Take, please, your son, your only son, whom you love
Bent over my notebook, headphones wired into place, pencil gripped tightly in hand
As if I’m wielding it — my only weapon against the words scribbled on the page before me and inscribed within my being.
Reading the verses repeatedly attempting to gauge meaning from an inconceivable sequence of apparently sincere sentiments.
I did not hear the girl behind me mutter that the bodies had been found
take, please, your son, your only son, whom you love
What could you, God, possibly have wanted with the limp body of a boy you had promised over and over again to your chosen one?
Why would this ever be an action of which anyone ought to be capable?
It seems nonsensical.
Love me for I have formed you from the dust of the Earth.
Love me for I have pumped breath into the dirt from which you came.
Love me, for I will make of you a great nation.
Value life, for it is what I have given you.
Value family, for it is what I have promised.
Now, destroy my gift.
Prove to me that you value my command over the values I have etched into the fabric of your faith.
My friend asked me for my laptop,
I barely looked up from the text.
I didn’t ask what he wanted with it.
He’s the sort of kid you don’t think to question:
My age in years but far older in soul
still — young, so young.
But older than two of them.
“Just give it back afterwards, OK?”
I look up.
He was staring at me almost accusatorially,
“Did you not hear what Rachel said?”
“They found the bodies, Celeste. The boys’ bodies — they found them”
your only son, whom you love — and go to the region of Moriah and sacrifice him there as a burnt offering
You demand love.
I demand freedom.
freedom from the narrative you forced on your own people.
freedom from the contract I had no say in signing.
Born into a body formed from the very soil in which their bodies rot.
Is this the price we pay for the land you promised?
Our sonless mothers.
Our empty beds.
Our forced smiles at crippled family gatherings.
Our powerless pain.
Our fists clenched around the pencils that are our only weapons against your nonsensical sequence of apparently sincere sentiments.
The irony is overpowering.
We mull over ancient verses in beitei midrash wondering why our ancestor would ever rise early in the morning and journey to the region of Moriah.
We live there.
There is no journey for us.
No three days of respite.
Our children are already bound.
God supplied our sons and daughters.
Caught in the thicket by our own allegiances.
Our boys do not come down from the mountain.
Our boys do not bury their fathers.
Take, please, your son, your only son, whom you lovenike free run 5.0 purple