Self-sacrifice for Torah

Published date25 October 2021
Publication titleIsrael National News (Israel)
Some of them serve idols be'shituf (worship of God in a manner that is not purely monotheistic). In other words, they know that Hashem is the true, ultimate Supreme Being, however, they believe he has no interest in what happens in the world and by means of idolatry, they are able to gain power and rule. All the same, they are still careful not to be too self-aggrandizing, lest Hashem, the God above all Gods, gets angry and punishes them.

The utterly wicked deny Hashem entirely, and are left with a completely idolatrous belief that frees all their evil instincts to act without restrictions. Such was the evil Nimrod, who based his reign of evil on an absolute pagan belief, to the point where our Sages said, "He caused the entire world to rebel against Him during the time of his reign" (Chagigah 13a).

Abraham's Choice in Faith

When it seemed that evil was about to rule and subjugate the world, Avraham Avinu was born, and from an early age began to ponder in his heart who created the world, and to whom he should pray. He saw the sun shining and said to himself 'that's the one who created the world and myself', and prayed all day to the sun. Then, in the evening, when the sun set and the moon shone, he said 'this is the one who created the world and myself, and the stars are his ministers', and stood all night and prayed to the moon. When day came and the moon disappeared, and the sun began to shine once more, he said 'these have no power, there is a Lord above them', and continued to inquire, deny all idols, realize that all forces in the world are limited, and that there must be a Creator above them. Then God, the Creator of heaven and earth and all they contain, revealed Himself to him (Genesis Rabbah, 39:1; Zohar Vol. 1, 86:1).

Strengthened in his faith, he rejected idols, and broke the statues in his father's house. King Nimrod heard about it and decreed Abraham be brought before him, to force him to worship idols. Abraham, however, argued harshly with him. When Nimrod saw he would not agree to his opinion, he ordered him to be thrown into a fiery furnace saying, "If the God to whom you bow is the true God, let him come and save you." Hashem saved him, and he came out unscathed from the fiery furnace (Pesachim 118a; Genesis Rabbah 38:13).

Between Abraham and Haran

Our Sages said (Genesis Rabbah 38:13) that Haran, Abraham's brother, was present, and was asked whom he supported, Nimrod or Abraham. Haran was at odds. He replied: 'If Abraham is saved, I am...

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