ABRAHAM DEPARTING FROM NOAH
After the Fall of the Tower of Babel, the people dispersed all over Earth,
speaking different languages, having no more a sense of brotherhood.
The new leaders tried to emulate King Nimrod and build their own
social tower of dictatorship where few elites at the top control many
subordinates and masses of people underneath them.
But whereas Nimrod’s Tower and his social hierarchy
were based on voluntary work of young people
attracted on their own to join the common project, like at the
pyramids, the new leaders based their power on oppressive arm force,
first oppressing their own people then invading other nations to
conquer their territories, capture their inhabitants for
slavery and laving heavy taxes on the subdued nations.
During the ten generations between Noah and Abraham,
a new way of accumulating wealth was introduced to the world
by Empires. Unlike in Noah’s time, where THEFT was done along BLOODSHED by street’s gangues, in Abraham’s time it was conducted by armies and states, as ORGENIZED THEFT.
Other Commandments were also violated in a larger scale then even before. Thus,
IDOLATRY flourished, with so many idols worshipped;
ADULTERY and RAPE were done on a large scale by invading armies,
BLOODSHED was done on a larger scale than ever before by WARS.
THEFT and INJUSTICE became the way of the era’s politics,
SLAVERY was instituted, as a base of the new economy.
That was the face of the human society when Abraham was born. Humanity sank into the depth of moral decay, unknown before.
Then, ten generations after the Flood, Abraham was born. Since ten generations had also separate Noah from Adam, it seems that G-d sent down the precious soul of Abraham to save humanity from extinction, in the same wat He had sent the precious soul of Noah to save Mankind from extinction.
So deep was the depth of the moral decay in Abraham’s generation, so deeply did the wagon of humanity sink into the mud, that only a strong horse could lift it up – stronger than all other horses around. What then was the strength of Abraham compared to Noah?
What was special about Abraham? How did he differ from Noah?
In fact, the Torah presents Abraham in a dry, factual way. His original name was Abram. He was born to Terach, a descendant of Shem, his wife Sarai and barren, his uncle’s name was Haran, and his nephew was Lot. They all lived in Ur Kasdim, a city near Babylon whose ruins are seen today.
At one point, the Torah does not say when or why, Terach took his family to go to the Land of Canaan. Being idol worshippers, they had no religious goal. They exited Ur , yet on the way they settled in Haran, a district in Syria.
So far, the text does not mention any special merit of Abraham.
When his father Terach passed away, YHVH appeared to him, also without any given reason. YHVH told Abraham:
“Go for Yourself from your country, from your birthplace,
and from your father’ house, to the Land that I will show you.
And I will make you a great nation
I will bless you, and make your name great
And you shall be a blessing
I will bless those who bless you
And I will curse those who curse you
And all the families of the Earth shall bless themselves by you (12: 1-3)
Why did YHVH appear to him without given reason? Asks RaMBaN. His answer: the very fact that he heard YHVH, was his merit.
The Sefat Emeth explains:
The truth is that YHVH called every person in Abraham generation to go to wherever YHVH would show him. That call is still voiced today. Yet only Abraham heard the call and followed it. Hence, YHVH called Abraham. by default, since he was the only one who heart it.
The SE now asks: Why then was Abram the only one who heard that call? The answer: Because he had already discovered YHVH and believed in His Oneness. He was ahead of his generation. And he had already engaged in teaching the faith to his community. That merit rendered him sensitive to hear YHVH’s call.
The Midrash fills the gap about Abraham’s history
In his youth, Abraham discovered YHVH on his own. He noticed how beautiful and full of Wisdom is our world. He said: this world is built like a smart castle, hence it must have an architect who designed it and built it – a CREATOR.
At first, Abraham did not know the proper name of the CREATOR. But at the age of 58, Abraham met Noah who bereaved him on the details of his faith. He told Abraham about –
*The Merciful Attribute YHVH and the All-Mighty Judge ELKM,
*About the Six Days, and the Garden of Eden,
* About the forming of Adam and Eve, the primordial Sin, how Mankind was driven out to live on Earth – only to purify ourselves by the Commandments and regain the status of Adam and Eve before the Sin.
Noah also told him about the Sabbath Day to Come, and our weekly Sabbath, about Cain and Abel, how Mankind deteriorated along all the Commandments, particularly violating BLOODSHED, about the Flood and the Rainbow Covenant, and about Nimrod and the Tower of Babel.
Abraham then became a prophet- teacher for Noahides – meaning to his entire generation. At first, he taught the faith to his close family, then to his neighbors then to the general public – a crime punishable by death. The local king – also named Nimrod – sentenced Abraham and his uncle Haran to be burnt alive in an oven – the meaning of Ur. Abram was miraculously saved, but his uncle died. Thereafter the family had to leave Ur. Tearch planned to go to Canaan, but they settled in Haran.
Hence Abraham was the first martyr for Noahides. That virtue, being a martyr, a lover for YHVH by his life, says Sefa Emeth (SE), rendered his heart sensitive to hear YHVH’s call: GO FOR YOURSELF TO THE LAND THAT I SHALL SHOW YOU. Hearing the call was a reward for his martyrdom.
You can’t hear YHVH’s voice, unless you are already a believer in Her, and unless you’ve already given your life for Her in utmost love.
From here, says SE, we learn that all Mankind is expected to know YHVH, ELKM, and the concept of Oneness. As Moses would say to Israel:
“YHVH, is our ELKM, YHVH is One.” YHVH is our G-d now, but in the future all nations would come to know YHVH and His oneness.
Hence it is not true that Gentiles are not expected to believe in Oneness.
Continues SE: Abraham thought to continue his teaching to all peoples,since he knew that Mankind challenge is to purify ourselves faith, correct Adam’s Sin so that All Mankind would proceed to the Sabbath as if from Eden.
But YHVH in Her Wisdom thought otherwise. YHVH thought that all Mankind should embark on new, higher level of commitment, namely Loving YHVH, therefore He called everyone to go to the land, but only Abraham heard that call. Because, says SE; Abraham was already deeply in Love with YHVH.
Why did not YHVH show Abram the promised land right away? Why saying “The Land that I shall show it to you?”
Because at that stage, the most important expression of Loving YHVH was the readiness and the passion to follow Her instruction to go, even without knowing where. The passion to go with Her, is at the focus. It is another expression of Love.
So far we learn from Abraham that in order to elevate ourselves and come closer to YHVH we need:
- To know YHVH and the concept of Oneness
- To love YHVH by our life
- To be ready to follow Her blindly with passion
Says SE: YHVH knew well that here was the cutting point where Abraham and his seeds are separated from the rest of Mankind. And that separation is bound to stir up negative emotions of envy and hatred, as well as positive emotions of support.
That is why YHVH immediately told Abraham that He, YHVH, would bless those who bless Abram and curse those who curse him. But overall, Abram and his seeds would become a source of blessing to all Mankind.
The SE asks: Hearing YHVH’s call to go, what exactly is the feature of the new road that Abraham would take?
The answer is: The road is the Torah and the observance of the Commandments, passionately and in much details. .
The term “go or “walk” is the root of the word Halacha. The new way of Loving YHVH is by devoting your life to lear Torah and perform G-d’s Commandments in details.
One way to express the Love of YHVH is by surrendering our life when needed. The other more common way is, to study G-d’s Commandments days and nights, and to abide by them passionately.
Abraham and Moses’ Shema Israel
Says SE: Moses built the Shema Israel on Abraham. How?
The Shema comprises of three lines:
- Hear oh Israel YHVH, our ELKM, YHVH is One.
- And you shall love YHVH your ELKM with all your heart and all your might…
- And these words that I am commanding you today shall be on your heart…. And you shall talk about them when you are at home and when you walk on the way…
Line 1 of declaring YHVH’s Oneness – is incumbent on all peoples!!!
Line 2 of loving YHVH by our lives is incumbent on Abraham’s seed, Israel, and expected from all Mankind, being rewarded by it,
Lines 3 expresses the love of YHVH by studying Torah and fulfilling the Commandments passionately, in details, as shown in the Talm
The same would happen later at Saini.
The Midrash says that the Torah was written for anyone, for all nations.
At Sinai, ELKM’s voice was heard seven folds, referring to the Seven Commandments, for all nations to hear, Yet only Israel heard his voice.. Why?
Because Israel had already proven that they follow YHVH in the desert, wherever He would take them. Therefore, they HEARD ELKM’s voice by default, since they were the only ones ready for it.
This, says SE, can explain the meaning and purpose of the Circumcision.
First, it implies dedication, a servitude to whatever YHVH says. It is the emblem of our Master in our flesh.
Secondly, it connects us to the story of Eden.
Abraham, says SE, was deeply in love with the Heavenly Court that formed the Garden of Eden.
Why this particular Court? Because it is the Loving Court that formed Eden, the Garden of Love. Eden comes from edna, a sensitive sexual pleasure and love. The Heavenly Court of YHVH ELKM formed Eden as a place of Love – either a parental love to each other, or love to their only child, Adam.
Let’s remember that YHVH ELKM formed Eden as two Cherubs in love, holding Wing against Wing, their faces of a boy and a girl looking at each other with love. Those cherubs also looked at their child Adam with parental love, hoping he would proceed to the Sabbath straight from there, from Eden.
That Court of Love opens to us every Rosh Hashana for a limited time, to accept our repentance.
Abraham, then, fell in love with that Heavenly Court, and he aspired to lead humanity to stand up again before that Court, while we are pure as Adam and Eve were before the sin.
Says SE: Since Adam was formed in Eden naturally circumcised, by removing our foreskin from the procreating organ we restore ourselves to the status of Adam in Eden prior to the sin.
Abraham and the Court of Eden
Says SE: On the formation of Eden by YHVH ELKM Court it is said:
These are the chronicles of the Heavens and earth
When they were “=re-created,”
On the day that YHVH ELKM made Earth and Heavens.
The word “re-created” – Be-hibarham – can be read as “for the name of Abraham.”
From here the Rabbis derived that the Garden of Eden, as well as the entire world, was FORMED and MADE with Abraham on G-d’s mind.
No wonder that Abraham “fell in love” with the Heavenly Court of Eden.