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November 02, 1984 - Image 78

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-11-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

78

Friday, November 2, 1984

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

NEW
SUNDAY
HOURS
Idolatry
" 1"°6P.m.
GAYNORS

"Where Fit is Foremost"

Kosins

Uptown

Southfield Rd. at
111/2 Mile • 559-3900

11

Big & Tall

With this week's Scriptural
portion, we commence reading
about the life of Abraham, our
first Patriarch. If I were to ask
anyone to describe Abraham's
early life, doubtless, -stories con-
cerning Abraham's fearless
struggle against the idolatry of
his age would be retold. Strangely
enough however, the Bible omits
entirely any mention of Ab-
raham's childhood or young
adulthood, and the account of Ab-
raham's life begins with a corn-

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ENDORSED BY

then and now

BY RABBI JAMES I. GORDON
Special to The Jewish News

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mand issued to him by God to
leave "his land, his birthplace and
his kindred" for an unrevealed
destination.
The rabbinic legends which
characterize Abraham's early life
are replete with incidents con-
cerning Abraham's staunch faith
in the one, true God, and the war
he waged against the convictions
and beliefs of his times. It was not
the form or content of the idolatr-
ous religions to which Abraham
objected most strenuously; it was
the denial of truth which exasper-
ated him the most. It was the
self-delusion and self-deception of
idolatry which irked him.
For example, in one of the
legends, we find Abraham in the
role of an idol salesman. When
approached by a woman for a par-
ticular type of idol, Abraham
asked her. "How old are you?"
"Why, I am 50 years of age," an-
swered the woman. "How ridicul-
ous it is," retorted Abraham, that
a woman who has seen 50 years of
life should bow down to an idol
which was made only yesterday."
It is this type of "fooling oneself'
that was characteristic of idol
worship to which Abraham most
vehemently protested.

In truth, however, one might
almost sympathize with the
idolators of old. Steeped in mis-
conceptions, they failed to grasp
the lofty God idea which insisted
that there was one supreme ruler
over the entire universe and to
Him alone must one pay homage.
As a result, they felt a need for a
more primitive type of worship.
They adored and served idols
which, in the words of the Psal-
mist, "have a mouth but speak
not, have eyes but see not, and
have ears but hear not."
Abraham endeavored to con-
vince the idolators of their false
beliefs and to raise their eyes
heavenward. But, of course, Ab-
raham was very much alone in his
convictions during his time. Reli-
gious thought and concepts have
developed, however, with the
ages. The God idea in Judaism has
taken hold of man's spirit, and
now, most of the world, be it
through Judaism, Christianity or
Mohammedanism, adheres to the
belief in a Father in Heaven. It
would seem that, as a result,
idolatry would disappear from the
scene, that the senselessness and
idiocy of worshipping false gods
would be obvious; that man,

About Rabbi Gordon .

Rabbi James I. Gordon has
been the spiritual leader of the
Young Israel of Oak-Woods for
the past 21 years. He is one of
the founders of Akiva Hebrew
Day School and served as
chairman of its Education
Committee for the first ten
years of its existence.
Currently, Rabbi Gordon is
vice president of the Council of
Orthodox Rabbis of Metropoli-
tan Detroit and a member of
the presidium of the Religious
Zionists of Detroit (Mizrachi).
He is a member of the govern-
ing board of Jewish Welfare
Federation and serves on its
Commission on Education and
Culture. He is a past member
of the National Rabbinic Advi-
sory Council of the United
Jewish Appeal and is a former
chairman of the Metropolitan
Division and a past chairman
of the Synagogue and School
Section of the Allied Jewish
Campaign.

Rabbi Gordon has served on
the executive committee of
Jewish Community Council
and is now a member of the
executive of Jewish National
Fund. He is a former national
vice president of the Rabbini-
cal Council of America and is
currently a regional vice
president of the Rabbinic
Alumni of Yeshiva University.
He is a former national
president of the American
Association of Correctional
Chaplains.
He served as a former editor
of the Rabbinical Council of
America's Sermon Manual and
is a contributor to many jour-
nals on Jewish thought.
Rabbi Gordon attended Bos-
tin Latin School and received

• •

Rabbi James Gordon

his B.A. from Yeshiva Univer-
sity. He was ordained by the
Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theolog-
ical Seminary of Yeshiva Uni-
versity. He holds a graduate
degree in counseling from Ore-
gon State College and an M.A.
in psychology, with a certifi-
cate in marriage counseling,
from the University of Detroit.
He was the principal of Pro-
vidence Hebrew Day School in
Rhode Island; served congre-
gations in Portland, Ore. and
Elmira, N.Y.; and was Hebrew
chaplain of the New York State
Reformatory in Elmira before
joining Young Israel of Oak-
Woods in 1963.
Mrs. Gordon is the former
Malka Susskind of the Bronx,
New York. Rabbi and Mrs.
Gordon have four children and
two grandchildren.

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