Assuming the view that Avraham was not a Jew (see here and here1), "ha-nefesh asher asu beCharan" (Gen. 12:5) that Rashi explains were converts, what did they convert to?

To give credit where credit is due; my question was inspired by this one.
1 I'm using these as sources until I find better ones....if you can help me with this please comment!

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    Noahidism or monotheism Jun 20, 2014 at 21:14
  • this gives some perspective of what he did at first chabad.org/global/popup/default_cdo/aid/2615/jewish/… probably more to it though, he also had a yeshiva where he taught torah
    – ray
    Jun 24, 2014 at 17:38
  • Isn't the answer obvious?; Avraham came to believe in the One G'd; HaShem (Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey); so also the souls that came with him (seems to be people who could identify themselves with Avraham's way of life; and that's probably the reason the word for souls/persons is used here: nefesh).
    – Levi
    Jul 15, 2016 at 20:15
  • In the Artscroll Bereishis Rabbah there are several insights on the topic of whether the Avos were considered Jewish or Bnei Noach. I don't have any of the volumes here, but if you have access to them you could take a look at their comments to this passuk and see if anything there helps.
    – DonielF
    Sep 15, 2016 at 3:16

2 Answers 2


Avraham followed the faith of Shem and Ever. It was the same monotheism which had been transmitted by Adam in a continuous chain like is found in commentary of the Ohr HaChayim on Vayechi 49.

והנכון בעיני הוא כי האבות קבלו התורה משם שקבל מנח שקבל מחנוך שקבל מאדם הראשון. אשר למדה מפי הגבורה דכתיב אז ראה וגו' ויאמר לאדם, (זהר ח"א קצט.) ושבאמצעותה צוהו לעבוד גן עדן וכמו שפירשתי בפסוק (לעיל ב' ט"ו) לעבדה ולשמרה. אך לא נצטוה אלא על ז' מצות שאם יעבור עליהם יהרג אבל שאר התורה קרוב לשכר אם יעשה ורחוק מן ההפסד אם לא יקיים,

This is also discussed in the beginning of Sefer Raziel HaMalach, Sefer Chanoch, Sefer Noach and is the subject of Sefer Yetzirah.

Starting particularly with the generation of Enosh, many people studied the traditions less and became confused. They started to believe in polytheism and to worship idols. This is also how it is explained by Rambam in chapter 1 of Hilchot Avodat Kochavim in the Mishnah Torah.

  • Rashb"i is quoted in the gemara as considering Sefer Chanoch to be a heretical work. Aug 14, 2016 at 18:43
  • Citation? Although, just for the record, there are 3 other Seforim mentioned. And you are assuming whatever Sefer that may be referenced in your citation, if you have one, is the same Sefer Chanoch that I am bringing from. Aug 14, 2016 at 18:56
  • For what it's worth, I just did a word search for "ספר חנוך" through both Shas Bavli & Yerushalmi and got zero hits. Aug 14, 2016 at 19:02
  • @NoachMiFrankfurt if you would like a more accurate idea of Sefer Chanoch, check out Vol.1 of הספרים החיצונים by Avraham Kahane, the introduction 'על ספרות חנוך'. Aug 14, 2016 at 19:31
  • And in keeping with that, Bereshit Rabbah, 25:1 Aug 14, 2016 at 19:40

The most main stream view that I know of is that they converted to "Hebrew" Monotheism, because Avrahom was a Hebrew.

  • What do you mean avraham converted to hebrew i dont see any related hebrew as a relidlgion
    – Yamin
    Jun 15, 2016 at 14:54
  • Noachide "religion" with many other aspects of what would come to be Judaism, i.e. Bentching, morning prayers etc.,. Jun 16, 2016 at 14:48

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