The Deer/Ram As A Metaphor

What is real and what is the reality?

Why does the Bible tell us the story of Isaac binding? Does the Bible support children’s sacrifice? And what does the ram symbolizes in this act? Because Abraham saw the ram only after he was willing to slaughter his son.

To answer those questions let us look into the Hebrew letters:

Son in Hebrew is בן (ben) which comes from the noun הבנה which is understanding. So in an abstract thinking “sons” symbolize “the understandings” that someone has about the world. And the request to sacrifice the “son” means to be willing “to slaughter our understanding about the world” because what we think about the world it is not the real thing.

The shifting point in this story is the appearance of the ram. Ram in Hebrew is איל Ayil. The value of the word איל is 41 and with the binding power of the one is 42.

What does the number 42 symbolize?

To answer this question, let’s return to the origin:
The origin is one and expands to the four letters of the Tetragrammaton יהוה.

From this basic form of four letters “the name” can grow to a form which consists of ten letters: יוד, הי, ויו, הי

But from the form of ten letters “the name” can extend to a name which consists of 28 letters like this: יוד, ויו, דלת,  הי, יוד,  ויו, יוד, ויו  הי, יוד

Now 4 letters plus 8 letters plus 28 letters = 42 letters

So the ram that Abraham saw symbolizes the expansion of the simple name יהוה into 42 elements or 42 letters. In other words by letting Abraham noticed the ram the message was simple: “What stands behind the ram is the concept of the one”.

From the book Great in Heavens by Rabbi Moshe Haim Luzzato אדיר במרום עמוד רכ”ה


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About Eti Shani

Eti Shani was born in Israel and has been teaching Hebrew for more than 10 years with a special focus on Hebrew/Aramaic scriptures, mythology and symbolism.
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