The Akeidah, which is the Torah reading of the second day of Rosh Hashanah, has been expounded on for centuries. Countless homiletical thoughts have been expressed on it, and it has been given numerous elaborate explanations. Recently, as I was reviewing it in preparation for the High Holiday season, something new struck me which I would like to share with you this morning.

In the narrative of the Akeidah we read of Hashem’s testing Avraham and how he faithfully accepted the test and passed it with flying colors. In the ensuing details the Torah relates, “Avraham rose early in the morning and he saddled his donkey, he split the wood, he took in his hand the knife and the fire. When they arrived at the place of which G‑d had told him, Avraham built the altar there. He arranged the wood. He bound Isaac his son and he placed him on the altar on top of the wood. Avraham then stretched out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.”

Hashem’s command was simply, “Take your son, go to the land of Moriah and bring him up there as an offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” He did not tell him to saddle the donkey himself or to split the wood himself. Nor did He tell him to build the altar himself, etc. One might think that circumstances caused Avraham to do all these things because he was unable to afford or did not have available any people to help him. To dispel this notion the Torah specifies that he took his two young men with him. These two were his son Yishmael, who was approximately fifty years old at the time, and his faithful servant Eliezer, who was dedicated to him and in charge of his household. Obviously, regardless of his assistants and the help he had available, Avraham for some reason decided to do all these things personally and not seek any help or intervention.

Avraham at this time was an old man of 137 years old, and Yitzchak was a young man of 37. While for Avraham to build an altar on his own perhaps was not such a herculean task, to lift Yitzchak and place him on the altar atop the wood was definitely not easy. Though he knew that he was expected to perform a demanding task, he told his young men to stay behind while he and the lad went on. Why did Avraham find it necessary to do all these details personally and not seek any assistance?

I believe Avraham was conveying a message to posterity in regard to the education and rearing of one’s children. To Avraham the purpose of the akeidah was to introduce his son to a spiritual experience and indoctrinate him in the service of Hashem. It was also an education in mesirat nefesh — self-sacrifice for His Name. Avraham felt that the education of his child was not something which he should delegate to others but something to be fully involved in personally.

In our day and age we have been blessed with an abundance of Torah oriented schools, both for boys and for girls. The goal of many of these schools is to give our youth a high quality education and imbue them with a love for Torah and dedication to Yiddishkeit. As good as they may be, however, parents must be personally involved in their children’s education. It is not enough for a parent to send his child to a good school, pay tuition, and rely on receiving a report card every few months or attending PTA meeting once a year.

I am confident that parents who have investments in securities and the like, do not leave everything up to their financial advisors, but are quite often in touch with them and discussing their holdings. Why not be as involved with the valuable gifts Hashem has given us — our children — as we are with our financial interests?

Avraham’s message was that parents should be fully immersed in every detail of their child’s education and upbringing and not rely solely on the people whose services they have enlisted.