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Our sources mention not only the mere existence of Abraham's pious forefathers, such as Shem and Ever but their Toranic activities in the Promised land, such as Shem being a Kohen in Jerusalem and also a mysterious Yeshiva of Shem and Ever, where Yaakov studied Torah for 14 years, IIRC.

Suspiciously, despite being a family and the only Torah followers in the world, neither Abraham, not Isaac or Yaakov (besides the hiding) teamed up with them either for marriage or religious practices (like davening in Minyan or setting up a court) or converting people together, according to the open text of the Torah.

Why would Abraham, Isaac, and Yaakov completely ignore their devout Jew-ish family?

  • Since they were many generations removed, they no longer had religious families except the line that ended with Terach, That is why Yitzchak married Rivkah and Yaakov married Rachel and Leah. They were the ones of the line from Shem to Ever to Terach to Haran to Besuel. – sabbahillel Nov 9 at 19:05
  • @sabbahillel IIRC, Terach was an idolater as the rest of the family, but Shem was a Kohen and Ever had a Yeshiva. So why prefer idolatrous Terach over more religious other related families, just because they are closer genetically to Abraham? – Al Berko Nov 9 at 20:08
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    Interesting question. If we say that Avraham was busy with spreading the message of Hashem, and Shem was "hanging around" being the king of Shalem, it seems like they had different ideals. In fact, it seems that same could be said about Ever. Both Shem and Ever seem to have had a passive attitude - especially considering that it doesn't seem like they ever attempted to rein in their warring descendants (likewise Cham and Yefet). Ever built a yeshiva - whoever wanted could come, but he didn't do active outreach, while Avraham was very active. Perhaps these opposing philosophies on how to – Harel13 Nov 9 at 20:20
  • spread the Name of Hashem in the world led them to stay separate, for most of the time. I wouldn't say though that they completely ignored them. Yaakov stayed for many years in Shem and Ever's yeshiva, Rivka sought counsel from them and Avraham met Shem after the war. In fact, there are large periods of their lives the aren't mentioned in the Torah, so we don't know what happened during that time. – Harel13 Nov 9 at 20:20
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Although they didn't 'team up' through marriage, there are quite a few sources that do point to an association with them in religious practises etc.

Yalkut Shimoni, Bereishis 80 - Avraham sent for Shem to perform bris milah for him and Yishmael:

רבן גמליאל אומר שלח אברהם וקרא לשם בן נח ומל את בשר ערלתו וישמעאל בנו

Rabban Gamliel said, Avraham sent and called for Shem the son of Noach, and he (Shem) circumcised the flesh of his (Avraham's) foreskin and Yishmael his son.

Targum Yonason Bereishis 22:19 - After the Akeidah, malachim took Yitzchak and brought him to the yeshiva of Shem where he stayed for three years:

וּדְבָרוּ מַלְאֲכֵי מְרוֹמָא יַת יִצְחָק וְאוֹבִלוֹהִי לְבֵי מֶדְרָשָׁא דְשֵׁם רַבָּא וַהֲוָה תַּמָן תְּלַת שְׁנִין

And the angels upon high took Yitzchak and brought him into the beis medrash (house of learning) of Shem the Great; and he was there three years.

Alternatively, see Bereishis Rabbah 56:11 where the Midrash says on the same pasuk (22:19) that Avraham sent him to learn Torah from Shem, the reason being because - "Avraham said: ‘All that has happened to me is only because I engaged in Torah and mitzvos; so I do not want it to ever depart from my descendants.’"

Whilst you mention that Yaakov learnt by Shem and Ever for 14 years, a period that followed his flight from Esav (as mentioned in Rashi 28:11 here) there are sources that point to the fact that he already enjoyed an association with them...

When it mentions in Bereishis 25:27 that as Yaakov grew up, he was:

אִ֣ישׁ תָּ֔ם יֹשֵׁ֖ב אֹהָלִֽים׃ - And Yaakov was a simple man who dwelt in tents.

It writes in Bereishis Rabbah 63:10 that these "tents" were a reference to him learning by Shem and Ever:

וְיַעֲקֹב אִישׁ תָּם ישֵׁב אֹהָלִים, שְׁנֵי אֹהָלִים, בֵּית מִדְרָשׁוֹ שֶׁל שֵׁם וּבֵית מִדְרָשׁוֹ שֶׁל עֵבֶר

"And Yaakov was a simple man who dwelt in tents" - These were two tents; the house of learning of Shem and the house of learning of Ever.

And this wasn't the odd appearance every now and again, it was a constant to and fro. It writes in the Midrash Tanchuma (Buber edition), Vayishlach 9 that his level of ameilus (toil) was so great that he would flit from Shem's house of learning to Ever, and then from Ever's to Avraham's.

Indeed, the Seder Olam Rabbah, 1 writes that aside from learning from/attending to his grandfather Avraham, Yaakov attended to Shem for fifty years(!):

יעקב שימש את אבינו אברהם ט"ו שנה, ואת שם חמשים שנה

Yaakov attended Avraham our forefather for 15 years, and Shem for 50 years.

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Also... there are הלכות and גזירות which come from בית דינו של שם For example, yehuda paskened that tamar should be burned and in avodah zara לו it says that psak was what בי״ד of shem was גוזר

(rashi there says that yehuda’s daughter in law was shems daughter ....seems they did intermarry)

also.... the gemara says מימות אבותינו לא פסקה ישיבה מהם and the meforshim explain why not start with yeshiva of shem? and they answer ...that his yeshiva was private in his basement and the avos learned there But the avos began yeshivas to speed the torah to the the world

In summary,they did not unite, although shem was their mesora ,yet they differed a lot in the derech limud and yeshiva goals mainly in spreading G-d name to the world
(THINK chabad vs yeshivas)

PS the same reason is given ,as to why hash-em started am yisroel fro the avos and not from shem? The reason is ...because the torah is needed to be spread far and wide and the way to accomplish it is by the goal of learning being to spread g-d name

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  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review – Danny Schoemann Nov 12 at 10:00
  • hope the edit helps – user19400 Nov 13 at 1:09
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    It's a good start, I gave you +1 on the condition that you straighten it up by 1) making clear distinctive points, 2) Using Capital and small letters correctly (with names) 3) explaining what DIL or BMG are. 4) explaining the last line. – Al Berko Nov 14 at 15:55

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