Our students’ search for a personal morality and its potential for conflict with received norms are reflected in Parshat Va'yera.
Commentaries read Abraham’s response regarding Sodom as reflecting a personal morality in conflict with God’s apparent judgment. His later, unquestioning acceptance of God’s will is depicted as a more mature response.
However, the text allows for an alternative perspective, raising two questions: Is Abraham the greater moral leader when he makes himself God’s partner in determining what is just, or when he accepts God’s judgment without question? If the demand for Isaac’s sacrifice is a test of Abraham, did he pass or did he fail? Rabbi Howard Alpert is the CEO of Hillel of Greater Philadelphia.