Sarah’s Sacrifice


The Binding of Isaac is one of the most challenging stories in Judaism. It’s even more complex when imagined from the perspective of Isaac’s mother, Sarah.

Long ago, the rabbis noticed Sarah’s absence from the original story. They wrote numerous midrashim (rabbinic commentaries) to fill in this gap. Since the Torah describes Sarah’s death almost immediately after Isaac’s binding, the Rabbis connect the two events. They suggest that Sarah dies because of the Binding of Isaac. A number of artists have followed this train of thought as well, and in this unit, we explore some of their work.

Focusing on Sarah, we experience a fuller picture of this heightened moment. We broaden the spotlight of ethical questions beyond the relationship between father, son, and God. We invite the mother in.