Desert Island Texts: The Binding of Isaac
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Desert Island Texts: The Binding of Isaac

Desert Island Texts
Desert Island Texts
Desert Island Texts
Desert Island Texts

If you were cast away on an island with just one Jewish text for company, which would you choose?

This week Suzanne King, chair of Eastbourne Liberal Jewish community, selects: The Binding of Isaac.

There was always one story that galvanised me as a child, through the prism of childhood logic.

It’s the story of the binding of Isaac.

It stirred fear, admiration, confusion and provoked some anxiety. I sat as an eight-year-old listening to the reading of the translated text of how Abraham and Sarah had longed for a child.

I briefly wondered why they didn’t think to perhaps adopt or foster a child like one of our neighbours had done but, of course, that wasn’t the object of the story.

I recall being startled that the first Jew, our patriarch Abraham, renowned for his hospitality to strangers, actually wanted to sacrifice his own special and long-awaited son, because God wanted him to do so!

I couldn’t fathom why, what was the point of killing his son? What had Isaac done to deserve such a fate and why would God want something so terrible to happen to good people?

Metaphors and allegory were beyond my eight-year-old comprehension. It challenged me to ask whether Abraham was a good father or simply a very devout and a pious man who followed God’s requests without question – a parallel that many would no doubt recognise today: “I was following orders.”

This is a text that is rich, multi-faceted and imbued with intrigue. It has inspired musicians, artists, opera and writers as well as students of theology. It still holds mystery and questions that intrigue as

I make my own journey. As I unpack the porte-manteau on the desert island, I hear a voice say: “Hineini [here I am]”…

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments