Page 117 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

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BILIK /
TSENE-RENE:
A YIDDISH LITERARY SUCCESS
109
are sixty years old, and yet you want to worship an idol which
is less than one day old, one that was just made today!” Em­
barrassed, the man left.
One day a woman came with a bowl of oatmeal to leave as
an offering for the idols. Avram took the bowl and placed it
in front of them. He then took a large stick and broke them
all, leaving just one large idol intact, and placed the stick in
its hand.
Terach arrived and asked Avram who had done the damage.
Avram said that a woman had brought the oatmeal as a sacrifice.
The idols quarreled among themselves, for each wanted to eat
it first. The largest then took a stick and broke all the others.
Terach said to Avram, “Do these idols have any intelligence,
or any life in them?” Avram answered: “If they do not have
any intelligence, why should we worship them?” Terach handed
him over to Nimrod, who told him that if he did not worship
the fire he would be thrown into a fiery pit. Avram’s brother
Haran was standing by and said to himself, “I will see if Avram
is saved from the fire. I f he is, I will serve his God, and if he
is not, I will serve the gods of Nimrod.”
When Avram came out safely they asked Haran whom he
wished to worship. He answered, “The God of Avram.” They
then threw him into the fire. He was burned and died. An angel
came and cast him out of the flames in front of his father.
This is the meaning of the verse,
Haran died in the presence of
his father.
Haran died because of his father’s actions. I f Terach
had not complained to Nimrod about Avram, Haran would not
have been thrown into the fire. We learn from this that a man
should not rely on a miracle. When he must sacrifice himself
for God he should not think that God will save him miracu­
lously. I f he relies on a miracle he has not really given his body
for God’s sake, so God will not save him. Because Haran saw
a miracle wrought for Avram he allowed Nimrod’s men to throw
him into the fire— so God did not save him. As our sages have
told us, “One does not rely on a miracle.36
36. Zarkon, Mesorah, 62.