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ויאמר ד' אל אברם לך לך מארצך וממולדתך ומבית אביך

Hashem said to Avram, “Go for yourself from your land, from your relatives, and from your father’s house.” (12:1)

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This is our introduction to Avraham Avinu: no biography; no family lineage; no prior history. Whatever we know about the first Patriarch is from Chazal. Even Moshe Rabbeinu’s birth and genealogy are recorded. Why not that of the father of our nation? Avraham’s father was Terach, an idolater, who was so committed to his pagan beliefs that he informed on his son to the evil Nimrod. Had Hashem not provided a miracle for Avraham, he would have been immolated in a fiery cauldron. Avraham’s wife, Sarah Imeinu, was Terach’s granddaughter, whom he had raised after the untimely death of her father, Haran. Avraham and Sarah grew up in the same home and were raised by an idolater, who for all intents and purposes, is the person from whom the Jewish nation hails – very little to be proud of.

Veritably, Terach probably saw the error of his ways, which resulted in his decision to pack up his family and leave Uhr Kasdim, with Canaan as his intended destination. He was going to move his base of operations to the Holy Land. He did not make it. Terach followed the pattern of so many who have noble intentions, but are unable to see them through to fruition. Thus, Avraham Avinu represents a new page (actually, the first page) in Jewish history. To record his birth and upbringing would mean to connect him to Terach and his past.

Hashem did not immediately designate Avraham for the Abrahamitic mission of promoting monotheism. He did not give him any support. Avraham had within him a grain of truth which did not permit him to fall prey to the falsehoods espoused by the idolaters. This seed germinated within him as he sought answers to his many questions. He overcame emotional and ideological obstacles as he weaved his way to higher spiritual levels. When he emerged triumphant from his battles to strengthen his conviction, Hashem appeared to him and informed him that a great nation would descend from him and that his name would be a blessing. Avraham was now ready to pass the Asarah Nisyonos, Ten Trials, which would temper his spiritual fortitude and render him a light unto the nations.

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