Friday, April 18, 2014

Sacrifice of the Firstborn

This and future Tanach posts are dedicated to Refael Elisha Meir Cohen, taken from us yesterday by a brain tumor before we even had a chance to really get to know him. His neshama (soul) should have an aliyah (ascent) in the next world.


In Melachim B (Kings II) 3:27, as the combined forces of the Kingdoms of Israel and Yehuda (Judea) suppress the Moavi (Moabite) rebellion, Meysha King of Moav, in desperation, sacrifices and burns his son and heir apparent on the city walls.  Israel at the time didn’t disbelieve in the God of Israel, they had simply reverted to polytheism and believed him to be one of a pantheon of gods who could be called upon. So too, the Moavim were also educated in the God of Israel, were aware of the Akeidah, the binding and almost-sacrifice of Yitzchak (Isaac,) and figured that if the God of Israel demands sacrifice of the firstborn, then it should work for King Meysha too.  Ironic considering that the events of the Akeidah were specifically done to prove that the God of Israel hated the practice of firstborn sacrifice.

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