[Many of my readers know that for years I have wanted to write a book telling the story of what happened after the akedah. It's my theory (though not original to me or others) that Isaac went to live with Ishmael and Hagar. In order to once again spur me into thinking about actually writing this book, I composed this short piece in the spirit of what I hope to write someday. Work in progress. Feedback welcome. - Adrian]
"Yitkhak, sit down. I have some bad news." She gestured fo her son to go sit beside Yitzkhak. "I just heard that your mother, Sarah, is dead."
Yitkhak out his head in his hands and began to weep, slowly, and quietly.
"G"d knows, Yitzkhak, there's no love lost between your mother and me. Still, I guess she did what she felt she had to do when she had me and Ish thrown out of the household to fend for ourselves. May she rest in peace with her ancestors. You should go to your father, Yitzkhak, and comfort him and mourn your mother."
"No!" Yitzkhak quickly stood and started towards the entrance of the tent. "I will not go. You are my family now."
"My brother," said Ishmael, "do not be rash and hasty in making your choices."
"What do you know of my pain, dear brother?"
Wounded and surprised by the harshness of Yitzkhak's words, Ishmael replied "I know you speak in pain, brother, but mother and I have surely known our share of pain at the hands of your father and mother."
"Father didn't try and kill you! And I'm sure if he had tried, your mother would have tried to stop him. What did my mother do? Nothing. And that's what I owe both of them. Nothing."
"You have a destiny, Yitzkhak. Your father is beloved of El. El has promised to make great nations of you and your brother. It is a legacy and an obligation you cannot escape, try as you may."
"I want nothing to do with El. He asked for my blood as a sacrifice. Even if it was just a test - or so they claim. I'm still not so certain of that. If my legacy is to father a great nation, then I do not want them to be devoted to such a bloody god like El. I will find another god to worship."
"It may not be as easy as you think, my brother, to escape your father's covenant with El."
"What has El ever done for me?"
"What about me?" said Hagar. Has not El provided for me and Ishmael? Has he not made me prosperous enough to be able to take you in as part of our household? El spoke to me. I cannot so easily forsake a god that has deigned to speak directly to me, and who has provided for me and my son. Even if your love for your parents has diminished, If you love me, Yitzkhak, then you must love El as well."
"You have been like mother and father to me, dear Hagar. I owe much to you. I do not owe much to my father, my mother, of El."
"You see and feel only what is here, now, Yitzkhak. You must broaden your viewpoint. If you do not mourn your mother now, you may regret it. And your father, whatever anger you feel at him, is still your father - and Ishmael's father as well. You do owe him, as his son, to comfort him, and maybe even to seek his comfort."
"Abraham is as likely to offer me up on the altar to assuage him pain as the loss of my mother as he is to embrace me and mourn with me. No, I will not go. Now leave me to mourn in my own way."
"As you wish, brother."
"Come, mother, let's leave him to work things out for himself."
©2010 by Adrian A. Durlester