Isaac: Sacrifice

Isaac: Sacrifice
Elliott batTzedek

I taught my sons what my father taught me
about worshipping God.
God is not a figure of wood or gold or clay
God is not a rock or tree or spring. These are
God’s gifts, but do not pray to them,
do not worship them for
they are not God.

Do these invocations,
sing these songs of praise, wait,
be willing to hear the voice, for there
you may find God.

You will not always hear it! I warned,
but you must always listen and obey,
for God has a plan for us different
than for others, we belong to God.

So as my father taught I taught.
All belongs to God, so the first of each
is laid upon the altar. Grain, bread,
lamb, calf, fruit, wine and always
what smells pleasing. But I did not
show them the way my father taught
me to make a sacrifice, bound live
and slain with a knife.

No! I told them, no creature should suffer
without cause, such suffering angered God.
Kill the animal first! I said, slay
it quickly, then drain the blood before offering
the life as praise to its Maker.
No blood must stain the altar!
Thus does God command!

This was a lie. I, not God, said
our covenant required the animals be dead and
their blood unseen.
And so did I betray His holy place
on every holy day.

All the pain that followed surely was
my fault. My curse, for I knew what God commanded,
better than any on earth, but I lied
only a little. Why did I not
lie more? With only a few more words
sacrifice itself could have died.
Oh! all those first born—

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