The Chapter of Abraham binding Isaac on the altar where the holy temple ultimately was built hundreds of years later is a great chapter in Jewish history. It is read on Rosh Hashana as the Torah portion of the second day. People read the chapter especially on or before Rosh Hashana for the great merit the chapter arouses when it is recited. There are 2 major reasons the chapter has great merit.
Firstly, Abraham’s sacrifice or desire to do so was so great that the merit of his devotion helps us, his descendants until this day.
Secondly, whatever our forefathers struggled with and overcame became a spiritual legacy passed down to us their descendants. So we as a nation have the spiritual ability that we inherited from our forefather Abraham to sacrifice ourselves and all that is dear to us for G-d’s will. When we recognize that we realign with G-d’s mission that he gave us to do in this world.
Perhaps that merit is even greater as we refocus on what is truly important and resolve to pursue it this coming year.
After these things, God put Abraham to the test. He said to him, “Abraham,” and he answered, “Here I am.”
And He said, “Take your son, your favored one, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the heights that I will point out to you.”
So early next morning, Abraham saddled his donkey and took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. He split the wood for the burnt offering, and he set out for the place of which God had told him.
On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place from afar.
Then Abraham said to his servants, “You stay here with the donkey, the boy and I will go there; we will bow down and we will return to you.”
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and put it on his son Isaac. He himself took the fire and the knife; and they both walked off together.
Then Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he answered, “Yes, my son.” And he said, “Here is the fire and the wood; but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?”
And Abraham said, “God will see to the sheep for His burnt offering, my son.” And they both walked on together.
They arrived at the place of which God had told him. Abraham built an altar there; he laid out the wood; he bound his son Isaac; he laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.
And Abraham picked up the knife to slay his son.
Then an angel of the Lord called to him from heaven: “Abraham! Abraham!” And he answered, “Here I am.”
And he said, “Do not raise your hand against the boy, or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your favored one, from Me.”
When Abraham lifted his eyes and he saw a ram, caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son.
And Abraham named the place Hashem-yireh (G-d will see), that today people will continue to say, “On the mount, the Lord can be seen.”
The angel of G-d called to Abraham a second time from heaven.
And the angel said: “I swear upon myself, says G-d: Because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your favored one,
I will bestow My blessing upon you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sands on the seashore; and your descendants shall seize the gates of their foes.
All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants, because you have obeyed My command.”
Abraham then returned to his servants, and they departed together for Beer-Sheba; and Abraham stayed in Beer-Sheba.
The following prayer should be said only on weekdays but not on Shabbat or Holidays:
בְּלֵבָב שָׁלֵם. כֵּן יִכְבְּשׁוּ רַחֲמֶיךָ אֶת כַּעַסְךָ מֵעָלֵינוּ וְיָגלּוּ רַחֲמֶיךָ עַל מִדּותֶיךָ. וְתִתְנַהֵג עִמָּנוּ ה' אֱלהֵינוּ בְּמִדַּת הַחֶסֶד וּבְמִדַּת הָרַחֲמִים. וּבְטוּבְךָ הַגָּדול יָשׁוּב חֲרון אַפְּךָ מֵעַמְּךָ וּמֵעִירְךָ וּמֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִנַּחֲלָתֶךָ. וְקַיֶּם לָנוּ ה' אֱלהֵינוּ אֶת הַדָּבָר שֶׁהִבְטַחְתָּנוּ בְּתורָתֶךָ עַל יְדֵי משֶׁה עַבְדֶּךָ כָּאָמוּר. וְזָכַרְתִּי אֶת בְּרִיתִי יַעֲקוב וְאַף אֶת בְּרִיתִי יִצְחָק וְאַף אֶת בְּרִיתִי אַבְרָהָם אֶזְכּר. וְהָאָרֶץ אֶזְכּר.
Master of the world! May it be Your will, Lord our God and God of our fathers, to remember in our favor the covenant of our fathers. Even as Abraham our father held back his compassion from his only son and desired to slay him in order to do Your will, so may Your mercy hold back Your anger from us; let Your compassion prevail over Your acts of retaliation. Be lenient with us, Lord our God, and deal with us kindly and mercifully. In Your great goodness, may Your fierce wrath turn away from Your people, Your city, Your land, and Your heritage. Fulfill, Lord our God, what You promised us through Moses Your servant, as it is said: “I will remember my covenant with Jacob; also my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.”