"Dad, Would You Sacrifice Me?"
by Rabbi Aron Moss
I need some urgent help. My daughter asked me a question and I'm totally stumped. She learnt in school the biblical story of G-d asking Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac on the altar. Abraham was ready go through with it, but at the last minute G-d told him that it was just a test. So my daughter turns to me with her big blue eyes and asks, "Dad, if G-d told you to sacrifice me, would you do it?"
You are in a serious pickle. How you answer this could impact your daughter for the rest of her life.
If you say what you want to say, which is "Of course I would never sacrifice you!" then you will have undermined G-d's authority in your daughter's eyes. You are telling her that to disobey G-d is fine if you don't like what He tells you to do.
On the other hand, if you tell her, "I would listen to whatever G-d says," you risk damaging your relationship with your daughter. She may never feel safe with you again, fearing you might have some revelation one night.
So what do you say? Can you look at her sweet face and say you'd sacrifice her? But then, can you tell her it's ok to ignore G-d? The choice seems to be between undermining her faith in G-d, or undermining her trust in her father.
There is only one way out of this pickle. The answer you need to give her is this:
I would absolutely not listen to a command to sacrifice you. Because I would know for sure that such a command did not come from G-d.
In the times of Abraham, the Torah was not yet given. It was before G-d had expressed His moral code for mankind, and so Abraham had no choice but to follow a direct request from G-d, even when it went against his own beliefs.
Not so today. We know very well what G-d wants, as He gave us the Torah with its clear moral instructions. We don't need to rely on our own beliefs.
We know that G-d abhors human sacrifice because He told us so in His Torah.
So what if I hear a heavenly voice telling me to sacrifice my child? I can know one thing for sure: whoever's voice that is, it's not G-d. Any voice or vision or prophecy or dream that tells you to kill an innocent person cannot be an authentic divine revelation. G-d already made clear what He does and doesn't want in His Torah, and that never changes. So any voice that contradicts what is explicit in the Torah must be ignored.
Reassure your daughter that your love of G-d can never override your love for her, it can only make it stronger. And teach her that we don't listen to voices and visions and signs from heaven, we know from the Torah exactly what G-d wants from us.