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Abraham the Hippie: Where the Jews Began

Radical Departure

Judaism was founded by the father of all hippies. Abraham was a radical who rejected his society’s, teachers and parents values. This is his story …

Freedom is Bad

Imagine if you lived in a world where everyone— everyone—believed that all men are not created equal and that human freedom is bad. What are the chances that you, and only you, would come to a different conclusion?

Welcome to Abraham’s World

In the ancient world, everything was divided into two categories, puppets—like people and planets—and puppeteers, the gods.

Wanna Be a Puppet?

People saw themselves as—
Only an imperfect copy of the primal cosmos. Since man was created by the gods to serve them, there was little feeling of joy or optimism.
- Michael Cheilik,

Ancient History

It never crossed anybody’s mind that life had any meaning, and there was no concept of freedom since the strings that tied one to the gods could never be severed. No man could have a higher calling and there were no great values worth devoting ones life to. Almost anything could be a god and people withheld nothing—even children—from the sacrificial appetite of the gods.

Abraham Came to a Different Conclusion

There is hardly an animal in nature, from the Egyptian scarab to the Hindu elephant, that has not somewhere been worshipped as a god.
- Will Durant,

Our Oriental Heritage

Abraham thought that everyone else was wrong. Where everyone saw countless self-indulgent cosmic puppeteers, Abraham saw one transcendent Creator. Where everyone saw diversity, Abraham saw unity. To Abraham life had meaning and purpose; there was something worth striving for, something to accomplish. The difference between Abraham and every other person on earth was something like the difference between a toddler who trembles at the sound of thunder and is convinced that his mother’s skirt can protect him, and an adult who is awestruck by the grandeur of creation.

Hippie, Enigma, World-Changer

If we had lived in the millennium of Abraham, and could have canvassed all the nations of the earth, what would they have said of Abraham’s journey? In most of Africa and Europe, they would have laughed at Abraham’s madness. The Egyptians would have shaken their heads in disbelief. The Greeks would advise; come to resignation. In India, he would be told that time is black, irrational and merciless. In China, the I Ching would caution that there is no purpose in journeys or in any kind of earthly striving … On every continent, in every society, Abraham would have been given the same advice.
- Thomas Cahill,

The Gifts of the Jews

But somehow, Abraham ignored the collective wisdom of the entire world. In doing so, he also changed the world forever. And the Jewish people, God’s nation of hippies, are his descendants.

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Comments icon July 3, 2009


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