How Does Abraham Always Get Away With It?


The binding of Isaac is classic Old Testament. You know the story: God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah. Abraham agrees, but just before the knife falls God intervenes, saying, “Now I know that thou art a God-fearing man.”

Child endangerment, anyone? Attempted murder?

These were the verdicts up for debate recently at Temple Emanu-El, the cathedral-like shul on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. With over 1500 people in attendance, two litigious juggernauts went at it, arguing over the political fate of public patriarch number one.

For the prosecution, Eliot Spitzer, former governor and attorney general of New York. And for the defense: the legendary Alan Dershowitz.

Both men dug deep to make their cases. Spitzer claimed that hearing “the voice of God” simply doesn’t hold up these days. Meanwhile, Dershowitz offered that Abraham and God were simply playing “a game of theological chicken. [Abraham] would never have plunged that knife.” He drew on quotations from two big thinkers: Immanuel Kant and Bob Dylan.

In the end, Dershowitz saved Abraham from mock-jail. The final verdicts:

For endangering the welfare of a child: Not guilty. And for attempted murder: Not guilty.

If you can save O.J. Simpson from jail, you can certainly do the same for the father of our people.


» Read all about the event
» Learn more about the Akeidat Yitzhak
» Get into the Jewish legality of it all
» Browse Dershowitz’s publications

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