Rembrandt's 1634 painting of Abraham, the Angel and the bound Isaac
It is a central element of Judaism that Abraham is seen as the father of the Jewish people and that through him and his descendants a covenant was transmitted to future generations.
We first meet Abram as an adult, at the end of Chapter 11 of Genesis. We are told that his father Terah journeyed with his family from Abraham’s birthplace in Ur of the Chaldees (placed by some archeologists as near Basra in modern Iraq) and then settled in Haran, which is today in Turkey near the Syrian border.
In Chapter 12, Abram becomes the central character of the narrative. G-d instructs him to leave behind all that he knows and to go to "the Land which I will show you". If he accepts that challenge, Abram is to be blessed with a special relationship with G-d throughout his lifetime and his descendants, too, will be slated for greatness. His original name, 'Abram', meaning 'exalted father', becomes 'Abraham', 'father of many'.
The Torah offers no reason why Abraham was chosen for this particular honour so Midrash, Jewish interpretation and elucidation of the Biblical texts, has provided us with possible explanations.
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