|א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ צ ק ר ש ת|
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 ).
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 )