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Isaac

Sarah, Afraid of Abraham, Denies Laughing

When Sarah overhears that she and Abraham will have a baby, she laughs and when confronted, denies it for fear of Abraham’s reaction. After all, Abraham has consistently put her in jeopardy, neglected her, and was content with Ishmael, Hagar’s son, as his heir.

Prof.

Tammi J. Schneider

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Does Ishmael Molest Isaac?

In Genesis 21:9, Sarah sees Ishmael מְצַחֵק metzacheq and tells Abraham to banish the boy. The verb has long been interpreted innocently, as laughing or playing, yet this may not be what it means.

Dr.

Lisbeth S. Fried

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Where Do Isaac and Rebecca Live When Jacob Leaves Home?

Isaac and Rebecca live in Beersheba (Gen 26:23), Beer-lahai-roi (Gen 25:11) and Kiryat-arba (Gen 35:27). When Jacob sets off to Laban’s house, where is he leaving from?

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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Isaac before He Was Abraham’s Son

Abraham and Isaac each dig a well in Beersheba and make a treaty with King Abimelech. Which story came first?

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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Reconciling Hagar and Sarah: Feminist Midrash and National Conflict

Hagar and Sarah are the matriarchs of the Arabs and the Jews in Jewish and Muslim interpretation. In the Bible, the feud between the two women is never mended, but Jewish and Muslim feminist readers have used midrash-style poetry to rewrite the ending of their story, in hope of reconciling the contemporary conflict between their putative descendants.

Noam Zion

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“Take Your Only Son Isaac” – What Happened to Ishmael?

In the introductory verses of the Akedah (Binding of Isaac), God refers to Isaac as Abraham’s only son, ignoring the existence of Ishmael. Ishmael’s absence has bothered even the earliest readers of the text, but a documentary approach obviates the problem. The key is understanding the relationship between Abraham and Hagar.

Dr.

Philip Yoo

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Grace Leake

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Abraham Passes the Test of the Akedah But Fails as a Father

The story of the Akedah appears to present Abraham’s actions in a uniformly positive light. However, Isaac’s absence at the end of the story, and Sarah’s death immediately afterwards, suggested to some traditional and modern commentators a criticism of Abraham.

Prof.

Aaron Koller

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Rachel Weeps in Ramah: Of All the Patriarchs, God Listens Only to Her

Rachel weeps over her exiled descendants and God hears her plea (Jer 31:14–16). Expanding on this passage, the rabbis in Midrash Eichah Rabbah envision Jeremiah awakening the patriarchs and Moses to plead with God to have mercy on Israel. Upon their failure to move God, the matriarch Rachel intervenes successfully.

Prof.

Hagith Sivan

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A Monogamous Isaac Prays for His Barren Wife

Midrash Chad Shenati, discovered in the Cairo Genizah, criticizes Abraham for not praying for Sarah and praises Isaac for praying for Rebekah.

Dr.

Shana Strauch-Schick

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Dr.

Moshe Lavee

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The Sacrifice of Isaac in Context: Recovering a Lost Ending of the Akedah

The earliest version of the birth and sacrifice of Isaac account questioned the identity of the boy’s father and concluded with Abraham sacrificing him to God.

Dr. Rabbi

Tzemah Yoreh

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Akedah: How Jews and Christians Explained Abraham's Faith

God promised Abraham that Isaac would be his heir, yet God asked Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. What did Abraham believe that allowed him to reconcile this divine contradiction?

Dr.

Devorah Schoenfeld

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Testing Abraham: Justice in Sodom Before Loyalty in the Akedah

Prof. Rabbi

Reuven Kimelman

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Mitigating the Akedah

Taking the edge off God's command to Abraham that he sacrifice his son, and Abraham's compliance.

Prof.

Isaac Kalimi

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Baby Naming: Biblical Rites and Mother’s Rights

Who gets to name the child? Priestly and non-Priestly texts give two different answers.

Dr. Hacham

Isaac S. D. Sassoon

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Isaac’s Divine Conception?

“The Lord visited Sarah” (Gen 21:1) – When God (and his angels) appears to Abraham to announce the birth of Isaac, the text implies a hidden visit to Sarah. Does this mean, as both Philo and Paul claim, that Isaac was born from a divine conception?

Dr. Rabbi

Samuel Z. Glaser

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