Thursday, October 23, 2008

Abram's Dad, Terah the idol maker

To go with

Hello Master Cohen, may I introduce myself, I am John Comfort, but most kids call me Mr. Storyteller because that is what I do. We are going to learn about the Patriarchs and then selected stories about other great leaders from scripture such as Joseph, Moses, Joshua and David so that you have a full understanding as you approach Bar Mitzvah and manhood. As we learn about these heroes of the faith, you will learn a bit more about yourself and your role. Sound good? Ready to get started?

<= = = One more thing to do on a Thursday, but I am sure my parents want me to learn and stories do not sound painful, so welcome Mr. Storyteller, what do we hear today?

It is an honor to be here Master Cohen. Today is the story of Abram the wanderer, son of Terah, a member of the all time hall of fame as we will see. When Terah Wild Goat, the Wanderer was 70 years old, the peak of manliness back in those days, he started hitting on w4m lists. He got a response from Mamayar about ten seconds after he wrote her.

@Terah, Roof-topping at the Ziggurat lounge. Live DJ, sun, red wine, friends and fresh hummus. What more could a woman ask for? Let's meet in real life.

In short order Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran of whom he kept custody. All of his sons were athletic, strong willed and a bit quirky, but that was the norm in Ur.

Now Terah the father of Abram was a piece of work. Terah was wicked in that he manufactured wooden idols for a living. He used to make them from stone, but got frustrated by the amount of tool maintenance required. In fact, he was the inspiration for the poem by Emily: "All the chisels I've dulled carving idols of stone. That have crumbled like sand beneath the waves."

His shop was along one of the main paths to the shrine of the patron god of the city of Ur, the Moon-god Nannar, what we call Iraq today just past the wedded rocks, two rocks in the ocean that are connected by sacred ropes made of braided papayrus stalks. They are approached by a path along the temple, through a stone gate. There is a fountain where visitors can cleanse their hands and mouths before approaching the shrine area. The rocks are considered to represent Anu and Anata, the married founding god and goddess of the Chaldees.

The heart of the town was set apart as the Moongod's sanctuary. The great ziggurat or temple-tower was all about Nannar and Nimrod. And, although other gods had their shrines within the sacred enclosure, they were only there as attendants for the majesty of Nannar.

Terah would sit along the path carving his idols and sometimes the moon god worshipers would stop, everyone likes to watch an artist at work. Terah would answer their questions, sometimes breaking off the conversation to look towards heaven and speak, or tilt his ear as he listened to a voice, the customer could not hear. When he made a sale, which was about one out of every three persons to stop, he would wait for them to leave, open a wooden footlocker and pull out another idol that was almost finished and start carving again; when it comes to idols some people like them very old and others as fresh as possible.

Terah also had weathered ones, but they did not sell as well and the fresh ones. He did fairly well, once he staged an event where he carved a larger idol for 72 hours non-stop with a silent auction sheet. People bid sheep, goats, camels as well as money. Terah does not recall where he got the idea of fighting sleep for three days in order to carve his idols in front of passersby.

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