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The Shield of Abraham

by Nissan Mindel

Talks and Tales

  

Library » History » Patriarchs, 12 Tribes | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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Abraham was 75 years old when G-d told him to leave his native Ur of the Chaldees and settle in the land of Canaan.

Abraham (he was still called Abram then) crossed the whole length and breadth of the Promised Land. Wherever he came he was welcomed with honor and respect. Everybody had heard of the wonderful miracle that had happened to him when the mighty king Nimrod had thrown him into a burning furnace. Abraham's modesty, kindness, and uprightness was known far and wide. People talked of Abraham's new faith in an unseen G-d, the Creator of Heaven and Earth.

It was not long after Abraham had settled in Canaan when four mighty kings got together. Chief of them was Chedarlaomer, the emperor of Elam. They were jealous of Abraham and were thinking how they could get rid of him. One of them had a bright idea. "You know," said he, "that Abraham's nephew Lot dwells in Sodom. Let us attack Sodom and capture him. Abraham is sure to try to free him. He will attack us with his handful of men. Then it will be easy for us to defeat him and kill him."

"It was G-d who in His mercy helped me to free you. Let Him be your King and G-d, If you really want to show your gratitude to G-d, then be honest and kind to each other. Live in peace, and help the poor and needy. Then G-d will be good to you and protect you"
The plan was agreed upon by all.

Soon Abraham received the tragic news that his nephew was taken prisoner together with the king of Sodom. Although no less than five kings had banded themselves together to fight Chedarlaomer and his allies, they were defeated, for the four kings were mightier than the five.

Losing no time, Abraham gathered the 318 members of his household and pursued the victorious Chedarlaomer and his mighty army.

The four kings were very pleased to hear their plan seemed to work. They were ready for Abraham with confidence. But once again G-d sent wonderful miracles to help Abraham. The four kings fled in terror, leaving behind them Lot and all the other captives, together with all the spoil.

The king of Sodom and the other four kings, together with all their men, now gathered in a big plain to do honor to Abraham. "You have saved our lives and our people and our lands and our wealth," they said to Abraham. "Be our king now. We will serve you and worship you more than we worship our idols!"

Abraham would not hear of it. "I am but a human being, like yourselves," Abraham said to them in reply. "It was G-d who in His mercy helped me to free you. Let Him be your King and G-d, If you really want to show your gratitude to G-d, then be honest and kind to each other. Live in peace, and help the poor and needy. Then G-d will be good to you and protect you"

Abraham refused to take any reward, and returned home. He offered up a prayer to G-d for delivering him from the hands of the mighty enemy. "Almighty G-d," Abraham prayed, "not my might and not my army won the victory, but You in Your kindness and mercy saved me from the hands of my enemies. May I be worthy of Your mercy always."

When Abraham concluded his prayer, the angels in Heaven sang out their praises to G-d: "Blessed art Thou, O Lord our G-d, the Shield of Abraham."

From Talk and Tales, published by Kehot Publication Society. Available at www.kehotonline.com.


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Abraham
First Jew, and first of our three Patriarchs. Born into a pagan society in Mesepotamia in 1812 BCE, he discovered monethieism on his own. He was told by G-d to journey to the Land of Canaan where he and his wife Sarah would give birth to the Jewish People.
Canaan
The land which G-d promised to give to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Named after the Tribe of Canaanites who dwelt there at the time. Eventually, when the Israelites conquered the land in 1272 BCE, it was renamed the "Land of Israel."
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.