithfulness is not only relegated to Abraham but he has succeeded to transfer it unto his son
“And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father, and he said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the” elevated offering”?” And Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the “elevated offering”, my son.”( ibid :7-8)
Isaac is no longer a young child and therefore he immediately understands what is transpiring and yet he goes forward in acceptance;
“And they both went together.”(ibid)
It is clear that Abraham and Isaac’s act of faithfulness and devotion goes beyond the comprehensible in the human psyche. Yet we can understand that Abraham mustered all of what spiritual strength he had , to overcome his logic and his feelings in order to fulfill the will of the Divine as he understood it.( even though the text of G-d’s request does not invariably mean a desire for the sacrifice of Abraham’ son but rather his elevation).
Yet at the moment of truth G-d steps in and prevents the deed.
“And Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife, to slaughter his son. And an angel of G-d called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham! Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.And he said, “Do not stretch forth your hand to the lad, nor do the slightest thing to him, for now I know that you are a G-d fearing man, and you did not withhold your son, your only one, from Me.”( ibid 10-12)
Rav Eran Tamir of Machon Meir quotes the Kli Yakar to raise a question.
The text should have said”: And an angel of God called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham! Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am…., for now I know that you are a God fearing man, and you did not withhold your son, your only one, from Me.… And he said, “Do not stretch forth your hand to the lad, nor do the slightest thing to him.
If the bringing of Isaac to Mount Moriah was the great test, the words “now I know that you are a God fearing man” should have been declared first, as soon as Abraham brought Isaac unto the altar.
That is to say, the statement “for now I know that you are a God fearing man,” is in response to “”Do not stretch forth your hand to the lad, nor do the slightest thing to him”.
Abraham out of his deep love for G-d submitted his will to what he perceived was G-d’s will. Yet holding back from that passionate and difficult decision was even harder because it was an act of obedience where nothing made logical sense anymore.
The Kli Yakar explains the fulfillment of a positive commandment (i.e. do this) comes out the love for G-d while a negative one (don’t do this) comes out of the fear for G-d
The act of obedience is the gateway into true Divine love. This is so because love of G-d without fear of G-d becomes love of self. We at times become so filled with our passionate relationship it all becomes focused on us. We are the ones who love and are being loved.
Obedience brings about a deep humbling and a shrinking of our ego. Only then is there more room for G-d to enter.
That is the time that true Divine love blossoms