Both Avraham and Yitzchak the Midrash (Rabbah 56:4) relates were confronted by Sma’el. The angel offered arguments to each challenging the logic of G-D commanding Avraham our Father A’H to bring his son upon a sacrificial altar (Bereshith 22:2).
The arguments were not spurious Avraham was challenged with “How can you slaughter the son [G-D] gave at the age of 100?” Avraham answered “Even so!” A further argument was made that the day after Avraham performed the ritual he would be liable for murder Avraham remained unfazed and replied “Even so”
Yitzchak was asked to consider what his death would mean to his mother and how could he put through such pain/ Yitzchak like his father responded “Even so’
Neither father or son succumbed to these seemingly compelling considerations. Both rejected Sama’el ‘s arguments out of hand, no discussion, no debate, no delay nothing to give the slightest hint that Father and Son waivered an iota in their resolve.
Yet when Avraham entered the Land of Israel on G-D’s command and because of famine he left to Egypt at test of Faith. Would Avraham accept a providentially placed obstacle as being a test of faith ? To remain faithful when things do not go as planned and not second guess G-D (see Bereshith 12:10 Rashi ad loc).
The famine compelled Avraham to leave the Promised Land for Egypt, yet compelling arguments well rotted in common sense and logic leave Avraham and Yitzchak unmoved. Why would it be appropriate for Avraham to leave Eretz Yisrael but wrong and indeed faithless for him to waiver en route to the Binding of Yitzchak.
Both responses are based on Avraham possessing a persistent unwavering faith. Yet, there is a subtle but fundamental difference. Is the obstacle external or internal? When Avraham encountered famine he recognized it was an external event calling upon Avraham to accept whatever G-D decrees for him to experience. Whereas on the way to the binding of Yitzchak Sma’el’s comments were internal. As the Yafet To’ar ZT’L ZY’A on the Medrash comments that these barbs were calculated to forester doubt. Could that really be what G-D intended? To sacrifice the child Avraham waited and prayed for so many years ? Could that really be what G-D commanded? Avraham knew clearly what G-D had commanded, there was not doubt of the D-vine prophetic nature of the command so Sama’el’s questions are dismissed out of hand.
G-D seeing Avraham unflinchingly bringing Yitzchak to Mt. Moriah as a sacrifice declared “ . . .Now I know that you are one who fears G-D . . . .” (Bereshith 22:12) Truly as Rashi (22:12) notes there were several contrary commands still Avraham did not waiver in his fidelity to follow and fulfill G-D’s will. It is fascinating that the supreme test of faith lies in overcoming gnawing doubt.
The Rosh HaYeshiva, Alter Henoch Liebowitz ZT’L ZY’A points out based on the Yafet To’ar how Avraham did not engage in any discussion, debate or disputation with Sma’el. To engage in dialogue would have an unintended consequence, the need to refute Sma’el’s statements would be an acknowledgement they were comments worthy of consideration. Avraham understood as a person of faith what was summoned as a challenge to his D-vine orders was false to the point of being dismissible without discussion.
Maybe more than the ability to bring his son as a sacrifice is Avraham not being persuaded by rational and reasoned argument especially when these challenges undermine what one knows as undeniably true.