Allen S. Maller

Sarah and Abraham abandon Ur’s most impressive idol

Sarah’s father was the High Priest of King Nimrud of Ur, the wealthiest and most powerful kingdom in all the lands from the Himalayan mountains in the north, to the Persian Gulf to the south.

Now King Nimrud wanted to build the biggest Temple in the world; and place in it the most impressive image of God that could be found.

He summoned Sarah’s father, the high priest, and asked him what the biggest and most impressive image of God should be made of; wood, stone or metal?

Sarah’s father replied that stone would be the most permanent, a fine grained wood could be the most beautiful, and a metal like gold would be the most expensive.

The king and his advisors talked and talked, but they could not agree on what material would make the most impressive image of God.

While they were talking, Sarah, who had come along with her father, told him that she thought it did not matter what the material was because God is a spiritual being who we can not see; but who we can feel when we do the good, kind and charitable deeds God requires of us.

The most impressive image of God, should simply show many different people helping each other, because God wants people to be kind and loving to one another.

Her father said that he had often told the king all those things, but the king preferred to impress everyone with the power and wealth of his religion.

While Sarah and her father were talking, the king suddenly announced that he had decided that the most impressive image of God would be either a very tall wooden stature with gold paint and a crown of jewels, or a very large stone statue of marble and granite with eyes of jade.

Since there were already tens of thousands of statues of the many hundreds of different Gods throughout the world; the king decided that he would send his two top generals to search out the two best idols in the world; and bring them to the city of Ur where King Nimrud was building the world’s biggest Temple.

The king would then select the one he liked best, and place it on top of the Temple.

Then he would destroy the other idol, so his idol would be the unchallenged most impressive image of God in the world.

One general and his army would head northeast to the Himalaya mountains seeking the best stone idol; and the other general and his army would go southwest to the shores of the Persian gulf seeking the very best wooden idol.

In seven years the building of the biggest Temple in the world would be done.

The generals would have to be back before then; so the king could choose which of the two best idols should live on top of the world’s biggest Temple and be the most impressive image of God in the world; and which idol should be destroyed because it was only second best.

The first general searched throughout the lands at the foot of the Himalayan mountains and then up on the mountains themselves.

He found many beautiful statues of many different Gods. But he kept thinking there would be a better one somewhere ahead.

Then he heard that the most beautiful stone image of God was hidden deep in a cave near the top of one of the highest of the Himalayan mountains. Only the king of that mountain knew where the cave was, and he would tell no one.

The general disguised himself as a religious scholar and went to visit the king, who invited him to stay at the palace.

After several months the king’s only daughter fell in love with disguised general; and the two of them were married,

Soon afterward the king’s daughter became pregnant and then gave birth to a baby boy.

Now the general had been telling the princes even before they were married that as a religious scholar, he would love to worship the extremely beautiful idol that was hidden in the secret cave that was some where in the mountains.

She kept telling him that she did not know where the cave was; and her father would never share the secret with anyone.

But after she gave birth, her husband demanded that she find out the next time when her father was going to leave to visit the cave, or he would leave her and the baby and never return.

Afraid of being abandoned, she did what he told her, and one night when the king secretly left the palace, the general was able to follow him and discovered the secret cave.

A few weeks later he told everyone that he was going on a special pilgrimage to the city of Ur, and would return in 40 days.

During that time the general returned to his army base, selected 50 very strong soldiers and led them to the secret cave where they lifted up the very large, beautiful idol made of marble and granite, and secretly made their way down the mountain.

Meanwhile, the second general who had searched all the lands to the southwest until he reached the Persian gulf, had heard about a giant redwood tree that had recently floated to the shore from who knows where.

When he saw it, the general noticed that after all the months the tree had spent tossing in the ocean, it’s wood was now very smooth and heavily encrusted with salt; and thus the beautiful wood now sparkled like a diamond.

But even though he had 500 soldiers with him, they were not strong enough by themselves to lift the giant redwood tree out of the water and carry it back to the city of Ur; where it could be carved into the most impressive image of God in the world.

So he used his soldiers to capture all the villages near the tree. Then he enslaved all the men and the woman, and forced them pull the giant tree out of the water, and then carry it for hundreds of miles over farmlands and deserts.

After several months, and after the deaths of many thousands of the slaves, the general and the giant tree were crossing a desert more than halfway to King Nimrud’s Temple.

At the same time in the Himalayas, the first general’s 50 soldiers had carried the stolen marble and granite stature more than half way down the mountain.

Suddenly it started to rain. The rocks became wet and slippery. The soldiers lost control of the marble and granite statute, and it tumbled down the side of a cliff, and broke in hundreds of pieces.

In the desert, a terrible sand storm started to blow. The soldiers and the slaves could hardly breath and they ran away from the tree. The tree and everything for miles around was buried under tons and tons of sand. They never found the tree again.

King Nimrud finished his giant Temple (called a Ziggurat) which towered over everything else, and could be seen for miles around.

But, it did not have on its top the most impressive image of God in the world.

While the two generals were searching for the most impressive image of God, Sarah had met and married Abraham, a man who had beliefs about God that were similar to Sarah’s.

Sarah wanted to get far away from the two generals; especially because one had enslaved people and worked them to death; and the other had abandoned his wife and child in order to steal another man’s religious relic for King Nimrud and his stupid ideas about God and religion.

She convinced her father in law Terah to leave Ur and return to Terah’s home town in Haran far in the west.

Over many centuries, Sarah and Abraham’s belief that there was only one God who had created everything, and that it was wrong to make any image of any thing and worship it as a representation of God; turned out be the most impressive image of the imageless God.

And the imageless One, became the most impressive image of God in the world, as it is to this very day.

About the Author
Rabbi Allen S. Maller has published over 850 articles on Jewish values in over a dozen Christian, Jewish, and Muslim magazines and web sites. Rabbi Maller is the author of "Tikunay Nefashot," a spiritually meaningful High Holy Day Machzor, two books of children's short stories, and a popular account of Jewish Mysticism entitled, "God, Sex and Kabbalah." His most recent books are "Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms' and "Which Religion Is Right For You?: A 21st Century Kuzari" both available on Amazon.