VaYishlach (And Jacob Sent) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion
TORAH : GENESIS 32:3-36:43
PROPHETS : HOSEA 11:7-12:12, OBADIAH 1:1-21
GOSPEL : MATTHEW 2:13-23
About the Weekly Torah Portion
From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world. This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage.
We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will highlight specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel.
The Haftarah, unless otherwise noted, will be that read in Ashkenazy synagogues around the world.
The readings for this week 26 November — 2 December 2017 are called VaYishlach—“And He Sent”:
*Genesis 32:3. “Then Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom.” The word translated “messengers” is mal’akh, the same as that translated “angels” two verses earlier. “Angels” is an English word used to designate heavenly messengers; these are human messengers of Jacob.
*Genesis 32:9-10. “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the LORD, who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you,’ I am not worthy of the least of all the loving kindnesses and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies.”
As we have often mentioned, “Loving kindness and Truth” (Hebrew: chesed and emet) form a pairing of divine attributes and blessings which appear many times throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. A Modern Hebrew translation of John 1:17 reads (English paraphrase), “For the Torah was given through Moshe, chesed and emet [loving kindness and truth] came through Yeshua the Messiah.” Please pray for discovery, revelation and understanding among the Jewish people of the presence of Yeshua (Jesus) throughout their holy writings (Luke 24:44-45)—a recognition that He was Himself present with the Patriarchs and throughout all of the history of the Hebrews! Nor will He ever leave them nor forsake them (I Corinthians 10:1-4; Hebrews 13:5).
*Genesis 32:24, 28. “Then Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of day…So he said to him, ‘What is your name?’ He said, ‘Jacob’ And he said, ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with [mortal] men, and have prevailed.’”
There are no upper/lower cases in Hebrew, so “man” and “he” are not capitalized as they appear in many Christian Bibles. This Genesis passage says that Jacob struggled with a “man” (Heb: ish). The Hosea passage printed below calls the being an “angel” (mal’akh)…but remember, mal’akh means “messenger” and need not always refer to a created heavenly being. Since verse 24 can be interpreted to mean that this particular struggle took place with God (Elohim), the Church has traditionally held that Jacob was here struggling with a pre-incarnate form of the God-Man Yeshua (Jesus)—a Messenger from the Father.
“Israel” here means, “He struggles with God”—while “Jacob” is related to struggle with man. The names are used interchangeably throughout the rest of the Hebrew Bible—and Israel and his seed have continued to struggle, both with God and man. Yet when Jacob was allowed to “prevail with God” it was not on behalf of his old desires, but for the favor of sanctification which would change what he could not change himself. In using this incident as an aid to prayer for Israel today, we would encourage you to use the following related passage from Hosea 12:3-6:
“He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and in his strength he struggled with God. Yes, he struggled with the angel and prevailed; He wept, and sought favour from him. He found him in Bethel, and there He spoke to us—that is, the LORD God of Armies. YHVH is His memorable name. So you, by the help of your God, return; observe mercy and justice, and wait on your God continually.”
A Messianic Hebrew song Panim el Panim—“Face to Face” draws from this Genesis passage to express a prayer—both for one’s self personally and for Israel:
I will not send you away (let you go) until You bless me
Change my name to Your name
Make my heart like Your heart
Face to Face I want to see You
Face to Face, Adonai
Face to Face with Your Son
Face to Face I want to see You, Lord!
Translation of-Panim el Panim by Dani Sayag, © 2002
*Genesis 33:18-19. “And Jacob came safely (Hebrew: shalem—“whole”) to the city of Shechem…and he pitched his tent before the city. And he bought the parcel of land, where he had pitched his tent, from the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money.”
As with Abraham and Isaac, Jacob was not allowed to inherit any of the Land of Canaan, even a “foot of ground” (Acts 7:5; Hebrews 11:8-9). God gave the land to them—but it was to the seed which was in them—and would multiply into a people who would return to the Land over 400 years later (and 4000 years later!). Not only that, with that Godly spiritual inheritance, would come blessing for all families of the earth. That was what they trusted in, what had been promised to be given to them by God. Therefore, they could not receive it as gifts from the people in the land (Genesis 23:11-13). They could purchase, but not receive—that must come from God.
As we mentioned a few weeks ago, those places where the Patriarchs and David purchased land tend to be centers of fierce spiritual contention to this day. From the rape of Dinah in the following chapter and the bloody massacre which follows, through the dreadful events of Judges 9, to King Rehoboam’s decision there to discipline his subjects “with scorpions” (I Kings 12:14 NASB), to the days of Hosea (Hosea 6:9: “As bands of robbers lie in wait for a man, so the company of priests murder on the way to Shechem; surely they commit lewdness”), the city of Shechem (modern-day Nablus) has long been associated with violence. During the Second Intifada at the beginning of the last decade, it was a hot-bed for terrorism against Israel. Yet it is also the first place where Abraham is recorded as having stopped after arriving in Canaan (Genesis 12:6). The LORD (YHVH) appeared to him there and promised the land to his seed, “and there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.” It would be the location where Joseph’s bones would be brought and buried (Joshua 24:32); and where Yeshua Himself would have a meeting with a woman at the well Jacob had dug there (John 4). Presently, the Palestinian city of Nablus flourishes at the site, and there are several Jewish settlements nearby. In the early days of the second Intifada, Jews were driven out of the site of Joseph’s Tomb, which was desecrated and burned. Today it may be visited by Jews only with an armed Israeli guard. Almost certainly this Palestinian city and the Jewish settlements near it would be a big issue in any proposed peace settlement in the future.
PLEASE PRAY: That the power of violence be broken over Shechem/Nablus—and, as with the Samaritans in Jesus’ day (John 4:42), its present Arab inhabitants be brought into the Kingdom of the Prince of Peace. Pray that the altars of Abraham and Jacob to the LORD be restored there—that the wells of living water which Yeshua spoke of at Jacob’s well, would spring up to Arab and Jew alike.
Psalm 60:6 and 108:7 prophesy “God has spoken in His holiness; ‘I will exult, I will portion out Shechem . . !’”
*Genesis 33:20. “Then he erected an altar there and called it El Elohei Yisrael.” We have found many names of God revealed thus far in Canaan—El Elyon (God Most High), El Shaddai (God Almighty), El Roi (The God who Sees), Elohei-Avraham (the Abraham-God). But this name…Elohei-Yisrael, the “Israel-God” is the one which will be used most hereafter. God has chosen sovereignly to identify His name with Israel (Jacob) and his descendants; in the Prophets to come He will often identify Himself with this name. Muslims identify their deity with Ishmael (Their religion teaches that it was Ishmael, not Isaac, whom Allah asked Abraham to sacrifice), thus cutting themselves off from the Covenant which the Most High God made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel). He is the LORD (YHVH) God of Israel, and it is to Him that all of us, whatever our lineage must come.
PLEASE PRAY: grace for revelation and humility among both Jews and Muslims in Israel to bow to the one true God, who has Himself chosen to be identified with Israel (Jacob) and his seed.
*Genesis 35:1-2, 5. “Then God said to Jacob, ‘Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother. And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments…And they journeyed, and the terror of God was upon the cities that were all around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob.”
Jacob came “in wholeness”—a new man with a new name, to Shechem (see Gen. 13:18-19 above)…but his “house” was not whole. Hidden gods, perhaps originally brought by Abram’s father from Ur, had been smuggled from the house of Laban. Obviously, there were various other gods used as jewelry which had been brought along by his children and servants. The presence of these idols had caused a great breach in the spiritual protection of the family, occasioning violation (Dina), cruel and senseless violence and murder (Shimon and Levi) and perhaps even eventually resulting in the death of Rachel herself. For the “family” of Israel to be made “whole”—for the family’s spiritual armor to be made sound, all of this had to be dealt with—they must bring out into the light and “put away” the foreign gods which were among them. After this was done, Israel and his entire family could move boldly and swiftly through the land, and the darkness parted before them.
Only the God YHVH (Yehovah) had been a shield for Abraham in this spiritually dark and violent land (Genesis 15:1-2)—and only the same God would be protection for his grandson Israel and his seed. The same holds true today. Yet it is interesting that the personal name YHVH is not used in this passage (Genesis 35:1-15), rather the names El and Elohim (“God”), and El Shaddai (Gen. 35:11—“God-Almighty who nourishes all life”). HE, as opposed to all the gods in Canaan and those which some of Jacob’s entourage had brought from Haran, was the only true God. As the “Almighty” (Shaddai), He had made covenant with Jacob’s grandfather Abraham (Gen. 17:1-2). It was as El Shaddai that Jacob had been blessed by his father Isaac when he departed for Aram (Genesis 28:3). It was in that name that God would release fruitfulness over Jacob and his family now that they were in the Land. It was as El Shaddai—God Almighty—that God would continue to be known until the time of Moses (Exodus 6:3).
PLEASE PRAY: For the conviction of the Holy Spirit in Israel to turn from idols and turn to the Living God for cleansing and clothing in righteousness. Pray especially for holiness in leadership in the Body of Messiah here. Clothed in that, the Terror of God will cause darkness to flee as they advance through the Land!
*Genesis 35:16 (ESV). “Then they journeyed from Bethel. When they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel went into labor…so Rachel died, and she was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is Bethlehem), and Jacob set up a pillar over her tomb.”
The Hebrew, which plainly has Rachel’s tomb being “some distance from” Bethlehem, has been explained away by religious Jews who insist that a building adjacent to the edge of the town is her resting place. That place has become a place of pilgrimage, and much superstitious and occult tradition amongst ultra-Orthodox Jews. I Samuel 10:2 strongly implies that some 800 years later in Samuel’s day, Rachel’s tomb was assumed to be “in the territory of Benjamin” a number of miles to the north, while still being “on the way [from Bethel] to Ephrath (that is Bethlehem).
ESAU, EDOM, AMALEK AND THE SPIRIT OF ISLAM
*Genesis 36:12. “Now Timna was the concubine of Eliphaz, Esau’s son, and she bore Amalek to Eliphaz. These were the sons of Adah, Esau’s wife.” Chapter 36 is dedicated to the genealogy of Esau, “father of the Edomites” (vs 9). Central in that race would be the descendants of Amalek (36:12, 16). As has been mentioned previously, Amalek in Scripture typifies a covenant-hating spirit which is the root of anti-Semitism. It would be “Amalek” who would first attack Israel after she came forth out of the Red Sea (Exodus 17:8), and against whom God would swear continual war until the name was blotted out from under heaven (17:14). It would be Amalek who would pick off stragglers in Israel’s rear when they were tired and weary (Deuteronomy 25:17-18). When Saul refused to follow God’s commandment and spared the Amalekite Agag (I Samuel 15:9), he would be severely rebuked by Samuel, lose his Kingship, and according to one report, be eventually slain by an Amalekite (II Samuel I:8, 13). And in the book of Esther, we see that the architect of a proposed annihilation of the Jews in the Persian kingdom was none other than Haman—the Agagite, a descendant of Amalek. Down through Jewish history to the present day, Amalek has been seen as a spirit which continues to come against God’s covenant—especially His covenant-people Israel…a spirit with which both Israel and YHVH, the God of Israel are at war until it is destroyed (Exodus 17:8-15; Deuteronomy 25:17-19).
The Haftarah reading for this week is the Book of Obadiah…a grim prophecy of judgment on Edom, “for violence against your brother Jacob.” (Ezekiel 35:5 attributes this violence to “an ancient hatred” of the children of Israel). God is not willing that any should perish. But He stands forever against that which opposes his covenant with Jacob/Israel, because that Covenant is ultimately a covenant of life for all Humankind. He cannot grant quarter to Death, because he is Elohim Haim—the God of Life! Because Islam claims that its god chose Ishmael (thereby choosing for itself a different covenant than the Life-Covenant which God gave through Isaac), the spirit behind that religion proves itself a Covenant-hating spirit, bringing all in its bondage under the judgment of the God of Life. God forever hates the power behind Esau/Edom/Amalek (See Malachi 1:3; Obadiah 1:2,18; Ezekiel 35; Deuteronomy 25:19; Exodus 17:14-16)…but He loves those captured within that system; to those who will come out of that darkness, He offers life, hope and a future!
A Word about “ALLAH”
It might well come as a shock, even dismay, to a western believer visiting an Arab Christian congregation in Jerusalem to hear the name “Allah” repeated often, both in the hymns, the prayers and throughout the message. Yet such is the case in all Arabic-speaking churches, be they Baptist, Charismatic, Evangelical or Eastern Orthodox. This is because the word for deity in Arabic is Allah (as in English it is God, or in French Dieu) There may be other descriptive names, just as the English “God” may be called “Lord”, “Master”, “Mighty One”…but the name allah remains in Arabic what god is to English.
This can be difficult for American and European believers, because many have been taught that “Allah” means one thing, the god worshiped by Muslims—the Islamic god. It is the name often cried out by Islamist militants before executing acts of terrorism. The word is therefore probably most often used by Western Christians in a negative, even contemptuous way. This can be unsettling or confusing when heard by Arab Christians who use this name all the time in their worship and prayers.
An often-asked question is, ‘Do you believe that Allah and the God of Christianity (or Judaism) are the same?” But this is really a confusion of language, using two different words which literally mean the same thing.
If what one means is, “Do you believe that the god of Islam and the god of Christianity are the same?” –or, “Do you believe that the Allah of Islam and the Allah of Arab Christianity are the same?”—in either case, the answer must be “No.” The Allah (god) worshiped by Islam 1) is a moon-god (thus the moon atop all Islamic mosques) from the Arabian Peninsula, one of many allas/gods worshiped there in ancient times. 2) It is a god which teaches its followers that Abraham was called to that peninsula with his son Ishmael and told by the Islamic Allah to sacrifice him there—a direct contradiction of the Word of the Hebrew and Christian God, who proclaimed that His covenant must be established through Isaac, not Ishmael (Genesis 17:19), and who later called Abraham to bring Isaac to Moriah (future Jerusalem) and offer him there as a sacrifice (Genesis 22). Lastly, as is inscribed in Arabic over the arches of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, 3) This allah “has no Son.” So it cannot be the same as that worshiped by believers in Elohei-Yisrael—“The God of Israel” and in His Son, Yeshua(Hebrew)/ Yasua (Arabic)/ Jesus.
Yet Christian Arabs do not think it follows that they should stop using the name, any more than Christians feel they should stop calling on Jesus because there are cults which claim His name, yet deny His deity. When Abraham came into Canaan, the name for deity here appears to have been El. But rather than eschewing that name, the LORD, as mentioned in the Torah Portion above, began introducing him and his descendants to attributes of His character which showed how this “El” was different than all the others—El Elyon—“The Most High El (God)”; El Shaddai—“Almighty God”; Elohei-Yisrael—“The God of Israel”, etc.
For these reasons we find it preferable when referring to the Islamic deity to supply the name Allah” with a qualifier—“the Islamic Allah” or “the Muslim Allah” (or even just “The Islamic Deity” without using the name). This helps to avert the implication that it is a proper name only applying to a false god; and honours those who use the name in worship of the true One!
Following is an Arabic worship song (transliterated) which has been sung for years in Christian Arab congregations throughout Israel
Anta ‘atheemun, ‘atheemun, ‘a-theemun ya Allah (2x)
‘A-theemun fi maha- batika/’A-theemun fi a-man-atika
“A-theemun fi tahri-rika/’A-theemun aithan fi shifa-i-ka
You are awesome, so awesome; so awesome are You God
Awesome in Your faithfulness/ Awesome in Your mercy for us
Awesome in deliverance/ Awesome in Your powerful healing grace!
[The readings for next week (3-9 December 2017) are called VaYeshev—“And He Settled”. TORAH: Genesis 37:1—40:23; HAFTARAH: Amos 2:6—3:8.]
In A Nutshell
In the portion, VaYishlach (And Jacob Sent), Jacob wants to make peace with Esau after running away from him and being with Laban for many years. Esau sends angels to Jacob, and they inform him that Esau is headed toward him with four hundred men.
Jacob is alarmed by the looming encounter, and at night, an angel appears before him. Jacob struggles with it and defeats it, but is hurt in the thigh sinew. The angels alert Jacob that his name has changed as of that moment from Jacob to Israel. When Esau comes, they embrace and make peace, and Jacob moves to the area of Shechem.
Later, the portion speaks of Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, who is abducted by Shechem—the son of Hamor, the Hivite—who wants to marry her. Jacob’s sons allow the marriage on condition that all the men in the city perform circumcision. Once they perform the circumcision, Jacob’s sons kill all the men, bring Dinah back, and loot the city.
The Creator instructs Jacob to move to Beit El, where the Creator blesses Jacob with many descendants and the inheritance of the land. At the end of the portion Rachel dies when she delivers her second son, Benjamin. Isaac also dies and is buried by his sons, Esau and Jacob.
This portion deals with very deep scrutinies that one makes within the soul in order to correct it from the intention to receive, from its egotistical form. We need these scrutinies for the soul because it was broken in a process known as “the breaking of the vessels,” the ruin.
Once a person achieves the degree of Jacob, which is still a degree of Katnut (infancy), a person discovers that it is impossible to move forward. Having risen above the ego, above the will to receive, and having reached a state of Katnut, called Galgalta and Eynaim, leaves one nothing with which to advance. In order to advance, one must find within oneself additional inclinations, additional broken Kelim (vessels). Upon their correction, the person will be able to rise along with them. In other words, whenever we are in a certain state, we must first descend, mingle with the negative, and only then rise to the positive.
The portion speaks of precisely that state. That is, a person who reaches Jacob’s state and cannot advance further must reconnect with the Esau within—the evil inclination that is still not corrected. Such a person heads toward it despite fearing that the egotistical desire might suddenly overpower, that perhaps he or she will not be able to come out of that state.
This calls for a special preparation. The text narrates that Jacob divides everything, the women, the children, and all the people with him. In other words, one sets one’s desires straight, arranging all of one’s qualities in an internal preparation for the disclosure of the flaws within, in order to properly cope with them.
Questions and Answers
It is written that Jacob comes out with a gift, a prayer, and with war. He prepares every tactic.
True, he divides his entire household. He is told that Esau is headed toward him with four hundred men. Four hundred is a complete measure, four Behinot (discernments), and each Behina (singular of Behinot) is a hundred fold its power.
On the one hand, Jacob fears such power. On the other hand, he knows he has no choice. To advance toward Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator, he must go through those stages.
At night, Jacob struggles with Esau’s minister and undergoes a special correction, which seems in him as a flaw in the thigh sinew. But he discovers that that flaw actually keeps him. For this reason, he receives a blessing that all the revelations he will have from the part of Esau in him—symbolizing his negative qualities—will appear only in a manner of cause and consequence, to the extent and in the form he can correct without failing. Although additional failures await ahead, such as with Dinah, he is guaranteed that in the end it is precisely the big ego that the Creator has created in him that will assist his progress.
Therefore, following the meeting with Esau, Jacob moves to Shechem equipped with greater forces, and is now about to rise from the degree of Jacob, which is the Katnut of the soul, having only vessels of bestowal, to Gadlut (adulthood), to Israel.
Israel means that all of one’s desires, all the qualities that have appeared thus far are aiming straight to the Creator. One who aims to resemble the Creator, to cling to the Creator, and therefore performs actions in Jacob’s Ladder, reaches a state called Yashar El (straight to God), Ysrael (Israel). Going by another way will be as it is written, “They are all as beasts” (Psalms, 49:13). If we do not engage in correction of the soul using the wisdom of Kabbalah, we are all as the “nations of the world,” as Esau, uncorrected.
Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, is already connected to the next degree. This is why Shechem finds her so attractive. There is rape here, coercion, which means that vessels of bestowal come under the vessels of reception. Although she is in Din (judgment) as her name, Dinah, implies, this great will to receive comes over her. This is why there are only two corrections that Jacob’s sons can perform: the first is the circumcision of Shechem’s sons; the second is killing them, meaning departure of the upper light from within those Kelim, which renders them dead.
What does the looting of the city imply?
A city is a place of the will to receive in Kelim that compel you to detach the will to receive from the light of life. Otherwise you will not shift into correction of the will to receive. In our world, if you kill someone it is considered a felony. In the spiritual world, when the upper force takes all the pleasures from our desires, from our Kelim, removing the sensation of life and vitality, and we feel as though we are dead, that sensation of death helps us achieve life. In this life we connect to the upper light and fill ourselves with eternal pleasures, in attainment of Godliness, and we feel our eternal, complete life.
The killing mentioned in the portion relates to the question why we are killing. It is similar to a person with cancer. That person fights to kill the tumor. Therefore, it depends what type of killing we are talking about, to which discernments within us we relate. In this case, the killing of the city is in one’s best interest; it is a correction.
Would it not be enough to settle for the circumcision?
No. Circumcision is when you divide your desires into good and bad. If after the circumcision there are still desires that cannot be corrected, you must detach them for the time being from the light, and this is the killing. By that you save Dinah, who must be connected to the middle line for the time being, to Jacob, by which he ascends to Beit El (the house of God).
The Creator says to Jacob, “Now you are ready to rise to the next degree, called Beit El.” When Jacob comes there he receives the blessing, vessels of bestowal, the forces with which he can maintain the degree and achieve the revelation of spirituality on that level.
Jacob receives the blessing that the whole earth, the entire desire, will be his. That is, in the end he will gradually be corrected, and then “the whole earth is before you” (Genesis, 13:9). Thus, even if the desires are by and large dominated by other nations, meaning they are not connected to bestowal and love of others, it is still possible to correct them into having the aim to bestow.
The end of the portion speaks of the death of Rachel and Isaac.
Both Esau and Jacob take part in Isaac’s burial. This is the correction of the previous degree, which must be buried. Burial is the construction of the next degree atop the previous one.
Jacob and Esau are conflicting qualities; what does it mean that they embrace?
There are many levels of connection between qualities, even among conflicting qualities. Nearing means an embrace of the right, an embrace of the left, a kiss, a high Zivug (coupling), and a low Zivug, such as “His left is under my head, and his right shall embrace me” (Song of Songs, 2:6). In other words, there are many kinds of correction of the evil inclination.
Jacob is willing to embrace with Esau, to come in contact with him after the corrections he has undergone at night. One who goes through these corrections—in very complicated situations, at night, with Esau’s minister—is ready to cope with the evil inclination, to sort it, and to correct those parts that one can now correct and rise to a higher level.
There are always exits and entrances, like Jacob who leaves and returns to the land of Israel, who escapes Esau, has experiences, and is now strong enough to cope.
What did Jacob go through in Laban’s house?
This is how we come out, degree by degree. If a person is on a certain degree and needs to climb up to the next spiritual degree, that person must take some more of the ego, of one’s will to receive, and correct it into working in order to bestow. The newly corrected desire joins the soul, and thus a person ascends a degree. In the degree that has now grown, a person receives additional revelation of Godliness, greater connection with Godliness, and the ascent continues until a person reaches the final state, where one’s entire soul is corrected.
Why is Jacob certain now that he will have the strength to cope with Esau?
Jacob received a blessing from Esau’s minister; he connected to that force in a similar manner to the story with Laban. He received that strength from the left, and he can correct it into working in order to bestow. It is called a “blessing.” A blessing means that alongside the revelation of the ego comes the upper light, helps a person sort out the will to receive, the new, corrupted desire, and scrutinize which part of the desire can be added to the new state, and which part cannot. Then, with the new addition, a person achieves a new degree.
The Creator blesses Jacob with many children. What does it mean in spirituality?
Many children means that the Creator blesses a person with correcting all of one’s desires, which will rise out of the big Malchut, Malchut of Ein Sof (infinity), out of the entire creation, so one may correct them into working in order to bestow. This is why he is called “Israel,” Yashar El (straight to God), actually dominating the whole of creation, in a tendency toward mutual bestowal.
You Shall Not Plow With an Ox and an Ass
“The only desire of the degrees of impurity is to attack the holy degrees. They all lurked and attacked Jacob, who was holy, as it is written, ‘and Jacob came whole.’ First, the serpent bit him, as it is written, ‘he touched the hollow of his thigh.’ It is said about Esau’s minister that he was riding a serpent. Now the Hamor [ass] bit him, Shechem the son of Hamor, which is the Klipa of the right.”
Zohar for All, VaYishlach (And Jacob Sent), item 146
We must always consider the negative forces as an opportunity to rise to the next degree. There is no evil in the world, not even now with all the troubles and problems that are emerging. The important thing is to know how to use these forces correctly, as the Torah teaches us. Our problem is that we are not working according to the Torah. If we acted according to what the wisdom of Kabbalah explains regarding how to perform these corrections, we would see the world as nothing but opportunities for better states.
Who makes the correction, the Creator or the surrounding light?
The surrounding light makes the correction but the person needs to draw it. Why did we receive this instruction? After all, Torah means instruction. Although the light in it reforms, it follows our drawing, according to our understanding of how we need to be corrected. We must do all the acts of scrutiny, division, and sorting with ourselves and with the general reality, and then ask for the correction. Although we do not have the power of correction, we, like little children, must constantly exert to understand and sort things out as they should be. This is our work.
If angels are forces, what does it mean to struggle with an angel? Is it a person fighting gravity, magnetism?
A person is told—as is written in the abovementioned excerpt from The Zohar—that an angel comes to a person either from the right or from the left. There are different angels that a person must deal with in a certain manner in order to add them to the middle line, called Adam (man).
The important thing is how we relate to the states, correct?
What else is needed? We are in Nature, which in Gematria is Elokim (God). The laws of Nature or the commandments of the Creator are one and the same. The Torah teaches us how to use everything within us, all the elements, qualities, the internal, as well as the external.
Especially now, we are in such a confused world that no one knows what to do; we have no idea what tomorrow will bring and it seems vague and threatening. If people knew what is written about it in the Torah they would understand that we have an opportunity to rise to the next degree, to a completely different level, to the revelation of Godliness. The world is already quite close to a great and special correction.
Is it up to the Creator or up to us?
It is up to us. There is one goal before us, and two ways to get there: the left way is the path of suffering. The right (side) way is the path of Torah, the path of the light that corrects. The left way means going with the rod that develops us and compels us to advance. The right way means drawing the light that reforms.
In any case, our ego, the will to receive, the evil inclination in us, must be corrected. How it will happen depends on the way we will choose and on our understanding that everything that appears is only so we may correct ourselves, meaning to make us draw the light that reforms.
This brings us back to the wisdom of Kabbalah, which we must use because it is the interior of the Torah, the law of truth, the law of the light. And precisely by using it correctly, we can draw the light that reforms. This path will spare us blows because we will advance nicely and easily from degree to degree up Jacob’s ladder.
And Jacob Sent Angels
“‘For He will give His angels charge over you, to keep you.’ When a person arrives in the world, the evil inclination immediately comes along with him and always complains about him, as it is written, ‘sin crouches at the door.’ Sin crouches—this is the evil inclination. ‘At the door’—the door of the womb, meaning as soon as one is born.”
Zohar for All, VaYishlach (And Jacob Sent), item 1
This is how we are born, with a small, self-centered will to receive. Even after we develop, we are still little animals, as it is written, “They are all as beasts” (Psalms, 49:13). Although it appears to us that there are very wicked people in the world, this is not considered wickedness. Wickedness appears when a person truly wants to harm the public, to harm humanity. An ordinary person is neither good nor bad; he is inconsequential. Such a person is operated by Nature, and there is nothing that comes inherently from the person.
Today this evil inclination is appearing throughout the world because Elokim, which in Gematria is Nature, is showing us that the whole world is interconnected, therefore we, too, must be connected. Through this connection we will reach equivalence of form, Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator. If we resist that connection and act to the contrary, egotistically, becoming more closed within and removed from others, this is precisely how we become wicked.
The evil inclination first appears when the world begins to manifest itself as circular, connected, integral, global. Yet, we have not “jumped in”; we have not united and have not connected. We are still immersed in our egos, in the evil inclination, the exact opposite of the condition that the Creator is presenting before us.
We are at the threshold of destruction, yet people will not change their views.
This is the problem. This is why the wisdom of Kabbalah is surfacing after thousands of years in concealment. The idea is that through it the people of Israel will understand that it has a very important role to play, being “a light for the nations” (Isaiah, 42:6), and that it must correct itself. We are merely a transition for the correction of the entire world. If we do not realize the correction in time, the whole world will demand it of the Jews without even knowing why, and hatred toward Jews will intensify. Therefore, we should act fast.
What exactly is it that we need to correct?
We need to be a society that is conducted in mutual guarantee, living by the conditions that existed at the foot of Mount Sinai, where all are ready to unite “as one man with one heart.” Thus we will become a nation, and only under that condition will we continue to exist.
For now, we truly exist by the grace of God, “on probation,” until we implement it, as mentioned in Baal HaSulam’s essay, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar.” But our time might run out and we will receive no further extensions, and then we will not be able to live in the land of Israel; we will have to flee because this land will reject us once again, as it is written in the Torah, in The Zohar, and in many other places.
Today we have a great opportunity, when we all demand the correction in the world. Although we do not know what it is, we, as owners of the method and as the ones in possession of the Torah, must reveal it to everyone, but first and foremost to ourselves. This is why we must unite, be “as one man with one heart,” connect together as a nation, connect to Yashar El, and be “the nation of Israel.” We need to grip to the middle line and begin to rise with it toward Dvekut with the Creator, toward greater and greater bonding between us in “love your neighbor as yourself,” brotherly love. Once we have lost that love, the Temple was ruined, so we must return to that state and pull after us the rest of humanity.
So is Jacob connection and Esau separation, and is our task to overcome separation through connection?
Precisely. These are two conflicting forces, and we need to “enthrone” the Jacob in us over the Esau in us, and do the same in our society. People need to understand the message, the essence, the purpose of this conflict, and act accordingly.
If You Faint in the Day of Adversity
“But one out of a thousand is the evil inclination, which is one of those 1,000 damagers, which stand at the left, because he rises up and takes permission, and subsequently descends and puts to death. Hence, if a man walks on the path of truth, that evil inclination becomes his slave, as it is written, ‘Better is he that is a lowly one who has a servant.’ At that time, he rises and becomes an advocate and speaks before the Creator in favor of the man.”
Zohar for All, VaYishlach (And Jacob Sent), item 185
 “When Israel do not engage in Torah, the left intensifies and the power of the idol worshipping nations grows. They suckle from the left, rule over Israel, and inflict upon them laws that they cannot endure. Because of that, Israel were exiled and scattered among the nations” (Zohar for All, BeShalach (When Pharaoh Sent), item 306).