task fixation can lead to unintended consequences and collateral damage.
my personal opinion is that the master of the universe experienced a learning curve in dealing with his creation, humanity. his experience is analogous to raising children. children’s actions and behaviors often beyond our anticipation and imagination.
with this concept in mind, we analyze god’s test of abraham, the binding of isaac. god’s intentinon was to test abraham’s loyalty, belief and faith. something else, however, happened.
“and they came to the place of which god had spoken to him, and abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and he bound isaac his son and placed him on the altar upon the wood. and abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife, to slaughter his son. and an angel of god called to him from heaven and said, “abraham! abraham!” and he said, “here i am.” and he said, “do not stretch forth your hand to the lad, nor do the slightest thing to him, for now i know that you are a god fearing man, and you did not withhold your son, your only one, from me.” genesis 22:9
in this episode, isaac, while an important figure in this event, was left out of the loop. he witnessed the horror of his father with a knife prepared to slaughter him. how did he comprehend the event? did this dramatic event emotionally him?
several torah passage address mental health. the torah, without the benefit of the dsm (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders aka the bible for mental health practitioners), is descriptive of mental illness and emotional suffering.
with respect to isaac, it is noted in genesis 24:67, “and isaac brought her[rebecca] to the tent of sarah his mother, and he took rebecca, and she became his wife, and he loved her. and isaac was comforted for [the loss of] his mother.”
the torah implies isaac experiencing depression. isaac’s emotional make-up, from the beginning was complex. he was born to elderly parents and he had a half-brother who mistreated him. these factors are then combined with his attempted sacrifice and loss of his mother.
the aftermath of isaac’s binding was that the master of the universe awoke to the concepts of unintended consequences and mental health issues.
the nation’s new leader, isaac, arguably had serious mental health issues which impacted his abilities.
as a result, the second generation “true test” fell upon rebecca. genesis 25:23, provides “and the lord said to her, “two nations are in your womb, and two kingdoms will separate from your innards, and one kingdom will become mightier than the other kingdom, and the elder will serve the younger.”
thus, it was rebecca who given the monumental test and task to further the nation’s creation.
in sum, the main players are not the only ones who can be impacted by events. minor players and the audience can be impacted as well. thus, in taking actions, one must be cognizant of the possible collateral effects. these collateral effects can be as transformative as the act’s intended result. it is important to note that collateral effects can be both negative and positive. thus, if an action is planned properly, the result can be exceedingly positive.
thus, in my opinion, as the master of the universe learned from this experience, the torah shares this valuable lesson. thus, parents, leaders, and teachers can take advantage of this wisdom when taking action.
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