From Abram to Abraham


Kelly Perez, Adjunct Professor; Philosophy

Non-believers and believers alike might know the name Abraham as associated with the phrase, Father of the Principle Faiths. Born into the name Abram, his legacy begins in birth when the reigning king had a vision that Abram the adult would kill him. Fearing for his life, the king demands Abram's death. Abrams father tells his wife to hide with their son in a cave and never come out. Obeying her husband, she flees with her infant to safety. It was at the age of 10 when isolation became too great for young Abram and he fled to his great-grandfather Noah's home (10x grandfather). Years pass when finally, Abram confronts the king, King Nimrod. It is at this point Nimrod and Abram have a passionate conversation that enrages Nimrod. After their heated argument, Nimrod throws Abram in a hot flaming furnace whereupon God saves him from the flames and he emerges unharmed. This moment sets the stage for the coming end of Nimrod at the hands of Abrams Great uncle Esau. (don't be messing with family, man!)

He (Terah) took him (Abraham) and gave him over to Nimrod. 

(Nimrod) said to him: Let us worship the fire! 

(Abraham) said to him: Should we not then worship water, which extinguishes the fire! 

(Nimrod) Then, let us worship the water! 

(Nimrod) Then, let us worship the cloud! 

(Abraham) Should we not then worship the clouds, which carry the water? 

(Nimrod) Then, let us worship the cloud! 

(Abraham) If so, should we not then worship the wind, which scatters the clouds? 

(Nimrod) Then, let us worship the wind! 

(Abraham)  Should we not then worship the human, who withstands the wind? 

(Nimrod) You are merely piling words; we should bow to none other than the fire. I shall, therefore, cast you in it, and let your God to whom you bow come and save you from it! 

(Genesis Rabbah 38:11 (ed. Theodor-Albeck, 363-364) 

Kelly Perez, Adjunct Professor