“Sepher Yetzirah,” as we saw above, describes the laws of the universe as an objective reality, but does not discuss the ability to change anything. Another source, the midrash about the dispute of Avraham and Nimrod (B'reshith Rabba, 38), tells about this ability. It is no accident that both “Sepher Yetzirah” and this midrash are associated with Avraham's name, for they seem to supplement each other.
Here is a summary of the midrash. Nimrod commands Avraham to worship the fire. Avraham replied, “Does not the water put out the fire?” Nimrod offers to worship the water, on which Avraham notes, “The cloud carries the water.” Nimrod agrees and offers to worship the cloud. Avraham continues, “The wind (Ruah) scatters the clouds.” And on an offer to worship the wind, he objects, “The human withstands the wind.” Nimrod does not stand up and orders to throw Avraham into the fire, but Avraham goes out of the fiery furnace alive and unharmed.
Before we proceed to the analysis of the midrash, I remind you that as far back as Rambam, he warned against a literal understanding of Haggadah (Midrash) on one side and a neglectful relation to it on the other (see the preface to “Pereq Helek”).
Now let's try to ponder the meaning of our midrash. What does the offering to worship the fire mean? To fall on one's knees in front of a candle or to bow to a gas burner? It is clear that here it is speaking about recognizing the power of the Fire Element, that is, about the metaphysical root of the physical fire. Similarly, all other terms used in the dispute by forefather Avraham, should be understood not as physical forces of nature, but as their metaphysical roots, and they should be written with a capital letter: Fire, Water, Cloud, Ruah (Wind), Human. Do it seem strange to you that all three, — Fire, Water, Ruah, — elements of the universe are present here (according to “Sepher Yetzirah”)? I draw your attention also to another oddity, which emphasizes the absurdity of a literal understanding of the midrash. Is the human body really the most successful thing to withstand the wind? Is a tree or a brick house not better in this regard? What does the cloud indicate? I do not know. Possibly, it corresponds to the eastern Tree Element, which also has an ability to carry water. And it's possible that the cloud is only a literary device used to make the story concise in its simple perception. (We should not forget that an external form of this kind of Jewish wisdom is legend, proverb, fairy tale.)
We see that both the worldview of Nimrod and the worldview of Avraham are based on the same foundation of teaching about the basic elements of the universe. Their positions differ in only one way and that is in the question of the abilities of the human. Can a human influence the metaphysical processes? Avraham's answer is yes! This idea is not obvious for Nimrod. In his opinion, it is logical for Avraham to confirm his rightness with an experiment, because if the idea is true, it should work in the same way both on the metaphysical and on the physical level (remember the Maharitz's words that אמ"ש operates on every level).
Avraham's victory in the dispute with Nimrod gives us a hope that a human can change his energy nature. By the way, this midrash has a supplement. “After Avraham came from the furnace unharmed, Haran (his brother) entered into the fire and was burned up there.” Perhaps this end hints at the fact that only faith (in the human's ability to change his energy nature) is not enough, but that he also needs to possess the knowledge of how to do this.