Let My People Know

"After all is said and done, we are still lonely, as lonely as Abraham"


In regard to the pagan gods, Judaism is very clear: we are totally against them. 

In that sense, we are standing in the very same place as our father Abraham stood. 

In Abraham's time, the pagan world had a very high culture. 

Not only did it have its own poets and philosophers — some of them very great — it even had international banking, enabling the transfer of funds in clay envelopes containing clay letters for distances of 2,000 kilometers and more. 

Abraham was considered — rightly or wrongly — as the lonely madman of Ur (then, the lonely madman of Haran, and finally, the lonely madman of Canaan) because he was against the prevailing religious culture. 

Judaism has a clear stand on this issue, even if it is not so very popular. 

Indeed, we see that after all is said and done, we are still lonely, as lonely as Abraham. 

The verse "Abraham was one" (Ezekiel 33:24) says just that: he was one, against a whole world. 

Indeed, the Midrash (Genesis Rabbah 42:8) explains the epitaph Avraham ha-Ivri as "Abraham who came from the other side". 

"The whole world stands on one bank [of the river], and he is on the other bank."

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From "The Paganization of Western Culture," by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz