“And Haran died in the presence of his father Terach.” (Gen. 11:28)
Rabbi Hiyya said: Abraham's father, Terach, was an idol-manufacturer. Once he had to travel, so he left Abraham to manage the shop. People would come in and ask to buy idols. Abraham would say, "How old are you?" The person would say, "Fifty," or "Sixty". Abraham would say, "Isn't it pathetic that a man of sixty wants to bow down to a one-day-old idol?" The man would feel ashamed and leave.
One time a woman came with a basket of bread. She said to Abraham, "Take this and offer it to the gods".
Abraham got up, took a hammer in his hand, broke all the idols to pieces, and then put the hammer in the hand of the biggest idol among them.
When his father came back and saw the broken idols, he was appalled. "Who did this?" he cried. Abraham said: "What can I hide from you? A woman came with a basket of bread and told me to offer it to them. I brought it in front of them, and each one said, "I'm going to eat first." Then the biggest one got up, took the hammer and broke all the others to pieces."
What are you trying to pull on me?" asked Terach, "These things have no consciousness!"
Said Abraham: "Do your ears hear what your own mouth is saying?!”
So he took him and turned him over to Nimrod. Nimrod said to him: “Let us worship fire!”
Abraham said to him, "Let us worship water, since water extinguishes fire."
Nimrod said, "Let us worship water!"
"In that case, we should worship the clouds, since they carry water."
Nimrod said, "Let us worship the clouds!"
"Then we should worship the wind, since it drives the clouds across the sky."
"Yes, we should worship the wind [ruach -- air, spirit.]"
"Let us worship human beings, for humans can withstand the wind."
"You're just playing with words," cried Nimrod. "I worship only fire [ur], and I am going to throw you into it! Let the God you worship come along and save you from it!"
Haran was hiding, and was of two minds, saying to himself: if Abraham is victorious, I will say I am with Abraham, and if Nimrod is victorious, I will say I am with Nimrod. When Abraham was thrown into the fiery furnace and saved, they asked [Haran]: who are you with? He replied: I am with Abraham. They took him and threw him into the fire [ur], and his insides burned up and he died in front of his father Terah, as it says: "And Haran died [lit., in the face] of his father Terach."