Why did Avraham get angry that the fire didn’t burn him?
Why did Avraham need to be born to the biggest evildoer?
How did Avraham discover who controls the world?
These are the holy words of Moreinu HaRav Eliezer Berland shlit”a:
Avraham Avinu leaped into the fire and became very angry, because the fire did not burn him, and it is forbidden to become angry. He said, “There is something not right with this fire.” Avraham came out completely broken. “Why didn’t the fire burn me? What is my sin? What is my wrongdoing? Why am I not worthy of the fire burning me? I want the fire to burn me and to die sacrificing myself for the sanctification of God’s Name – at least something.”
They said to Avraham, “Perhaps Haran performed sorcery,” because Haran was the minister of the god of fire. He was a very important priest of idolatry. They said, “Maybe Haran performed sorcery, and so Avraham was not burned.” So they said, “Let’s check and throw Haran into the fire.”
Avraham Avinu entered the fire. He wanted to be burned for the sanctification of God’s Name. He said, “After I smashed the idols, I want to burn for the sanctification of God’s Name.”
“The carved images of their gods you shall burn in fire” (Devarim 7:25). Avraham had to go through this, because he was born from Terach [The Arizal wrote: “Terach was reincarnated in Iyov, and Terach’s wife – Amathlai bat Carnebo – was reincarnated in Iyov’s wife]. And Iyov is a reincarnation of Terach, who was the biggest evildoer in the world.
The Satan said: I am not willing for Avraham to descend to the world.
The Kadosh Baruch Hu said: Also I will make [as it were] a veto, and I say that Avraham will descend to the world.
[The Satan said:] Then I quit. I am working already for 2,500 years – because Avraham in the year 2,000 since the creation of the world was 52. [The Satan said:] And now they are ruining all my work — because Shuvu Banim are ruining all the work of the Satan. They are ruining it for him; he wants to quit.
The Kadosh Baruch Hu said: Avraham needs to descend to the world, but choose the most wicked man so that he will be born to him, that such an wicked man has not been since the creation of the world.
The Ari explains why he is the biggest evildoer. And he would raise Avraham Avinu – because Nimrod has just seen a dream in which one star swallows 70 stars. He asked the students what is the interpretation of the dream.
They told him: In a little while, a son will be born to Terach, and he will swallow up the entire world. He will swallow up all the stars. He will also swallow you.
Nimrod said: I don’t consent [to such a thing].
He took Amathlai bat Carnebo, Terach’s wife, and with her, he took her maidservant. She comes with her maidservant. They both were pregnant. They became pregnant that day. Nimrod said: I will wait here until she gives birth, and when she gives birth, I will throw the baby into the fire.
On the day that Amathlai gave birth to Avraham, she switched him with the son of the maidservant. So they threw the child of the maidservant into the fire, but Avraham remained alive.
Amathlai hid with Avraham three years inside a cave. There, Hashem brought out for Avraham “honey from a stone, and oil from a flinty rock.” Honey emerged for Avraham, milk and oil from the rocks, from the stones, and for three years Avraham suckled from the stone. After three years, Avraham emerged from the cave and saw the sun. He prostrated himself to the sun.
After the sun set and it was nighttime, he saw the moon. Ok, maybe the moon defeated the sun, and he prostrated himself to it. In the morning, he saw again the sun. He asked: What is happening here? Is a war going on between the sun and the moon? Sometimes this prevails, sometimes that prevails.
Avraham asked: Who is controlling the whole world here?
A Heavenly voice emerged and said: I control the world! I, the Kadosh Baruch Hu, control the world!!
Then Avraham began to work as a guard for the idols. Nimrod asked Avraham: You told customers that the idols created the world, and you shattered the idol?
Avraham laughed at everything. Nimrod said: “That’s how it is? I will throw him into fire!” Then he threw him into the fire.
Suddenly, Nimrod saw a path which the angel Gavriel made for Avraham in the fire. When Avraham emerged from the fire, Nimrod prostrated himself to him. Nimrod said about Avraham, “I have discovered another idol. I have discovered a new idol.” Instead of saying that immorality is forbidden, that you need holiness, you need modesty – no; Nimrod says I discovered a new idol.
Hashem says to Avram, “Go for yourself from your land, from your relatives, and from your father’s house” – flee from here; they have made you into an idol! But when Avraham came out of the fiery furnace, Terach repented. The Zohar says in Parshat Behar 111 that even Terach and Amathlai bat Carnebo, Avraham’s mother, repented.
Amathlai threw away all her immodest clothes. She went with pants, and now she burned the pants. She burned everything. She began to go with a long dress down to the ankle.
Even the mother and the whole generation repented. All the girls burned their immodest clothes, because Rashi says that in Charan there weren’t any kosher girls.