Abraham's Revelation of the Creator
Yad HaChazaka (The Mighty Hand), Idolatry Rules, Chapter 1:
1) In the days of Enosh, humans made a big mistake, and the counsel of the sages of that generation was crass, and Enosh himself was among the erring.
This was their mistake: They said that since God created these stars and cycles by which to lead the world, and has placed them above and granted them honor, and they are His servants, they are worthy of praise and respect, and it is God’s will to raise and to honor those who have grown and been honored, as the King wishes to honor those who stand before Him. And this is the King’s glory.
And since they have so contemplated, they began to build halls to the stars, to sacrifice to them, and to praise and glorify them with words, and to bow before them, to capture God’s will with their evil mind. This was the essence of idol worshipping.
Thus said its worshippers, who know its essence. They did not say that there is no God Above, but rather that this star is the one of which Jeremiah says, “Who would not fear Thee, O King of the nations? For it befitteth Thee; forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their royalty, there is none like unto Thee. But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the vanities by which they are instructed are but a stock.” This means that everyone knows You are alone, but their error and folly is that they believe that this folly is Your Will.
2) After many days, false prophets stood among the people and said that God has commanded and told them: “Worship the star so and so, or all the stars, and sacrifice to it, and pour out for it, and build it a hall, and create its image for the whole people to bow before it—women, little ones, and the rest of the uneducated people.” And he informs them of a form he had fabricated from his mind, and says that this is the form of the star so and so, which he was told in his prophecy.
Thus they began to create icons in the halls and under the trees and on the mountain tops and on the hills. And they gather and pray to them and tell all the people that this icon does good or bad and should be worshipped and feared. And their priests tell them that by this work they will grow and succeed, and do this and that, and do not do that and this.
And they began to deceive others, standing and saying that the star itself or the cycle or the angel spoke unto them and told them: “Worship by this and by that,” and told them how to serve it, and to do this and to not do that. And this thing spread throughout the whole world, to serve the idols in different worships and to sacrifice to them, and to bow.
And since many days have passed, the Venerable and Terrible Name was forgotten in the whole universe. And they did not know Him of their own mind. Thus, all the uneducated people, the women, and the little ones know only the idol of tree and stone, and the hall of stones, for they have been reared from infancy to bow to it and to worship it and to swear by its name.
And the wise among them, such as their sages, imagine that there is no God there, but only stars and cycles, and that these idols have been made because of them and in their image. And none knew the Everlasting Rock but only a few in the world, such as Hanoch and Methuselah, Noah, Shem, and Ever. And thus the world kept unfolding until the pillar of the world was born—Abraham the Patriarch.
3) Ever since this firm one was weaned, he began to wonder, and he was small. He began to ponder day and night, and he wondered how it was possible for this wheel to always turn without a driver? Who is turning it, for it cannot turn itself?
And he had neither a teacher nor a tutor. Instead, he was wedged in Ur of the Chaldeans among the illiterate idol worshippers, with his mother and father and all the people worshipping stars, and he—worshipping with them.
And his heart roamed and understood until he attained the path of truth and understood the line of justice with his own correct wisdom. And he knew that there is one God there who leads the wheel, and that He has created everything, and that in all that there is, there is no other God but Him. And he knew that the whole world was erring, and that what caused their error was that they were worshipping stars and idols until the truth has vanished from their minds.
At forty years of age, Abraham came to know his Maker. And since he knew and recognized, he began to provide answers to the people of Ur of the Chaldeans and to converse with them and to tell them that the path on which they were walking was not the path of truth. He broke the statutes and began to tell the people that they should serve only the God of the world and that He is the One to whom they should bow, sacrifice, and pour out to, so in the future, all created beings will know Him. And also, that they should destroy and shatter all the idols, so they will not err in them, like those who imagine that there is no God there.
But since he prevailed over them with his proofs, the king sought to kill him. But a miracle occurred to him and he departed to Haran. He began to call out to the whole world, to alert them that there is one God to the whole world and that He is the One to be served.
He was calling out, wandering from town to town and from kingdom to kingdom, until he arrived in the land of Canaan, calling out, as it is written, “and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God.” And since they gathered around him and asked him about his words, he taught everyone according to his mind, until he brought him back to the path of truth. Finally, tens of thousands assembled around him, and they are the people of the house of Abraham.
He planted this tenet in their hearts and composed books on it, and taught his son, Isaac. And Isaac sat and taught and warned, and informed Jacob and appointed him a teacher, to sit and teach and keep all those who accompanied him. And Jacob the Patriarch taught all his sons, and separated Levi and appointed him as the head, and had him sit and learn the way of God and to keep Abraham's commandments.
And he commanded his sons not to stop appointing appointee after appointee from among the sons of Levi, so the knowledge would not be forgotten. This continued and expanded in the children of Jacob and in those accompanying them.
And a nation that knows the Creator was made in the world, until many days had passed over Israel in Egypt and they returned to learning their ways and worshipping stars as do they, except for the tribe of Levi, which persisted with the commandment of the fathers. The tribe, Levi, never worshipped idols. Thus, the tenet that Abraham had planted was nearly uprooted and the children of Jacob returned to the errors of the world and their misconceptions.
And by the love of God for us, and by His keeping of his oath to Abraham the Patriarch, He created Moses, the greatest of all prophets, and sent him. And since Moses had prophesized, and the Lord chose Israel for a domain, He crowned them with Torah and Mitzvot (commandments), taught them how to worship Him, and what will be the fate of idol worshipping and all who err in its path.
Midrash Rabba, Chapter 39, Item 1:
“Now the Lord said unto Abram: 'Get thee out of thy country,” etc. Rabbi Isaac said (Psalms 45): “Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house.” Rabbi Isaac told an allegory about one who was passing from place to place and saw a city lit up. He said, “Say, this city is without a leader.” The leader of the city then looked upon him and told him, “I am the owner of the city.”
Similarly, since our father, Abraham, said, “Say, this world is without a leader,” the Creator looked upon him and told him, “I am the owner of the world.”