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One of the more famous achievements of Avraham was his discovery in a single God. However there is no mention of this accomplishment anywhere in the Torah. In fact there is no conclusive proof that he was a monotheist anywhere in the simple text of the Torah. Why is Avraham's discovery and belief in a single God not recorded in the Torah itself?

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Bereishit 15:6? – Isaac Moses May 6 '13 at 4:35
Abraham's famous achievement was not the discovery of a single God. Adam, Noah and others certainly already knew of the unity of God. In fact, during Abraham's and his children's lifetime Shem and Ever had a "Yeshiva" (whatever that means) which was dedicated to the service and study of the single God. His achievement was a practical and ethical monotheism which professed the idea that one could be a spiritual individual while also engaging in the physical world and which obligates an adherent to a certain lifestyle of ethics. – Adam Simon May 6 '13 at 4:42
@AdamSimon, I think it can. Of course, sources for your claims would vastly improve it. – msh210 May 6 '13 at 4:55
@AdamSimon, I think that could be a good answer if it: 1) backs up its assertion about Avraham's chief achievement with sources, and 2) either indicates where this achievement is documented in the Torah (thus undermining the question) or explains why it isn't (thus answering the question) – Isaac Moses May 6 '13 at 4:55
@AdamSimon (Also note that mods are not the only people to ask. We only try and do what others tell us, and are always willing to change an action based on community input.) – Double AA May 6 '13 at 5:29

Its strongly implied in Yehoshuah, in his final speech to the people (ch. 24):

'וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶל-כָּל-הָעָם, כֹּה-אָמַר יְ'ה'וָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, בְּעֵבֶר הַנָּהָר יָשְׁבוּ אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם מֵעוֹלָם, תֶּרַח אֲבִי אַבְרָהָם וַאֲבִי נָחוֹר; וַיַּעַבְדוּ, אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים. וָאֶקַּח אֶת-אֲבִיכֶם אֶת-אַבְרָהָם, מֵעֵבֶר הַנָּהָר, וָאוֹלֵךְ אֹתוֹ, בְּכָל-אֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן; וארב (וָאַרְבֶּה), אֶת-זַרְעוֹ, וָאֶתֶּן-לוֹ, אֶת-יִצְחָק.

While Terach served other gods, God took Avraham away from that, which implies that Avraham rejected polytheism and just served God. Yehoshuah then ends off with a choice to the people - do they return to the idolatry of their fathers across the river or do they serve God?

וְעַתָּה יְראוּ אֶת-יְ'ה'וָה, וְעִבְדוּ אֹתוֹ--בְּתָמִים וּבֶאֱמֶת; וְהָסִירוּ אֶת-אֱלֹהִים, אֲשֶׁר עָבְדוּ אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם בְּעֵבֶר הַנָּהָר וּבְמִצְרַיִם, וְעִבְדוּ, אֶת-יְ'ה'וָה. וְאִם רַע בְּעֵינֵיכֶם לַעֲבֹד אֶת-יְ'ה'וָה, בַּחֲרוּ לָכֶם הַיּוֹם אֶת-מִי תַעֲבֹדוּן--אִם אֶת-אֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר-עָבְדוּ אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר בעבר (מֵעֵבֶר) הַנָּהָר, וְאִם אֶת-אֱלֹהֵי הָאֱמֹרִי אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם יֹשְׁבִים בְּאַרְצָם; וְאָנֹכִי וּבֵיתִי, נַעֲבֹד אֶת-יְ'ה'וָה.

The people then affirm they choose 'ה since he is our God:

גַּם-אֲנַחְנוּ נַעֲבֹד אֶת-יְ'ה'וָה, כִּי-הוּא אֱלֹהֵינוּ...

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it does allude that he was thrown into a furnace at Ur Kasdim for his refusal to worship idols. as the midrash expounds the verse, "When Terah had lived seventy years, he begot Abraham, Nahor and Haran... Haran died in the presence of Terah his father, in his native land, in Ur Kasdim" (Genesis 11:26-29).

Furthermore, that God chose to grant him prophecy and chose in him and his descendants to perpetuate Judaism certainly implies he believed in monotheism which is the cornerstone of judaism

Furthermore, the talmud (yoma 28b) says that Avraham kept the whole torah as it says: "Because that Abraham hearkened to My voice kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws" (Bereishis 26:5). And belief in monotheism is the cornerstone of Judaism as the introduction to shaar yichud of chovos halevavos explains. So certainly he must have kept that.

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"it does allude that he was thrown into a furnace at Ur Kasdim" -- Where, exactly? The verses that you quoted don't say anything about a furnace. Much of what we know about Abraham is from the midrash or Talmud, not from the Bible itself. – Jason May 6 '13 at 21:06
@Jason Ur can mean fire. That's presumably what the Midrash is basing itself on. I believe a version of the fire story is present in other early sources, like Jubilees, as well. – Double AA May 6 '13 at 22:01
This is a very circular answer. How do we know from the Torah that the founder of Judaism believed in monotheism? Because Judaism believes in monotheism. – Double AA May 6 '13 at 22:04
@DoubleAA "Ur can mean fire" -- OK, fine, perhaps that's where the midrash comes from. But that doesn't infer any of Abraham's beliefs directly; it is still based on extratextual evidence. Where is the direct link? The OP is interested in where Abraham's theological beliefs are reflected in the p'shat, not in a deeper interpretation. – Jason May 6 '13 at 22:57
@DoubleAA Judaism believes in monotheism from the shema. dont think anyone an argue with that. Now, avraham was chosen as the progenitor of judaism by God since he kept all of Judaism as in the above verse. So obviously he must have kept its cornerstone also. – ray May 7 '13 at 5:16

I remember reading (I think it was in Likkutei Sichos, will bring a source IY"H) that the Torah's focus on Avraham starts with Lech Lecha since that it the first place where he does something because Hashem said so. His discovery of Hashem, his being thrown into a fire, etc. were as a result of his own quest.

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The monotheism of Avraham Avinu was not as opposed to the Christian idea of Trinity. It was as opposed to idol worship. That was the polytheism which existed. Worshiping God is a completely different paradigm from idol worship. The fact that he worshiped God is clear in many places.

His unique achievements are that he came to this conclusion on his own, far from Shem. But more importantly, he actively spread God's name. This we see in the Pasuk in Bereishis 12:5 that Avraham took along the souls that he made. Rashi quotes the Medrash that he taught them and converted them. In Mishlei 11:31 it is used the same way, as Rashi points out there. We also find this unique praise about Avraham that he will pass the faith down.

The Medrash on Noach 30.10 describes Avraham as holding the light for Hashem, based on the Pasuk, "Walk before Me". Holding the light to Hashem means bringing Him into this world.

The Gemara in Brachos points out that Avraham was the first to call Hashem by the name of א-ד-נ-י. This shown us that he did indeed have a unique and new approach. He is the first to introduce Hashem into the world as its immediate, reachable, and personal Boss. This, as opposed to Malki Tzedek who referred to Hashem as the High and Mighty.

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