Wednesday, November 2, 2005


A short piece based on the fairly well known midrash concerning Abram's break with his father's ways.

by John W. Leys

Splintered pieces of broken idols
And shattered gods litter the floor
At your feet.
The ax, its handle still damp
From your sweaty palms,
Rests in unliving hands.
Your father’s eyes look on
In confused horror and fear.
Your last question
Remains unanswered.


Stacey said...

I don't know too much about Bible stories, I admit. For a short time in my life I was a Christian, but only because that was the way I was raised. As soon as I could think for myself I broke away from the religion. In college I began to study eastern religion and philosophy. Then, for a short while I called myself a "Buddhist". Now I have no label; I'm just spiritual. I search for truths wherever they may be found and I enjoy trying to learn from different religions. I do regret not reading some of the Bible more, though. There are some good stories within. There is much to learn from. Great lessons of life.

I Googled "Abram and ax" and came-up with an explanation of the story of which you've written a poem. I found this:

Abraham's belief in one God alone made him unique since he lived in a society that believed in worshipping many idols. According to another midrash, Terah, Abram's father, was an idol worshipper and, in fact, owned a shop that sold idols. One day, Terah left Abram in charge of the store. Abram, who had not discussed with his father his own skepticism about the power of the idols, smashed them all, except for the largest, in whose hand he placed a large ax. When Terah returned, he found his store in shambles and questioned his son. Abram explained that the large idol had become angry with the smaller ones, picked up the ax, and smashed them all. Terah was furious and yelled at Abram, "Stop lying to me! You know that these idols can't walk or talk or move!" "If that is true, why would you pray to them to protect you?" asked Abram. (Genesis Rabbah 38:13)


Stacey said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention how much I really liked your poem! It taught me something new, today. Thanks. :)

Eliyahu ben Avraham vaSarah said...

Yes, that is exactly the story I based this on. Its one that has always stuck with me since I first read a version of it years ago (In one of Rabbi Lawrence Kushner's books, if I remember correctly). Its probably one of my favorite midrashim.

Glad you liked the poem. And glad you learned something!

ginab said...


A lovely poem on Abram leave of God (is that right?). I remember Abram and Lot; the second liking the city and its riches. Seemed Abram was closer to God. I forgot why he would leave.

Thanks on TBWHM.


ginab said...

Oh, Terah.

Got it.


The background image on this page is a Hebrew translation of the verse from Bob Dylan's song  It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), from which the title of this blog is taken. Translation courtesy of Yoram Aharon of Hod-HaSharon's page--found via YudelLine-- which has many Dylan lyrics in Hebrew.