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The sefer, Prashas Derachim, says that according to the Rishonim – who opine that Avraham had the status of a Yisrael – Avraham acted correctly by not transgressing.

The Nimukei Yosef (Sanhedrin 18a) says that although one may not give up his life for other mitzvos (aside from not practicing avodah zarah, murder, and arayos), if an adam gadol – a chassid and yirei shamayim – sees that the generation is parutz in a certain area he may give up his life for that particular cause so that his generation will learn from him.

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Perhaps we can apply this to Avraham Avinu who, whether he had the status of a ben Noach and therefore should not have allowed himself to be killed for this aveirah or if he had the status of a Yisrael and attempted to kill himself, saw that the entire world was lacking in any knowledge of Hashem and therefore felt the need to make a statement in order to teach the world that there is a God. Hence he was permitted to go into the fire to pronounce to the world that there is a God.

For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.

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Rabbi Fuchs learned in Yeshivas Toras Moshe, where he became a close talmid of Rav Michel Shurkin, shlit”a. While he was there he received semicha from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, shlit”a. He then learned in Mirrer Yeshiva in Brooklyn, and became a close talmid of Rav Shmuel Berenbaum, zt”l. Rabbi Fuchs received semicha from the Mirrer Yeshiva as well. After Rav Shmuel’s petira Rabbi Fuchs learned in Bais Hatalmud Kollel for six years. He is currently a Shoel Umaishiv in Yeshivas Beis Meir in Lakewood, and a Torah editor and weekly columnist at The Jewish Press.