The Most Complicated Character in the Bible

It isn’t Moses, despite the four books devoted to his adventures—it’s Abraham. Why?

From Abraham’s Journey from Ur to Canaan, 1850, by the Hungarian artist József Molnár. Wikiart.

From Abraham’s Journey from Ur to Canaan, 1850, by the Hungarian artist József Molnár. Wikiart.

Atar Hadari
Observation
Oct. 31 2014
About the author

Atar Hadari’s Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of H. N. Bialik (Syracuse University Press) was a finalist for the American Literary Translators’ Association Award. His Lives of the Dead: Poems of Hanoch Levin earned a PEN Translates award and was released in 2019 by Arc Publications. He was ordained by Rabbi Daniel Landes and is completing a PhD on William Tyndale’s translation of Deuteronomy.


Abraham’s journey over the course of his life, the rises and falls, trials and errors, loves and losses, is the single most complex relationship with the Almighty charted in the Pentateuch. Surely—I hear you say—Moses has a whole four books devoted to his adventures! Well, yes and no. Moses is not really the hero of those adventures. After the exodus, his story is more about the prolonged exercise of trying to pound Torah into the easily distracted heads of the Jews than about himself and his relationship with God.

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More about: Abraham, Hagar, Lekh Lekha, The Monthly Portion, Torah