A Modern Midrash

Masada National Park, , Israel - Wednesday November 30, 2011. Copyright ©2011 Steven L. Lubetkin All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Masada National Park, , Israel - Wednesday November 30, 2011. Copyright ©2011 Steven L. Lubetkin All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

The First Revelation to Humankind as conceived of by Labe Chaim ben Peretz.:

And Abraham, the man, a man of great intuition, havd the gift of seeing a reality beyond the reality that was seen by most men.  So there came a time when Abraham, the man,  lifted all sides of his tent, and stood in its center, breathing in the cool air of early evening.  And as he filled his body with the air, something deep within said silently, “I am grateful for this air, for without it, I could not live.”  And the man walked outside the tent, and looked up at the great ball of orange fire that was resting on the distant hills, still warming his body, and he wondered where it went, and how it could return each day?  Then Abraham looked up into the night sky, and wondered at the silver disk that brightened the sand around him and how it kept reappearing.  And he wondered at the myriad of lights that dotted the blackness and how they came to be.  

In his deepest thoughts he said, “There is something I cannot see that gives me the air which I breath, and gives me the ball of orange fire by which I warm myself and see the day, and gives me the moon by which I see at night, and gives me the myriad of sparkling lights by which my eyes are delighted.  And Abraham was overwhelmed with a sudden feeling of wonder, awe, and gratitude for something he could not see but intuited was there; a something that created all that was and all that would ever be.  And Abraham, the man, was deeply humbled before this unknown Presence.

Intuited words came to Abraham from within saying, “I am Ayn Sof. I am the underlying unification of all existence.  I am the Eternal Power that impels the universe, and I manifest myself in the energy that creates, never being diminished in matter or in quality.  I create sentiency, and I permit the diversity of evolution.  I am the creative impulse that insists on becoming, and I am infused in all that exists, yet I am beyond existence. I created existence, and with each breath you take, I manifest My existence through your existence.  Know me as Ayn Sof and be grateful for the wonder of existence that I place before your eyes.  I have chosen to call upon you, Abraham.

And Abraham responded: “Here I am.”  

“Look at the world I have given to humanity so they might come to know Me and so that I, through them, might come to know Myself as humanity knows itself.  I have left them to their own devices, and I have seen that most are evil from their youth and need instruction in how to live with one another in peace and in harmony.  They have not as yet seen that I gave them peace, balances, and harmonies in nature that they might see these things and base their lives on these realities.  I need them to be taught.”

“What shall I teach them, Master of the Universe?”

“I have chosen you, Abraham, because without instruction, you have rightfully concluded that I exist.  My existence was known at the beginning, but humanity, being what it is, could not conceive One such as I and turned to dividing me so that they might better understand me.  They broke me into pieces, worshiping the pieces they created, imagining me in wood, and in stone, and in metal.  But you alone have rediscovered that I am One.  You have rejoiced in the wonders of My creation, and you have kept your tent flaps open on all sides so that you may assist the traveler.  You are a decent and a modest man, who is charitable and has a good heart.  I want you to re-teach the world what they have long forgotten and what you have discovered by watching the world I have created. I want you to set them straight again so they might know of Me and co-create with Me something of lasting value.  So they might do this, I want you to teach them My ways.”  

And Abraham responded, “I will hear and I will do. Teach me what to say.”

And Abraham intuited thus the words of Ayn Sof:  “I speak to you and to all the generation that will follow: And the words which I speak are to be inscribed upon your heart, and on your lips: Teach these words diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  Inscribe My teachings on the doorposts of your dwellings, and let them always be before your eyes and upon your hand.  That you shall remember, do, and though doing, become holy to Me.”  

And Abraham received the word of Ayn Sof:

Know that the world I give you is a world where life and human dignity are to be honored.
Know that you are to teach the world a vision of peace and harmony.
Know that you are to teach the world that all are equal before the law.
Know that you are to encourage all to become educated.
Know that the laws you will create will be laws that lay the foundation of a stable society.
Know that you are to teach the requirements of social responsibility.
Know that you are to teach passion for the good and hatred for that which is evil.

You are to teach the people that their mission is to partner with Me and mend the world.
You are to teach them to be preoccupied with their actions.
You are to teach them to critique their behavior so they may become better.
You are to teach them to model correct behavior for others.
You are to teach them to structure time with meaningful rituals and days of celebration.

Teach them what it is to be holy and how to separate themselves from their animal instincts.
Teach them that their mission is to bring knowledge of Me to the nations of the world
Teach them to be grateful for each day of life, and rejoice in the wonder of creation.
Teach them to exert self control over their behavior and desires.
Teach them to rejoice in their distinctiveness and diversity.
Teach them to gather in righteous communities.

Show them a pathway to the transcendent so they may enter into a relationship with Me.
Show them a pathway that insists that they use their intellect.
Show them a pathway that focuses on this world and not on the next.
Show them a pathway that will give them sacred time weekly to replenish the resources and rest.

Teach them that as I am a unity, so they are to be a unity. They are one with Me, and I am one with them.  And they are to be united with each other.

And Abraham responded: “And when they ask me who has sent me to teach them, who shall I say sent me to them?

And Abraham intuited: “Tell them that Ayn Sof sent you.  Tell them that Ayn Sof is Existence.  Tell them that Ayn Sof is above them, below them, behind them, in-between them, and within them.  Tell them that I am all there ever was, that I am all that is, and that I am all that will ever be.  I gave of Myself to become the Universe, yet I am outside the Universe.  I gave My spirit to them so they might become sentient and come to know Me. Tell them that though I am beyond their ability to know Me, their task is to seek Me and knowledge of Me.  Tell them that I have imbued them with My spirit so that they might aspire to goodness.  This is all you need to know.”    
Then Abraham, the man, fell to his knees, bowed his head to the ground and wept with the joy that comes with a man understanding his mission and his reason for being.

And Abraham stood, and through tear filled eyes, saw the inventions of man, and what humankind had become because the Ayn Sof was absent from their lives. Indeed, every age was an age of corruption, and humankind was indeed evil from his youth.  Abraham saw the insolent, and the stubborn; those who betray and those who acted perversely.  He saw people who were cruel and violent; those who spoke slander and schemed.  Those who devised evil and corrupted others came before his eyes as did those who were hostile. And he saw those who embraced immorality; those who let others astray, and those who wantonly hated without cause.  He saw people who murdered, and went free to murder again.

Standing, Abraham looked up to the stars etched into heaven’s arraignment and offered up this prayer: “Ayn Sof, how can I go forward unless you manifest Your strength in me so that I might move from strength to strength and bring to the world Your message of harmony and peace?  Infuse me with Your wonder and teach my mouth to speak of You so that those in the hopeless depths of spiritual despair, in the valley of their soul darkness, might see the light of Your Existence. Help me purify my own heart and thoughts with Your light so I might bring my light to others.  How can I be cleansed?”

And Abraham intuited that the Ayn Sof responded: “All that you ask of Me, I shall grant, but you must leave this place of corruption and go to a place where I shall show you; a place in the desert where there is no corruption.  There you will learn what you must learn.”

Then Abraham stood and breathed in deeply the cool evening air that embraced him, suddenly realizing that he was indeed breathing in Ayn Sof and he never knew it.  And Abraham intuited with that sudden awareness that Ayn Sof would always be with him as long as he had breath in his body, and that Ayn Sof would always be manifested within his very being.  So it was that Abraham believed that he would be strengthened for his task, and slept contentedly.

About Len Berman 6 Articles
Len Berman’s professional career began as an English, drama, and humanities teacher in New York City in 1961. By 1969 he was the New Jersey State Consultant in Arts and Humanities. He continued his twenty-seven years with the New Jersey State Department of Education as a Schools Program Coordinator, retiring in 1996. His career continues as an educational consultant, as a teacher of Judaica, and as a writer. He lives with his wife, Toby, in Voorhees, New Jersey. He has nine brilliant grandchildren.


  1. That was the MOST incredible midrash about God that I have ever read!! Thank you so much for your thoughtful, beautiful interpretation.

  2. Mr. Berman, in your Modern Midrash article, you infer “And Abraham stood, and through tear filled eyes, saw the inventions of man, and what humankind had become because the Ayn Sof was absent from their lives. Indeed, every age was an age of corruption, and humankind was indeed evil from his youth.”

    This statement appears to infer that the Torah was not known before Abraham, and humanity was corrupt and evil without knowing they were violating His Torah Laws, Commandments, and Instructions. While the prototype humans given free will violated the (Torah) Tree of Life, ate from the forbidden fruit, and died. But they also were tempted by a serpent saying, “The snake said to the woman: Die, you will not die! Rather, God knows that on the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will become like God, knowing good and evil.”

    Proof that they, like Abraham, knew G-d’s Torah, as their sons brought animal and grain sacrifices as instructed in the Torah. Cain knew that murder was forbidden as he replied to G-d, ‘I am not my brother’s keeper.’

    And G-d stated in Psalms 62:10, “Men are mere breath; mortals, illusion; placed on a scale all together, they weigh even less than a breath.”

    Could G-d have experimented in the Creation of this universe and all it contains with only minds/consciousness and sentience and with free will to follow only Him and not follow men gods among them?

What are your thoughts?

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