It says in Bereishis 22:12, “And He said, ‘Do not stretch out your hand toward the lad, nor are you to do anything to him, for now I know that you fear Hashem, and you did not withhold your son, your only one, from Me.’” We know that throughout Avraham Avinu’s life, doing the will of Hashem was his guiding light. Whatever Hashem asked Avraham Avinu to do was done.
The question is why was it until now that it became clear that Avraham did the Mitzvos out of love and fear of Hashem?
The Vilna Gaon answers that for a person to be considered to have absolute Yiras Hashem he must subjugate himself completely before Hashem, to dedicate all his talents, hopes and desires before the Will of Hashem. Throughout the life of Avraham, he had never experienced fundamental conflict between his own inclinations and the Mitzvos of Hashem. We all know that Avraham Avinu was a profoundly good person with his hospitality, charity, and outreach in the name of Hashem and was in perfect harmony.
HaRav Meshulam Dovid Soloveitchik Shlita gives another explanation for the word “ממני.” He explains that when Hashem commands a person to do a certain Mitzvah then that very Mitzvah becomes infinitely more difficult to accomplish. The reason being is that when it comes to doing Mitzvos instantly a fierce adversary appears, the Yetzer Hara. This very principle rings true whether it is regarding sacrificing your own life or the life of your very own child. Per Rav Dovid, the trial of the Akeidah was immeasurably more difficult because Avraham was sacrificing Yitzchak to Hashem in compliance with His command. Therefore, this is the very reason that Hashem declared ‘Now I know that you are Hashem fearing Man, since you have not withheld your only son from Me.” The factor of “from Me” is what proved to Hashem extraordinary, unequivocal fear of Hashem beyond all doubt.
We also know that the Akeidah represents the opposite of Avraham’s entire being was for it was an act of cruelty. Nevertheless, Avraham suppressed this and occupied himself by setting about fulfilling the word of Hashem. The Akeidah was greatest test of them all for it shows how Avraham and Yitzchok were willing to act just to fulfill Hashem’s command. It was here that Hashem realized that everything that Avraham had done was in the Honor of Serving Hashem with total Ahavah and fear of Hashem.
The Akeidah has become a symbol of how far one should go to do the Mitzvos of Hashem. We should be willing to sacrifice ourselves just to do the Mitzvos of Hashem and it does not matter what that sacrifice is, whether it is financially, your health, and even your life.
The question now is how far are we willing to go to bring about a full sense of Achdus to all Klal Yisroel? What sacrifices are you willing to make and how far are you willing to go? These are the questions we should be asking ourselves in how we could make a difference in anyone in Klal Yisroel’s lives. If Avraham was willing to sacrifice his son Yitzchok to Hashem to show the Ahavah and Yirah to Hashem, we should be doing the same for God’s children, willing to go to great lengths to bring about Shalom to Klal Yisroel. With all of us willing to make such a sacrifice of ourselves for the sake of another member of Klal Yisroel, we should also remember what Avraham and Yitzchok have done for the Honor of Hashem and we should learn from them. Then Hashem will know that we just did our own Akeidah in the honor of Him and with that Hashem can finally bring about the Final Geulah.