Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend


Part 5 - View Table of Contents

It All Begins With God

Abraham Meet God, God Meet Abraham - Cont.

Abraham Came to a Different Conclusion

"There is hardly an animal in nature, from the Egyptian scarab to the Hindu elephant, that has not somewhere been worshiped as a god."
Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage

Somehow, Abraham came to a different conclusion. Where everyone saw diversity, Abraham saw unity. Where everyone saw countless phenomena with countless causes, Abraham saw one creation and one Creator. Where everyone saw a panoply of self-serving, and self-indulgent cosmic puppeteers, Abraham saw a flawless being who was pure kindness, who only gave and gave the greatest good.

To Abraham nothing could be clearer than the fact that everyone else was dead wrong. Abrahamís conception of life was one that envisioned higher aspirations; to Abraham life had meaning and purpose. To Abraham, there was something deeply noble to strive for in life. For Abraham, there was something to accomplish, something to strive for, somewhere to go in life.

Abraham didnít just come to a different conclusion from everyone else about God. Rather, he was the only person whose thinking concluded with God. The difference between Abraham and every other person on earth was something like the difference between a toddler who trembles at the sound of thunder and is convinced that his motherís skirt can protect him, and an adult who is awestruck by the grandeur of creation.

Abraham Says Adios

Abraham was so sure he was right that the Creator Himself confirmed his convictions.

"And God said to Abraham ĎLech Lecha, Go for yourself (not for Me) and leave your land, the community of your birth, and your fatherís home.í"
Genesis 12:1

"If we had lived in the second millennium BCE, the millennium of Abraham, and could have canvassed all the nations of the earth, what would they have said of Abrahamís journey? In most of Africa and Europe, where prehistoric animism was the norm and artists were still carving and painting on stone the heavenly symbols of the Great Wheel of Life and Death, they would have laughed at Abrahamís madness and pointed to the heavens, where the life of earth had been plotted from all eternity ... a man cannot escape his fate. The Egyptians would have shaken their heads in disbelief. The early Greeks might have told Abraham the story of Prometheus ... Do not overreach, they would advise; come to resignation. In India, he would be told that time is black, irrational and merciless. Do not set yourself the task of accomplishing something in time, which is only the dominion of suffering. In China, the now anonymous sages whose thoughts would eventually influence the I Ching would caution that there is no purpose in journeys or in any kind of earthly striving ... On every continent, in every society, Abraham would have been given the same advice that wise men as diverse as Heraclitus, Lao-Tsu and Siddhartha would one day give their followers: do not journey but sit; compose yourself by the river of life, meditate on its ceaseless and meaningless flow."
Thomas Cahill, The Gifts of the Jews

But somehow, some way, Abraham ignored the collective wisdom of the entire world. Not only did Abrahamís thinking lead him to God, but the conviction of his conclusion led him to strike out in a direction radically different from any other that had ever been traveled. When God said, "Go," Abraham responded with a small step that was truly a giant leap for mankind.

"And Abraham went, just as God had told him ..."
Genesis 12:4

Thus began the relationship between Creator and creature that is inherent in the existence of God the absolute being - Creator, Sustainer, and altruistic and benevolent Supervisor of all creation.

Back Read Part 4 Read Part 6 Next
Table of Contents


Shimon Apisdorf is an award-winning author whose books have been read by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. He has gained a world-wide reputation for his ability to extract the essence of classical Jewish wisdom and show how it can be relevant to issues facing the mind, heart and soul in today's world. Shimon grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and studied at the University of Cincinnati, Telshe Yeshiva of Cleveland and the Aish HaTorah College of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. He currently resides with his wife, Miriam, and their children in Baltimore. The Apisdorfs enjoy taking long walks, listening to the music of Sam Glaser and going to Orioles games.

Shimon can be reached at sjapisdorf@earthlink.net

Enjoyed Judaism in a Nutshell?
Other books by Shimon Apisdorf, available online at The Jewish Literacy Foundation.


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

Noach - A 'Standard' Tzaddik
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

The Hidden Blessing
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5766

Free Time
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Free Gifts for People Who Find Favor
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5767

It's All About Redemption Part II
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5766

What Goes Around Comes Around
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Generation to Generation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Certain Things Noach Did Not Have To Worry About
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5775

Now -A Hopeful Place
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

> Beyond Youth
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Positive Speech Builds a Brighter World
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

The Path to Serving God
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

ArtScroll

Home Alone
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Resilience is Key
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Building Towers - For What?
- 5774

A World is Built!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information