It’s Biblical: Terah
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

It’s Biblical: Terah

Rabbi Zvi Solomons looks at the idol-worshipping father of Abraham

Terah is not spoken of much, save as the father of Abram (later our ancestor Abraham) and Nahor, Lot’s father.

The family were originally from Ur in Mesopotamia, and shortly after Haran, Abram’s brother died, Terah led them towards Cana’an.

For unknown reasons they stopped short of the land which would become Israel.

According to the Midrash, Terah is a wicked idolator, who manufactures idols. He clearly knows they are not God, because when Abram smashes up his stock of idols, Terah gets angry with him, rather than accepting his son’s false explanation the idols argued and destroyed one another.

It is Terah who takes Abram to King Nimrod, to be tried for his blasphemous behaviour in trying to persuade others to accept monotheism.

Abram is thrown into a fiery furnace and survives, leading his father Terah to repent (according to the Zohar).

Rabbi Abba Ben Kahana says in Genesis Rabba that for this, God reassured Abram that his father would have a place in the world to come when he died.

The Midrash suggests Terah, who was 70 when Abram was born, was instructed by God to lead his family into Cana’an, but he did not have the courage to follow Divine instructions.

In Jewish tradition Abram left his father’s house (as God instructed him) to found his own family and way of life.

Ironically, the family repeatedly return to their uncle Laban’s house, to find wives. Laban is truly wicked, seeking to enslave Jacob and tricking him into marrying his older daughter first.

The contrast between the more static, somewhat vacillating Terah and Abram, who was able to move outside the conventional norms of his day, speaks to religious seekers in our own day, and reminds us that Judaism is an innovation in this world, rather than a form of stasis.

Zvi Solomons is rabbi of the Jewish Community of Berkshire (JCoB), the living Orthodox synagogue in Reading,
www.JCoB.org

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

read more:
comments