Leah on Twitter
Hidden Pages
« Join me tonight to "discuss" the green movement with Larry Sharpe | Main | Introducing...The Foyer...with your host, Leah Fisch, begins October 22nd, 2011 »

Louis CK, Abraham and Isaac, Yom Kippur, and Stuff-The Meaning Of It All

In Episode 11 of Louis CK's genius and lovable show, Louie, he does a hilarious bit (WARNING: Adult and provocative theme) about the famous story in the Bible of G-d telling Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. This is also one of the major themes of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which just ended last night.

Now, the Bible has many great stories, but few of them are considered worthy enough to be repeated every year on what many consider to be the holiest day of the year. I'm not a biblical scholar by any means, so these musings are to be taken with however much salt you like. It so happens that I wrote my college sophomore thesis on this topic, but a whole new angle struck me last night.

Remember the dramatic story? Abraham (my favorite biblical character) and the beautiful Sarah were married. He was devoted to her but she was barren. She insisted he impregnate her handmaiden, Hagar, and he did, and then she was upset...anyway, G-d told Abraham, finally, that Sarah was going to bear him a son. When he reported this news back to his 90-year-old wife, she laughed in his 100-year-old face. However, it came true, and she gave birth to Isaac.

So then G-d comes around and tells Abraham to sacrifice their only precious son, and he AGREES. (There is a dispute as to Isaac's age here, though he is portrayed as a child). At the last moment, an angel appears and Abraham sacrifices a ram instead of his son.

So what does this have to do with stuff, you ask? Here's one way of looking at things. Whether or not we believe in G-d, or that things come from G-d, one thing is sure: we can't hold on to everything forever. We can't control a hurricane or tornado or tsunami that wipes out all our things and possibly, G-d forbid, our loved ones. Things get lost, stolen, ruined. Even things we are REALLY attached to. My point is this: the understanding and willingness to part with things, no matter how much we don't want to, shows a rare wisdom. In Abraham's case, the willingness to part with the thing most precious to him, his son, perhaps saved him from having to do so. He lived a long life and his son outlived him.

We attach to things and people, we're human, that's what we do. But the ability to, somewhere deep inside, admit that we cannot hold on forever (of course things live on in memory, but that's different) gives us a peace with which we can move through life free from the bondage of stuff.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (26)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
Contact Leah Fisch