Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ten Tests of Abraham

1) The terrifying experience in Ur Casdim, when Nimrod cast Abraham into the fiery furnace.

2) When G-d commanded Abraham to leave his parents and his family. It was very difficult for Abraham to leave family and friends and go to a strange city, expecially since G-d had given him no indication as to his destination. Abraham was even more troubled, since he had no idea where he would end up. (Chapter 11 verse 1)

3) The great famine in the land of Canaan. The rest of the world had more than enough; only in Canaan where Abraham lived, there was a great famine. Abraham did not want to return to his father and violate G-d's commandment, so that he went to Eqypt. (chapter 11 verse 10)

4) When Abraham came to Eqypt, Pharaoh seized Sarah and had her brought to his harem (chapter 12:15)

5) The four kings came to kill him. They said, "Let's start with his nephew Lot, and when Abraham attempts to rescue him, we'll take care of him." When Lot was taken captive together with the other citizens of Sodom and Gemorah, Abraham had to wage war against four large armies (chapter 14)

6) At the "Pact Between Halves" (B'rith beyn HaBetharim), G-d showed Abraham every exile that his descendants would suffer as well as the punishments of purgatory, asking him to choose one of the two (chapter 15)

7) G-d commanded Abraham to cxircumcise himself when he was 99 years old. This was a very painful operation, expecially since he was so old and still wished to have a son. Abraham wanted to strengthen his reproductive organs; G-d was commanding him to mutilte them. (chapter 17)

8) When Abraham was in the land of the Philistines, Abimelekh had Sarah brought to his harem by force. (chapter 20)

9) When Issac grew up, Sarah saw Ishmael using him as a target to practice archery. She told Abraham to write out a will leaving everything that he owned and everything that G-d had promised him to Isaac, so that Ishmael would not share in the inheritance at all. G-d then told Sbraham to drive Hagar and Ishmael away from his house. Of all the troubles that Abraham suffered, none was worse than driving away his firstborn son. (chapter 21)

10) The tenth teast was the Akediah, under discussion here. After all that had happened, Abraham finally had a beautiful son when he was a hundred years old. Now G-d was telling him to bring the child as a sacrifice. (chapter 22)

source: The Torah Anthology Yalkut ME'AM LO'EZ Genesis-II The Patriarchs

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