In Genesis chapter 22 I read the story of the binding of Isaac. The verses say that Abraham and Isaac travelled together to the mountain to fulfill G‑d’s command to Abraham to offer up his son. Later (in verse 19), however, it only mentions Abraham returning with his servants. Why is there no mention of Isaac returning with his father?


You raise an excellent point. Commentaries on the verse raise the same question and quote the answer given by the 2,000 year old commentary Targum Yonatan. He states that instead of returning with his father, Isaac went from the binding straight to study Torah in the house of study of Shem and Eber.1

Several insights are offered as to why he went there immediately and did not first go home with Abraham. One commentary says that Abraham feared that if they stayed together, the extreme joy that they would share over Isaac being alive would imply that they had not been truly ready to sacrifice Isaac, and that essentially they had questioned G‑d's will. They therefore separated until the excitement would pass.2

I don't know if this degree of selflessness is attainable, or expected, for us simple folk. I can say, however, that this kind of dedication – i.e. not even harboring an emotion that might indicate a desire contrary to G‑d's will – is what shaped the gift of faith that Abraham bequeathed to his descendants, the Jewish people. And it is this kind of faith that is the core and essence of our souls.

See Binding of Isaac for more on this topic.

Please let me know if this helps.

Best regards,

Rabbi Baruch S. Davidson