TEN TESTS OF AVRAHAM

According to Rashi:
1) Abraham hid underground for thirteen years from King Nimrod, who wanted to kill him.
2) Nimrod flung Abraham into a burning bush.
3) Abraham was commanded to leave his family and homeland.
4) Almost as soon as he arrived in Canaan, he was forced to leave to escape a famine.
5) Sarah was kidnapped by Pharaoh’s officials.
6) The kings captured Lot, and Abraham was forced to go to war to rescue him.
7) God told Abraham that his offspring would suffer under four monarchies.
8) At an advanced age, he was commanded to circumcise himself and his son.
9) He was commanded to drive away Ishmael and Hagar.
10) He was commanded to sacrifice Isaac.

According to Rambam:
1) Abraham’s exile from his family and homeland.
(the “Calling” of Lech Lecha, leaving behind a situation that is no longer working in order to surrender to the unknown.)
2) The hunger in Canaan after God assured him that he would become a great nation there.
(the famine in Canaan, especially after G-d has promised blessing and prosperity – economic security of the entire region is threatened. Feelings of abandonment and perhaps betrayal from Life itself.)
3) The corruption in Egypt that resulted in the abduction of Sarah.
(the injustice he faced in Egypt concerning Sarah – government sponsored injustice.)
4) The war with the four kings.
( the war between the four kings and the five kings – being at the mercy of the turbulent political climate of the times.)
5) His marriage to Hagar after having despaired that Sarah would ever give birth.
( the marriage to Hagar that came as a result of having no children with Sarah – family drama and relationship challenges)
6) The commandment of circumcision.
(the command to circumcise himself at his advanced age – carrying out G-d’s Will can be painful.)
7) Abimelech’s abduction of Sarah.
(the injustice and deception suffered at the hands of Avimelech of Grar when he also took Sarah – people could be cunning, manipulative and self seeking at the expense of others)
8) Driving away Hagar after she had given birth.
(the sending away of Hagar after having impregnated her – family drama, heartbreak, and pain.)
9) The very distasteful command to drive away Ishmael.
(The sending away of his son Ishmael – family drama, heartbreak and pain)
10) The binding of Isaac on the altar.
( And finally, the binding and attempted sacrifice of Yitzchak, his beloved son, Isaac – testing the limits of sanity itself).

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