~ To understand how the Zohar sees the entire episode, here are a few points of introduction:
1. The Zohar sees all the patriarchs and matriarchs as representative of the sefirot, ie, the emanations through which God relates to the world. Those emanations are connected to certain emotions in human beings.
2. The Zohar does not see this just as a story, but as a narrative that symbolizes the entire future of the Jewish people.
3. The names of God are also connected to aspects. For our discussion, suffices to know that E-lohim is connected to judgment; Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey is connected to compassion.
4. To follow any of these texts, it is important to know the Torah text very well, as the connections between stories and descriptions might be unexpected.
~ The most important piece for our discussion is the tension between the sefirah of HESED (aka GEDULAH, symbolized by Avraham, the lack of boundaries and expansion) and the sefirah of GEVURAH (aka DIN, symbolized by Yitzchak, boundaries and constriction). It is that tension that the Zohar sees playing out in the Akedah; particularly given the fact that the narrative is read on Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgment, in which we are hoping to have our sins forgiven, which can only happen through compassion.
Shaarei Orah, below, is an introduction to the thought of Kabbalah in general. It was written by Rabbi Yosef Gikatilla, in Middle-Age Spain (c.1260 - c.1300 CE).
~ What, according to this piece, is the function of the test?
~ How is the Zohar responding to the idea of comparing Avraham and Yov?
~ What exactly is this piece's idea on what was Avraham's action that brought the merit?
~ Why did the children of Israel need that merit?
~ The Zohar presents a vision of self-containment, and the mastering of emotions. What are the basic forces that the Zohar sees present in humans? How does it "personalize" each one?
~ Let's not worry about the question of reincarnation for now. How does this source see the connection between the Binding and Creation?
~ How are the events of the Akedah reinterpreted by Rabbi Chiya?
~ Why Yitzchak's name not doubled, according to this piece?
~ Why is Avraham's name doubled?