Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The "Fear of Isaac"

been reading Rabbi Shlomo Riskin's Torah Lights: Genesis Confronts Life, Love and Family. Interesting commentary.

bit late 2 discuss Parshat Vayetze, weekly Torah/Bible reading from 2 shabbatot/sabbaths ago, but had crazy thought while reading riskin's commentary--what if yaakov/jacob was being literal when he used somewhat unusual term "Fear of Isaac" here? y shouldn't he b afraid of his father, after deceiving him in order 2 steal eisav's/esau's blessing?

2 my more learned readers, does this thought appear in rabbinical commentary &/or midrashim (roughly, rabbinic legends)?

riskin says yaakov felt unloved by his father. never thought of that. while we're on subject of favoritism, maybe esav felt unloved by his mother

pls pardon poor typing--2 broken wrists


Blogger The Reform Baal Teshuvah said...

I don't know if this works.

פחד יצחק is an epithet here for G-d, of whom Isaac is afraid.

G-d has to take some trouble, when appearing to Isaac, to be gentle and reassuring. We see this in Toldot.

I am struck, personally, about how Isaac is treated throughout Vayetze. When G-d introduces Himself to Jacob, he says "אני הי אלקי אברהם אביך ואלקי יצחק" which is really curious seeing how Isaac, not Abraham sired Jacob. Isaac's relationship with G-d is not as intimate as Abraham's or Jacob's. It is Rebecca, not Isaac who sought Him out, and engaged in dialogue with Him.

Tue Dec 16, 11:05:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

makes sense for both 2 b afraid. isaac afraid of g-d because g-d ordered pop to sacrifice him. jacob afraid of isaac because of deception. "fear of isaac" works whether interpreted traditionally or literally

Wed Dec 17, 11:05:00 AM 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're reading too much into it. And Pachad Yitzhak doesn't mean "I'm afraid of God because he ordered Abe to sacrifice Isaac" but rather more of fear in the sense of awe. Nobody I've read says that it means fear in the sense you say, nor does it refer to Jacob's fear of Isaac. Grammatically, Pachad Yitzhak is a construct form (smichut), and means "Fear of Isaac" but "fear" is meant as a proper noun here. In other words, its Fear "shel" Isaac. Fear of Isaac, as in "I'm scared of my father" would use a different preposition (min/m'), I believe.

So, I just don't think your reading is justified.

Wed Dec 17, 01:36:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

ah, thanx 4 grammar lesson

Wed Dec 17, 01:40:00 PM 2008  

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