Yitzhaq Hayut-man

Yitzḥaq Ḥayut-Man – The Double Binding of the Children of Abraham

This was a regular feature on IsraelSeen by Dr. Yitzkak Hayut-Man. An innovator, futurist, visionary and Bible scholar. He is among the few that is courageous enough to allow the “open source” of the Torah-Bible to be presented in new and interesting ways for our greater understanding. Art by Phillip Ratner-Ratner Museum

Dr. Yitzkak Hayut-Man. An innovator, futurist, visionary and Bible scholar. He is among the few that is courageous enough to allow the “open source” of the Torah-Bible to be presented in new and interesting ways for our greater understanding. Art by Phillip Ratner-Ratner Museum




The beginning of the Hebrew year 5776 (2015-16 CE) witnessed a rare (once in 33 years) event – synchronization of the Hebrew-Jewish year and the Muslim year. On the 2 days of the New Hebrew year, Jews read two Torah sections, first about the sending away of Ishmael and second about the binding of Isaac. On the tenth of the month there were both the Jewish Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and the Muslim Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice, see below). The eid al-Adha commemorates the same two events – but with some differences from the Biblical version.

The Biblical story of the Binding of Isaac (Gen. 22) seems to fit modern Israeli fate. Both the Israeli and the Palestinian destinies and identities are tied together – and those identities are largely the manifestation of their different interpretations of the Aqedah and of Abraham. For both sides, the experience of the Ạqedah is their basic and formative experience.

Meanwhile, the Israelis and the Palestinians are actually bound together by the dilemma of peace and the Temple Mount. The latter issue prevents any possibility of a compromise agreement. There is no Israeli leader, even a most secular, who can declare handing the Temple Mount over to the Hamas[1]; and there is no Palestinian leader who can, as a representative of the Islamic world, agree to yield the place to the Jews. So most of us feel stuck – Ạqudim – with no future hope.

However, we shall show that the sacred texts may have a message of Joy, not of Gore. By integrating the ancient myth (which determines behavior) with modern technological innovation (which open new possibilities), we can fashion an optimistic Vision for Israel and it’s most sacred place – the Temple Mount.

I – The Aggadah of the Ạqedah

The Ramḥal[2] wrote[3] that the inner secrets of the Torah were transmitted to us through the medium of the Aggadah (Legendary interpretations of scriptures, also known as Midrash). – whereas in modern times, Herzl defined the Zionist Manifest as a legend whose motto is: “If you really will, this is not (just) a legend”, and we know that it has been realized – a nice paradox.

According to the Midrash,[4] Mount Moriah – the place that Isaac’s Aqedah is supposed to have taken place – had been the place of the formation of Adam (the prototype for all humankind). And, through history, the Temple Mount of Jerusalem got built at the same site. Jerusalem is a place of a universal meaning, that whatever happens there echoes from one end of the world to the other. Here started a (meta-historical) global process that is presented through the story of the Binding of Isaac (Yiẓḥaq). This process started with the (legendary?) walk of Abraham and Isaac towards Mount Moriah and through the centuries there joined the global march, alongside the figure of Isaac, also the figures of Jesus and of Mohammad, as protagonists of a story of Binding and of Ascent to heaven via Jerusalem. At their footsteps, Jerusalem became a place of pilgrimage and the expected staging ground for the apocalyptic visions of the three major Monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

In the legend of the Ạqedah, as it was understood by generations of Jewish interpreters and Midrash writers, the protagonist of the Ạqedah is Abraham. However, the story came to be called “Ạqedat Yiẓḥaq” – the Binding of Isaac – and for a reason. Most of those few Midrashim that dare to discuss the Ạqedah, regard Isaac who marches to the Ạqedah as a grown man, one who could carry the wood up the mount. So had Isaac wanted to – he could have stopped it. All the more so, since he was not commanded by God to cooperate. Why did Isaac agree to the Ạqedah? There is a secret to the Ạqedah, and it is related to the God-given name ‘Yiẓḥaq’ (will laugh) – or Yisḥaq (who will play).[5]

According to Midrash haZohar, Isaac (Yiẓḥaq) represents the quality of courage (Gevurah). This may seem strange, as Isaac appears to be passive, accepting the sacrifice and his later dealings with his wife. But Isaac’s courage is in the situation that he had put God in. Whereas God tested Abraham, Isaac tested God!

Isaac was not content, it would seem, with the promised inheritance of the concession over the connections with the supreme God (el Ẹlyon, YHWH). Isaac wanted to test the true value of this concession, even if by risking his own life: is this really the God that he shall want to represent to the world? Is this a God who cares about the individual? About him? Isaac wanted to see it in his own eyes.

The terse story of the Ạqedah is like a riddle.The story of the Ạqedah is found in the Torah in a portion called “vaYera” (namely, ‘appeared’ or ‘became seen’), a portion that deals much with miraculous vision and the miraculous prevention of sight. Yet the peak of this sight is not mentioned explicitly in the portion: the peak of sight is in what Yiẓḥaq saw when he was laid and bound to the altar, facing the sky and the knife. Furthermore, the protagonist of the Ạqedah is named “Yiẓḥaq” (will laugh) – a name given to him by God Himself, already before he was born. So we pose the question: Was there an element of laughter in the Ạqedah? (whereas it seems like a most tragic event?)

We face here a riddle that generations of interpreters generally avoided altogether, or contended with but achieved only partial success. We assume that their success was only partial because it was premature, because these interpreters lacked a component of the comprehensive solution of that riddle, one that only we can comprehend and apply – because of the technological development that humankind has reached.

“On the third day,[6] Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off” (22:4). Knowing the topography, we know that the Temple Mount itself cannot be seen from afar, because it is lower than the surrounded hills. So some Midrashim ask “What did he see” (and add that Isaac has seen the same). Rashi wrote: “he saw a cloud tethered to the mountain”. This answers the geographic question, but introduces another consideration – the tethered cloud.

The cloud is a repeating motif in the description of temples and sacred places in general. It will return to be described at the giving of the Torah “on the third day” (Exodus 19:16) and the dedication of the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:34) and of King Solomon’s Temple (I Kings 8:10-11). However, it is the nature of clouds that they pass and disappear. So what is a “tethered cloud”? Symbolically, tethering is the very point of the Binding (Ạqedah), tying to one place what would be carried by the winds. But nowadays, it is possible to make, with modern technologies “a cloud tethered to the mountain”.

Abraham and Isaac aimed for this stationary cloud and reached the stage for the event, namely Mount Moriah: Abraham, who was asked to “raise up in offering” (ha’ạlehu le’ọlah), was convinced that he should slaughter his son.[7] But this was an unnecessary interpretation that did not come to pass.[8]

First, Abraham prepared the altar and the wood of the burnt offering – “and Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Yiẓḥaq” (vaya’ạrokh et ha’ẹẓim vaya’ạqod et Yiẓḥaq). The laying in order (ạrikhah) suggests making an elaborate system (ma’ạrekhet). What was the system designed for? For Ọlah, for uplifting – for raising up of Isaac’s soul; whereas the word ‘Ạqedah’ (and not ‘slaughter’ or ‘sacrifice’) which determines the essence of the situation, means ‘connecting’. And this is a process that is happening nowadays all over the world, and couldn’t happen before: the entire humankind is getting bound and connected in a global network and this situation is likely to change the human condition radically.


II – the Ạqedah of Ishmael

A version of the Ạqedah is given in the Qur’an,[9] and it is quite different in detail from the Biblical account. In it, Abraham had a dream (or recurring dreams) about sacrificing his (only) son. He consulted the son, who regarded his father’s dream as a divine command and urged his father to sacrifice him. According to the Qur’anic commentaries, the act was performed at the valley of Mecca,[10] rather than at the place of the future Jerusalem.

On the whole, the Qur’an version does not include the dramatic features of the Biblical version. It mentions being tied with the forehead down to the ground. Perhaps most significantly, the Qur’an does not specify who the son that was offered for sacrifice was. Was it Ishmael or was it Isaac? This became a point of debate within early Islam – and between Islam and Judaism as well as Christianity[11]. Over the years there formed a no-longer-questioned conviction that the offered son was Ishmael – the legendary forefather of the Arabs, and thus of Islam.

In the religious practice of Islam, the most important holy day is Eid al-Adha – namely “The Festival of the Sacrifice”. It is celebrated world-wide, but has especial relation to Mecca and to both the stories of the casting of Hagar and Ishmael and of the sacrifice of Ishmael.

This (re)location of the sacrificial act to Mecca, rather than Jerusalem, might have prevented the likely conflict of Islam with Judaism, and also with Christianity, over Jerusalem. However, Jerusalem has become the very bone of contention, because of another arguable sura,  al-Isra (sura 17), or “the Night Journey”, which mentions that Mohammad was transported to “the furthest Mosque” – El-Aqsa. Actually, the Qur’an does not say that this Al-Aqsa was in Jerusalem. Past commentators, and even some contemporary Shi’a teachers, say that this Al-Aqsa is in heaven. But nowadays it is taken for granted that Mohammad flew to heaven by first physically flying (on the Buraq) to the Mosque in Jerusalem (though no Mosque existed there at the time) – and from Jerusalem’s holy rock, he ascended to the seven heavens (the Muslims even show his footprints on the rock). Therefore, belief of this legendary event made it axiomatic for Muslims that Jerusalem is a sacred Islamic site (in which Jews and Christians should have no part).

It might be considered insane that here are two religions competing, which would make greater human sacrifices, and this got the two mutually entangled. How can they be set free?

Significantly, a Muslim Aggadah about the Ascent of Mohammad indicates that the Ascent was preceded by opening his body and cleaning his heart and innards. This seems a necessary preparation and something akin to it may be done with the participant-pilgrims (discussed later). Likewise, only several centuries after the building of the Dome of the Rock, which is not El-Aqsa (though most people make that mistake) there appeared the explanation that the Dome of the Rock was erected to commemorate Muhammad’s Ascent through the heavens.

It is amazing (and funny!) how the Dome of the Rock exhibits our common binding (Aqedah hadadit) – but in a situation of “back to back”, namely by avoidance and estrange from each other. The Muslims demonstrate with banners of the Dome of the Rock, but when they pray towards Mecca, they turn their butts to it – whereas many Jews regard it as the temple of “the Other Side”, or “the abomination of desolation” (Daniel 12:11) that has invaded the sacred mountain and should be removed


III – Isaac’s Vision – from Slaughter to Laughter:

As we have mentioned before, the name of the Torah portion that contains the story of the Ạqedah is “vaYera”, which means “was (or rather, would be) seen”, and refers to special, even divine, Vision (re’iyah) – yet it also mean Awe (yir’ah). And this great Awe (Mora) of Moriah – Isaac seeing his own father’s knife reaching for his throat – could very likely bring Isaac to a state of out-of-body-vision”, and the Midrashim treat it this way: “his over-soul (Neshamah) flew” – (‘parḥah nishmato’) in the language of the Midrash.[12]

Here is a scenario of what might have happened, what the Neshamah experienced, as rendered in First Person.

Call me Yitzḥaq, the one who shall have the final laugh.

While I was tethered there, my eyes were riveted to the knife held by my father Abraham (peace be on him). When the knife passed most of its way to my throat, when it got so close I could hardly see it, tied face up as I was – then the blazing sunlight reflected in the knife.

A stupendous wave of Light shone, and when it subsided, the hand that held the knife seemed to have frozen, and time just ceased – and I could see simultaneously the many situations likely to take place at this spot, past present and future. I am just a soul having an out-of-the-body experience, but I felt I Am. I Am an Eternal Soul (Neshamah) that can hover about the place at will and pass through any wall. In that state, I could observe simultaneously what was, and apparently, what was going to happen, right around the place where I had been tethered.

I focused to see how, on the place that I had been tied to, there were built a series of sacred edifices ‘built and destroyed and built’[13] – including what apparently stands there longest (for over 1300 years of your time) – a Domed shrine.[14]


But first I could sense the smoke and the bloodshed, just as if it were my blood and vaporized flesh. I saw that there was a small Temple built around this spot, and many animals were slaughtered there, with the blood spilled at the inner court. Then it was destroyed (410 years later in out count).

And kind of sideways in time, what you’d call seventy years later, another Temple got gradually erected, till it reached great glory a few decades before it was destroyed by foreign conquerors (some 600 years of your measure). There too I could smell a great bloodshed outside, thousands of animals being sacrificed and their smoke rising. And in some way, I could figure that all those animals were sacrificed in my stead. Funny, I thought, that God – who stopped it just before my own blood be spilled – made do with so many substitutes.

I saw how that Second Temple got destroyed by blood and fire, and the Temple Mount was left in desolation for a long while (time-space of some 620 years). But then (in mere time-space of seven years), an exquisite shrine capped with a golden dome got erected right around the rock that I had been tethered upon – and it seemed to stand there forever and ever.

I lingered by this shrine, glad not to find in it blood and no other smoke but incense. But at a certain junction I heard terrible shrieks from the city up the hill, and flying there I saw soldiers led by riders wearing white robes with a red cross on their chest, and they were slaughtering every inhabitant and blood was running like water in the streets of Jerusalem.

Then, on returning to the shrine on the Temple Mount, which was still standing there, I saw that soon after that conquest, some banners were added, with a picture of a man nailed to a wooden cross – so much like I myself had been tethered to the firewood of the altar. And I saw those knights with white robes and red crosses, entering the place ceremonially and conducting secretly some rites that seemed aimed to effect a resurrection of sorts, trying to get the guy to step off the cross.

I oriented myself to re-enter that shrine, but at the furthest stage in what you’d call the future that I could sense. After adventures in those old crooked alleys, I came to one of the four outer gates of that octagonal shrine with a golden dome, which surrounds that rock that had been my altar. I entered that shrine, and saw that it was of barely describable splendor, its marble columns and marble covered walls, all inlaid in marble and shinning mosaics with vegetal forms that made me wonder whether I have entered the earthly paradise – whereas the exquisite pattern, way above the inner circle on the soffit of the dome, suggested heaven.

But I was not alone, there were scores of pilgrims trying to gain entry, having already passed a whole program of trials in the city and on the Temple Mount. They came with relics they found by the city walls – bones and “SoulBalls” of certain “Generations of Abraham” (49 types altogether), which we were going to try and resurrect, and forgotten prophecies to assemble and revive. Having no time limits, I tried it again and again with various groups and their finds, trying to discover if I had sons – which means that I have not died – and if so, how many.

As we entered into the shrine, we saw there marble pillars making two ring-shaped inner shrines, one within the other, and an innermost circle round the rock that my body had been tethered to. In the outer ring, we faced a great wind, like a hurricane that blows us out, while we strive to roll into the quite inner ring. That ring had eight swellings in it, where eight round Tables stood. The shrine was like a Casino, with adorned gaming tables. And there we were, playing interactive conversational games that create mutual understandings and novel realizations among the players.

We got seated, a dozen at each table, bringing in the remnants of the so-called “Children of Abraham”, some down three or four generations. Eventually, and with growing joy and laughter that, I found that, in those games at least, I had two sons, 17 grand children, and ten grand-grand children – which clearly demonstrated that I could not have died there – what lots of light and joy. And to my surprise, in addition to the scions of me and of Ishmael – somehow, our ancient father apparently managed to beget six more children!

So we all set there, inside that domed shrine, to re-member and assemble something whole from those dry bones and soul balls. Like eight operating tables, where each member of a team of a dozen has a turn to have an open heart and stomach operation on his relics, so they can be tied and joined together and then be cleaned and cleared to receive a robe of light and hover up to the shrines of the Heavenly Jerusalem.

And so I saw that the rite of the qedah (binding), known by my name, would be perpetuated – though in new ways. I saw how my sons and Ishmael’s sons (and those six others) are tied to each other through that enduring shrine of the Dome of the Rock.

And I saw that up in the air over the Temple Mount, there is a singular cloud inside several transparent huge balloons, much in the form of the Earthly Dome, all tethered to the mountain. So it seems that I can also see the result: The cloud that I saw at first tethered to the mountain, and which later disappeared, has returned to dwell over the sacred mountain of Jerusalem, designed and perfected, kept inside half a dozen great transparent balloons – and inside that “cloud tethered to the mountain” there started to shine our Games results, in the form of stupendous lights spectacles, “a Temple of Lights” in the skies.[15] Whenever we here come to a novel understanding, some lights turn on, and seem to go up into that cloud and its light show. As these points of light multiply, they make the cloud luminous.

And when I, Isaac, realized that this entire amazing spectacle must have been inspired by my own Ạqedah – my mouth filled with laughter. With all these “Children of Abraham” revived, surely then, that I did not die at the Ạqedah.

And then I wondered – How many are the members of our family then? Are they indeed as numerous, as uncountable, as the stars or the dust of the earth – as God promised my father Abraham? And are these two numbers, of dust and of the stars, compatible at all?

And I thought – Now I can find out, for myself, because I can do it now! Let me fly through all the heavens and see.

And Wow! Indeed! I was taken up through space, vast beyond any measure, and I saw that there are stars all the way to Infinity, countless immense clusters of stars, each containing countless stars – And yet, I felt, they are all ONE (EaD) and so AM I, I am one with the Stupendous One that I were sensing.

And this amazing vision can turn inside as well! I did so, and I could see that I myself am a giant assembly of the tiniest bits, Atoms, and they are indeed as numerous as stars and as that dust of the earth. And a funny notion came over me – perhaps the dust of the earth was actually stardust?

And then I sensed that all those countless stars are held together by a force of attraction – held by the LOVE (AHaVaH) of the Creator. All Existence (HaVaYaH -26) is this ONE LOVE

I M in God, I am of God (ELoHIM), I am God! How outrageous of me – but there is no longer any “Me” to bother about, I am Yitzhaq, and I Am of all there is, the part that laughs at the cosmic joke.

And I sensed that the universe, Being, HaWaYaH, is not something already created. It is always becoming, refining, developing and adding dimensions, and everything is constantly and joyfully recreated, and this is the true Eden, that is embedded in everything that exists, it is the revelation of Joy most supreme.

And I laughed, and I laugh now, and shall no doubt laugh at the end.


IV – the Vision of Ishmael (to be added sometime)



V – Realizing the Vision?

What is the basis of that vision, what can make it live and real? The objective can be summed as: Turning the gruesome story of the Aqedah into Fun and Games of Healing and Unbinding, of extricating the Double Bind of Israelis and Palestinians, our trapping state that is escalating violence.

It is the unique issue of the Temple Mount that makes a literal “Double Binding” of Israelis and Palestinians. What is proposed here is the way to circumvent the impasse – first make additional Jerusalems with Temple Mounts in Virtual Reality (VR), which would serve a whole system of simulation games of reconciliation among all the parties. The virtual realization can be freely developed right now. It cannot be prevented for political and security reasons.

Yet even a virtual demo could raise much resistance if it advocates change of the current situation of the Temple Mount and destruction or removal of the Dome of the Rock – which the Muslims generally believe (erroneously), that it is the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and are incited that the Jews want to destroy it. So it is very important to pose the Dome of the Rock as the core and focus of the Games, and the Portal of souls to ascend to the Heavenly Mansions. It is also proposed to call those games “The HAJ Games”, a respected Arabic word and acronym for the “Heavenly Aligned Jerusalem Games”.

The Heavenly Mansions/Temple:

The ultimate Temple – according to Midrash Raba and Rashi[16] – will not be of solid heavy masonry, but shall appear as if by pressing a button, “built and complete from heaven”, made of fire or lights.[17] This is actually a stupendous lights show. Thus the future Temple that Ezekiel describes (chapters 40-45) is explained in Ramḥal’s book Mishkene Ẹlyon, as a temple of lights: something like a hologram, which in this context can be projected upon the cloud that is tied over the Temple Mount.[18]

The out-of-the-Body Ascension:

In the past, out-of-body experiences were connected with mystical or shamanic rites, or occurred during accidents. As for “the flight of the oversoul” (Neshamah) over the Temple Mount – there are such accounts extant, both from the “Descent of the Merkabah” mystics,[19] who ascended to the firmaments and heavenly shrines through Jerusalem, and from stories of the Prophet Mohammad (which are the origin of the Islamic clinging to Jerusalem, see 2nd chapter). Those past out-of-body experiences remained the capacity of a small minority. But at present, in an era of multimedia, virtual reality and computer games, about any person may observe himself – and any other object – from outside (namely “objectively”) and hover over the limitations of space[20] and time and behold simultaneously the past and future. Thus this games system should attract many participants, of all perspectives and religions who want to experience something like what Isaac and Jesus and Muhammad, among others, had experienced.

Playing Games of Rectification, purification and Ascension

As noted, the God-given name “Yiẓḥaq” (Isaac) has to do with future laughter and with games, and thus the vision is of future games at the Ạqedah site in Jerusalem.

The vision includes also players coming to understand the tensions and confrontations between the Children of Abraham and attempting to correct the Past (“re-biographing”[21]). The purification and Ascent of Muhammad can become a model for the games stages performed by the participants at the Assembly/Operating tables at (the simulated) Dome of the Rock to purify and renew their “spiritual Heart and Liver” (Ru’aḥ and Nefesh – Ego & Id in psychoanalytic terms). Participants are “opened up”, one at a turn, to wash their hearts and livers from the stains of missed opportunities of making peace inside each one and among them.

The history, and architecture, of Jerusalem give great opportunities for war games. The HAJ games would include such scenes – but also historical dramas[22] and for operations of reconciliation and mutual understandings of different perspectives by playing dialogical games that construct mutual understandings and novel realizations. The interactions of the actors would range between modes of conversations, debates, confrontations, destruction, and even blowing-up of the dome of the Rock, followed by global Jihad. But these are games, and the virtual destruction can be cancelled, returning a step back, or to the beginning of the game. No death, no detachment of the soul endures. Players may choose the mode of Resurrection Games, and the Assembly Round Tables would facilitate the assembly of the tokens of bones and pieces of flesh into a living whole.

The use of the games facilitates changes of viewpoint, a new generation that grew up with these games ceased to be bound by the old definitions of “us and them”. Jews will no longer assume as self evident that the Dome of the Rock is a foreign element that must be removed, sooner or later, in order to clear the place for the Jewish Temple, and Muslims cease to regard the Jewish yearning for the Temple as a threat to El-Aqsa. There shall form a new international interfaith community of the proponents of a Temple for All Nations at the Jerusalem Temple Mount, for which the Dome of the Rock is the core and corner stone.

This way, Israeli players may find themselves enacting the roles of the ancient Philistines, or of the early church Fathers; Palestinians – roles of Jews or of Crusaders; Americans may get in the shoes of conquering Iranians, and the Iranians – in the shoes of the Turks. Each one of the participants in these massively multi-person Role-playing games (MMRPG) would be able to experience “reincarnations” and roles that may relieve of one’s obligation to the former narrative of his people, sect or religion. Each one of possibly millions of participants may meet – on the way to meet her God at the mountain, at the place appointed long before – that “Other” that one needs to contend with.


VI – Sources for further study:

Even-Yisrael (steinsalz) Adin. Neshamah (the Oversoul), 2015 (in Hebrew).

Girard, René: Violence and the Sacred. Translated by Patrick Gregory. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977. ISBN 0-8018-2218-1. Book Deals with the “Scapegoat Mechanism” concept (originated by Kenneth Burke).

Girard, René: The Scapegoat. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986

Idel, Moshe: Ascensions on High in Jewish Mysticism: Pillars, Lines, Ladders. Central European University Press, 2005.

Lippman Bodoff: “The binding of Isaac – Religious Murder and Kabbalah. The Seeds of Jewish Extremism and Alienation?”. Dvora Publishing, NY & Jerusalem, 2005

Luzzatto Rabbi moshe chaim (Ramḥal): Mishkeney Elyon; translated by Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum. The Ramhal interpretation of Ezekiel’s vision of the Temple: http://www.nazarenemedia.net/uploads/8/1/0/5/8105580/rabbi_moshe_chaim_luzzatto_-_secrets.pdf.

Monroe Robert: Journeys Out of the Body, 1971. ISBN 0-385-00861-9. The Monroe Institute has been training myriad people for decades in inducing OBI.


Rotenberg, Mordechai: Rewriting the Self: Psychotherapy and Midrash. Transaction Publishers, 2004


Appendix – the Double-Bind Paradigm.

The article did not elaborate (so far?) on a theme that seems very suggestive – Gregory Bateson’s “Double Bind Theory” as producer of schizophrenia and its possible untying through humor. So here are just a few notes to start one on.

Humor, Joining and Reframing in Psychotherapy: Resolving the Auto-Double-Bind. The American Journal of Family Therapy, Volume 41, Issue 5, 2013. (At www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/01926187.2012.755393?redirect=1#.VgPB_TYVi70)

This article describes how the combination of reframing and joining creates an inherent auto-double-bind within the psychotherapeutic process. Reframing is one of the most frequently used tools in family therapy, and it cannot be used without joining. “Joining” is an essential way of creating therapeutic alliance, which has been acknowledged to be the most important common factor for the outcome of psychotherapy. The article demonstrates how the use of humor allows the therapist to resolve this particular double-bind, using both verbal and contradictory nonverbal communication to join and simultaneously reframe the clients’ views of the world.

(1) The individual is involved in an intense relationship; that is, a relationship in which he feels it is vitally important that he discriminate accurately what sort of message is being communicated so that he may respond appropriately.

(2) And, the individual is caught in a situation in which the other person in the relationship is expressing two orders of message and one these denies the other.

(3) And, the individual is unable to comment on the message being expressed to correct his discrimination of what order of message to respond to, i.e., he cannot make a meta-communicative statement.


[1] The acronym of ‘Hamas’ happens also to form a Hebrew word meaning ‘evil-doing’.
[2] The eminent mystic Rabbi Moshe Ḥayim Luzzato (1707-1746)
[3] In his introduction to Midrah Raba
[4] Tana dbei Eliyahu Zuta chapter 2.
[5] This spelling appears at Jer. 33:26 and Amos 7:16.
[6] Combining myth and history, the Talmudic Midrashim equate a Day of the Lord with a thousand years (based on Psalm 90:4; Sanhedrin 97a) and the history of building the first Israelite temple at King Solomon’s time, we are now towards the conclusion of “the three-day Journey” to the Temple mount.
[7] Like King Mesha of Moab, who “took his first-born son… and offered him up on the wall – vaya’ạlehu Ọlah – II Kings 4:27).
[8] A similar situation was with the prophet Jonah who was ordered to declare that “another forty days, and Nineveh shall be overturned (nehepekhet)”. Jonah was sure that it concerns physical destruction (as in the case of Sodom), but the intention and the result were of moral turning. In the case of Abraham, he was ordered to help the spiritual ascent of Isaac.
[9] (Abraham prayed) “O my Lord! Grant me a righteous (son)!”. So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear. Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: “O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what thy view is!” (The son) said: “O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me, if Allah so wills one practicing Patience and Constancy!” So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice). We called out to him “O Abraham! “Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!” – Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial – And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice: And We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times: “Peace and salutation to Abraham!”. Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For he was one of our believing Servants. And We gave him the good news of Isaac – a prophet – one of the Righteous. (sura 37 {As-Saaffat}, ayat 100–112).
[10]  To where, according to the Qur’an, Hagar and her baby Ishmael were earlier banished by Abraham.
[11] In this interfaith debate, Muslim protagonists point that even in Hebrew version, before spelling the name of Yitzhaq, God tells Abraham to take “your only son”, which would apply to the firstborn.
[12]  As found in Pirke deRabbi Eliezer 30 and Yalqut shim’oni.
[13] About “built and destroyed and built” according to the Midrash, see Bereshit Raba  65:23.
[14] Until the nationalist conflicts erupted, Zionist versus Palestinian, both groups have used the Dome of the Rock as their symbol. Historic research reveals that the original builders of the Dome of the Rock regarded it as the renovation of the Temple of Solomon, and that the first who served and burnt incense in it were Jews who were brought there by the Caliph especially for this purpose. Also during the Crusades, the Knights Templar (who owned the Temple Mount at the time) did not regard it as a Muslim edifice, but as the Shrine of Jesus (and al-Aqsa shrine as the Temple of Solomon). And in medieval Jewish literature, and until the 20th century, the image Dome of the Rock was the symbol for Solomon Temple.
[15]  There are several appropriate forms, even with an image like an image of a man over the throne of the Dome of the Rock, with feet on the ground and the head in the cloud.Current work explores the form of the heavenly shrines (Heikhalot) in the Zohar.
[16] About a Temple of Light coming from heaven, see Tosafot for Succah 41a and Rashi about it; Genesis Raba 2:5 and 56:10.
[17]  The fire/light element appears also in the Vision of the Heavenly Chariot of the prophet Ezekiel: “a great cloud, and a fire flaring up, and brightness were about it, and out of the midst of it, as it were the color(s) of electrum, out of the midst of the fire. Also out of the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures…  As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like coals of fire, burning like the appearance of torches; it flashed up and down among the living creatures, and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightening…  And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw something like the color of electrum, like the appearance of fire round about enclosing it, from what appeared to be his loins downward, I saw what appeared to be fire, and there was a brightness round about him. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the Glory of the Lord” (Ezekiel 1:4-28).
[18]  Sefer Yetzirah, the mystical Jewish text that tradition attributes to Abraham, refers to a holy shrine situated at the middle of the five-dimensional world of space, time and soul. Professor Yehuda Libes suggests that it refers to the temple on the Temple Mount, and I derive this insight from the architectural plan of the Dome of the Rock shrine.
[19]  See Idel, Ascension on high in Jewish Mysticism. Central European Uni Press. 2005.
[20] See Monroe, journeys out of the body. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group; Updated edition 1998
[21] See Rotenberg, Mordechai: rewriting the self, Psychology and Midrash. Transaction Publishers, 2004
[22] Something of the kind (but limited to Christian story of only one historic year) is the Brazilian “Nova Jerusalem Theater” of stationary massive settings, with area of about 12% of the Old City of Jerusalem.
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