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The Systems of the Jewish Year

Integrity; Living Like a Jew

By Rabbi Yaacov Haber

Avrohom Avinu is often referred to as ‘the first Jew’. He stood out from the masses in one important way. He searched for truth. He lived by the truth. He always did what was right.

“Avraham, from his earliest childhood, began his own intellectual search for truth and realized the folly of idolatry. Growing up, Avraham was entirely immersed in a culture of idolatry, there was no alternative. His parents, his entire family, and everyone Avrohom knew was part of this idolatrous culture. Avraham himself grew up serving idolatry with his family until he clarified his thoughts and discovered the truth. There is only one God.

Avraham’s absolute conviction to believe in the Master of the Universe attracted thousands of people that became aware of the new truth. While gathering followers, he attracted the anger of Nimrod, the mighty king of that region, who decided to kill him. Avraham miraculously escaped Nimrod’s death sentence. He then travelled to Charan and continued his efforts to tell people the truth about idolatry and about the One and only God. He taught each individual in a a unique way that was suitable for that person. For his whole life he followed the truth for only one reason; because it was the truth.” (Rambam, Mishnah Torah Laws of Idolatry Chap 1)

Why did the Rambam spends so much time teaching history in a book of Law? Such extensive narrative is not used elsewhere in the whole Mishnah Torah.

The answer is to teach us the most important aspect of being a Jew. To be a Jew, is to seek the truth and go with it no matter what the consequences. Avrohom was so committed and guided by truth that nothing else mattered. His integrity was impeccable. “He followed the truth because it was truth.” He did what was right, simply because it was right.

The lesson of Avrohom: Just do the right thing and let the chips fall where they may. Whatever the social consequences, financial consequences or even if we were to be thrown into a fiery furnace,

Avrohom did the right thing. We are his progeny and his inheritance. We must do the same.

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