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אַבְרָהָם   (בראשית יא-כה, דברי הימים א א:כז )
Founding father of Judaism, the first of Israel's three patriarchs: אברהם יצחק יעקב Born אַבְרָם   in אוּר כַּשְׂדִים he represents the tenth generation after נח The תורה   reveals nothing about אברם 's  childhood, but the מדרש   tells us stories about the patriarch intuiting the existence of God and smashing idols in his father's idol shop (see for example במדבר רבה יד :ב   and בראשית רבה לח :ח ). אברם 's  wife שָׂרַי   is barren. Led by תרח the family sets out from אור כשדים   for ארץ כענן They get as far as חָרָן   where תרח   dies (פרשת נח ). God appears to אברם   and tells him to leave his homeland and travel to a land that He will show him. This first communication of God to אברם   is considered the first of many tests posed by the Lord to אברהם According to פרקי אבות אברהם   faces ten challenges in his long relationship with God (פרקי אבות ה :ג Commentaries on this משנה   provide different compilations of episodes to reach ten tests - see below). At this early point in אברם 's  story, God promises to make אברם   a great nation. אברם   accedes to God's command and travels to כנען   with his wife and his nephew לוט following God's lead. Once there, God makes His second promise: to give the land to אברם 's  descendants. These two promises: אברם   will have many descendants, and they will inherit the land of Israel, are repeated often to אברהם   as well as to יצחק   and יעקב The promises are referred to frequently in the rest of the תורה   (see for example שמות ו :ד   and שמות לב :יג ) and נ "ך and remain strong beliefs in Judaism. A famine in כנען   sends אברם   and שרי   to Egypt where אברם   pretends that his wife is his sister. Upon returning to כנען אברם   and לוט   part ways since each is very wealthy and their flocks require separate grazing land. לוט   who chooses to live in סְדֹם   gets caught up in a war between city states and אברם   rushes to his rescue. In gratitude for his assistance, ברע the king of סדם offers the plunder to אברם   who turns him down saying that he'd rather his wealth was attributed to God's beneficence and not the king's gifts. God again promises אברם   that he will found a great nation and compares his descendants to the numerous stars (בראשית טו :ה ). God and אברם   strike a covenant known as " בְּרִית בֵּין הַבְּתָרִים in which the promise of the land is again enunciated. During this episode God informs אברם   that his descendants will be oppressed in a foreign land. Following his wife's suggestion, אברם   marries הגר שרי 's  maid, so that she may bear אברם   a child, since שרי   remains barren. אברם   is 86 years old when הגר   gives birth to a son, ישמעאל God appears to אברם   again, promising to give him the land and to make him the founder of a great nation. To emphasize this second point God changes His beneficiary's name from אברם   to אברהם arguing that אברהם   signifies "father of a multitude of nations" (בראשית יז :ה ). It is at this time that God introduces the practice of circumcision to אברהם He is commanded to circumcise himself and all future male descendants. This will be the physical sign of the covenant between God and אברהם 's  family. God also renames שרי   in preparation for her becoming a mother, changing her name to שרה Upon hearing that he and his wife will have a son together, אברהם   laughs. He is, after all, 99 years old at this point and שרה   is 90. Nevertheless, God assures him that he will have a son and instructs that the boy be named יצחק The covenant that God has forged with אברהם   will find expression in יצחק אברהם   proceeds to circumcise himself, ישמעאל   and all of his household (פרשת לך לך ). Three men come to visit אברהם   and during the course of the encounter שרה   overhears the news that she will give birth to a son in a year (according to the popular interpretation of this story the three men were angels. See רש "י   on בראשית יח :א   which is based on the מדרש   from בבא מציעא פב :) God informs אברהם   that He plans on destroying the towns of סְדֹם   and עֲמֹרָה   due to the wickedness of their inhabitants. This leads to a lengthy dialogue between God and אברהם   wherein the latter begs God to spare the towns. אברהם   travels to גְּרָר   where he again presents his wife as his sister. אבימליך the king, takes שרה He is warned by God in a dream that he will die for having taken a married woman. אבימלך   confronts אברהם   who defends himself by arguing that indeed שרה   is related to him on his father's side (see רש "י   to בראשית כ :יב ), and by claiming that he had to protect himself from the immorality of the place. אבימלך   sends the couple away with many gifts and later on forges a pact with אברהם יצחק   is born and is circumcised. אברהם 's  other son ישמעאל   makes sport of יצחק and שרה   demands that אברהם   banish ישמעאל   and הגר saying that she will not have ישמעאל   inherit along with יצחק אברהם   is upset by שרה 's  request but God tells him to grant שרה 's  wish. אברהם   sends ישמעאל   and הגר   away, and God promises him that ישמעאל   too will found a great nation. God gives אברהם   his greatest test when He asks him to sacrifice יצחק   on an altar - the episode known as עֲקֵדַת יִצְחָק Without hesitation, אברהם   takes his son and travels to a place indicated by God and prepares to kill his son. At the last moment אברהם   is stopped by an angel who declares that אברהם   has proven his complete faith by this act of utter submission to the will of God (פרשת וירא ). שרה   dies at age 127, and after mourning her אברהם   proceeds to buy a burial plot and cave from עפרון החתי at a location in חֶבְרוֹן   known as מְעָרַת הַמַּכְפֵּלָה אברהם   next sends his servant to his homeland to find a wife for יצחק אברהם   refuses to let his son marry a local girl and also warns the servant against taking יצחק   out of כנען   to settle in אברהם 's  native land. אברהם   lives to 175 and upon his death is buried in the family burial plot by his sons יצחק   and ישמעאל   (פרשת חיי שרה ). אברהם   remains the father figure for the Jewish people and is generally called אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ אברהם   our father. The Bible, the prayer book and Jewish culture often recall the unique relationship אברהם   had with God, sometimes referring to God as אֱלֹ -הֵי אַבְרָהָם the God of אברהם The Talmud credits אברהם   with contributing to the composition of תהלים   (בבא בתרא יד : רש "י   suggests that this means that אברהם   and איתן האזרחי   are one and the same; איתן   is mentioned in תהלים פט :א .)

פרקי אבות ה :ג   states that אברהם   passes 10 tests put to him by God. Here is one list of these trials as assembled by the רמב "ם

1. Emigration to a foreign country which God commands (בראשית יב :א -ו ).

2. The famine that אברהם   encounters upon reaching his destination, though told he would prosper (יב :י ).

3. The treachery of the Egyptians when שרה   is taken to the palace (יב :יד -כ ).

4. The war of the five kings versus the four that אברהם   participates in (פרק יד ).

5. אברהם 's  marriage to הגר   after despairing of שרה   having a child (פרק טז ).

6. God's command to אברהם   to circumcise himself (יז :ט -יד ).

7. The treachery of the king of גרר   when שרה   is taken by him (פרק כ ).

8. The banishment of הגר   after she bore him a son (כא :ט -כא ).

9. The banishment of ישמעאל   from the household (כא :ט -כא )

10. עקדת יצחק the binding of יצחק   (פרק כב ).



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