… and Abraham sees a Mansion on Fire!

maj 18, 2011 § Lämna en kommentar

I found this interesting parable of Abraham’s discovery of God. It’s quoted from Bereshit Rabba in the article Whispering Flames: The Fire of Lag B’Omer. The parable has the element of fire which fits nicely with the upcoming Lag B’Omer bonfires.

The article retells the parable thus:

… Abraham coming to recognize God is compared to a wanderer who sees a mansion engulfed in flames and subsequently concludes that the mansion must have an owner. The master of the house then sees the wanderer and introduces himself. Abraham similarly looked at the world and concluded that it must have a Master, and merited the Master’s acknowledgement ….

Source: Bereshit Rabba 39:1
Read from source here: p. 313 at Midrash Rabbah Genesis Volume I

”Structure Fire” (cc by-nc-nd) by watch4u @flickr

”Structure Fire” (cc by-nc-nd) by watch4u @flickr

It seems just as much a riddle as a parable, because how did Abraham come to the conclusion that the mansion had an owner?

That’s what the article also asks. Here’s the article’s explanation:

“The Hebrew word for ‘thing,’ the generic word that captures all physical objects, is ‘davar.’ Davar derives from the Hebrew root ‘dibur‘ which means ‘to speak.’ This is no coincidence. It teaches us that every davar expresses a dibur — a spoken message. Every physical object or phenomenon, in addition to its physical reality, conveys a spiritual comment on existence.”


“The fire of the mansion was an allusion to the dibur in every object in the world. …”


“Abraham saw the mansion burning. The flames, however, were not the fire of destruction. Instead, they represented the hidden energy in the mansion of the world, the inner message, the dibur, that points to the greatness of the Creator who could form such a place. The figurative flames whisper that in addition to the simple function of every davar in the word, there lies a deeper meaning that points to God for those like Abraham who had the eyes to see it.”

In Bereshit Rabba 39:1, I see that quotes from the later half of Psalm 45 are accompanied with this parable, more precisely 45:10-11 and 45:13a. Interestingly, that part of the Psalm are one of those places in the Psalms that almost must have some further symbolic meaning, since its surface meaning is pretty crude on its own.


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