This Week’s Torah Portion | January 7 – January 13, 2018 – 20 Tevet – 26 Tevet, 5778


VaEra (And I Appeared) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

TORAH : EXODUS 6:2-9:35
PROPHETS : EZEKIEL 28:25-29:21
GOSPEL : LUKE 11:14-22

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 7-13 January 2018 are called Va’Era—“And I Appeared” (–to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El Shaddai):

*Exodus 6:26b; 7:4. “These are the same Aaron and Moses to whom YHWH said, ‘Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies.’” (NKJV)…“And Pharaoh will not heed you, and I shall set my hand against Egypt and I shall bring out my battalions [or, “armies”], My people the Israelites, from the land of Egypt with great retributions, that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD [YHVH], when I stretch out My hand over Egypt and bring out the Israelites from their midst.” (Alter).

YHWH (The LORD) is Sovereign over many “armies.” This is first shown in Genesis 2:1 when “The heavens and the earth, and all the armies/hosts (Hebrew: tzevaoth) of them, were finished.” In Joshua 5:14, a Being appears before Joshua who is “Captain of the Armies of YHVH”. From I Samuel 1:3 onward, the name YHVH-Tzevaot (Yehovah of Armies/LORD of Hosts) will be used over two hundred-fifty times in the Hebrew Bible. As we have often pointed out, when David meets Goliath in battle, he testifies his trust in this Name: “I come to you in the name of YHVH of Armies…”—but he also adds another, “Elohei—Ma’arkhot Yisrael”—God of Israel’s Arraying.” The masses of Israelites in Egypt had no idea that they were already an army—yet, as the above verses show, in God’s eyes, they were. Indeed, we shall see in Exodus 12:41 how “all the armies of YHVH” would go forth from the land of Egypt, and, as Exodus 13:18 (NAS) adds, they would do so in “martial array!” When we come into the Kingdom, we enter (or become aware of) a war which is already raging. Yet, not to be bewildered or afraid! Our Captain already has a “positioning” for us in which to begin, and He will oversee our advancement!

PLEASE PRAY: That the latter-day Army of the Lord in Israel will have confidence in its Captain, and come into array at His command!

*Exodus 7:1. “So the LORD said to Moses: ‘See, I have made you Elohim (literal Hebrew) to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.” In a very real way, we are God’s body through whom He looses His will “on earth as it is in Heaven.”

THE SNAKE AND THE DRAGON

*Exodus 7:9-10. “When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ‘Show a miracle for yourselves.’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod and cast it before Pharaoh, and let it become a serpent’…and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent” (NKJV).

The Hebrew here translated “serpent” is a different word and may designate a different creature than that used for the snake from which Moses fled (Exodus 4:3 and 7:15). There the word was nakhash, the common Hebrew word for snake (such as that which tempted Eve in Eden). Here the word is tanin, used in modern Hebrew for “crocodile” or “alligator” (The Nile Crocodile has been feared from ancient times for its propensity, more than any other of the species, to prey upon humans). In Genesis 1:21 tanin is a “great sea creature” created by God. But this creature is also often used as a metaphor for spiritual or physical powers in opposition to God. In Ezekiel 29:3 (Part of this week’s Haftarah), this word tanin is translated “monster” (NKJV), and depicts another Pharaoh (or the spiritual power controlling him), “Behold, I am against you, O Pharaoh king of Egypt, O great monster (tanin) who lies in the midst of his rivers, who has said, ‘My River is my own; I have made it for myself.’ But I will put hooks in your jaws…” (The word is also translated “monster” in Jeremiah 51:34 where it pictures Nebuchadnezzar swallowing up sinful Israel “like a tanin.”). In Psalm 74:13 it is depicted as a many headed “sea monster” (NASB) whose heads God can crush in delivering those who trust in him. And in Isaiah 27:1 the NASB reads, “And He will kill the dragon (tanin) who lives in the sea.”

In the modern Hebrew translation of the New Covenant Scriptures, the “great, fiery red dragon having seven heads” of Revelation 12:3, who stands before the woman clothed with the sun to devour her baby, is called a tanin…and in 12:9 both tanin (dragon) and nakhash (serpent) are equated with “the Devil and Satan.” Lastly, in Psalm 91:13 (NASB, margin) “tanin” is the dragon which those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High and abide under the shadow of the Almighty, will trample underfoot!

And so, the rod which had become a serpent (nakhash Exodus 7:15), through Moses’ obedient faith became in his and Aaron’s hands “the rod of God” (4:20), which could become a different fearful creature (tanin) which swallowed up other fearful creatures (7:12), or it could become a scepter of authority which could turn the waters of the Nile, over which the Pharaohs claimed sovereignty (Ezek 29:3 above), into blood (7:17).

The rod became the symbol of authority through which Moses would “be God” to Pharaoh (7:1), through whom YHVH would manifest Himself as the supreme spiritual Power who would defeat, subdue and swallow up all other opposing spiritual powers.

*Exodus 7:14. “So the LORD said to Moses: ‘Pharaoh’s heart is hard; he refuses to let the people go.” The LORD knew that Pharaoh’s heart was hard (Two words are used for “hard” or “hardened” in these passages, one meaning “heavy” or “settled”, the other “tightened”, “strengthened” or “fortified”). Through the early signs, wonders and plagues, we see Pharaoh’s heart growing hard according to its own nature (7:13, 22), or his actively hardening his own heart (8:15). In 8:29, 32, after the plague of flies, Moses specifically warns him against continuing to do this, but “Pharaoh made his heart heavy and insensitive this time also.” Finally, in 9:12 it is specifically stated that “the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh.” We have here depicted both the choice and responsibility of man, and the foreknowledge and sovereignty of God. After Moses prays that the rain, hail and thunder cease, Pharaoh “sinned yet more; and he hardened his heart, he and his servants. So the heart of Pharaoh was hard.”

*Exodus 8:23. “And I shall set a ransom between My people [in Goshen] and your people.” (Robert Alter Translation; see also NASB margin). The word “ransom” is often translated here as “difference”—but everywhere else in the Bible the root means “to ransom, to redeem, to rescue from danger”. It is in the last sentence of Psalm 25— “Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.” Israel would here come to see that his God was already redeeming him out of his troubles. Through the work of his Messiah, the LORD would eventually redeem not only Israel but all peoples from the bondage of sin.

*Ezekiel 28:25-26. “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob. And they will dwell safely there, build houses, and plant vineyards; yes, they will dwell securely, when I execute judgments on all those around them who despise them. Then they shall know that I am YHVH their God.”

In praying for Israel’s restoration, it is important that we not only pray for her return to the Land, but that afterward, within that Land, the God of her Fathers will come to be hallowed in her midst. Nowhere is Israel promised safety for herself or her roots in the Land just because she has been returned there. We pray for the work of the Holy Spirit in awakening awareness of sin and uncleanness, and a longing for cleansing, holiness and restoration. We pray for removal of the veil over Jewish hearts, and illumination of the truth of the love and life of Israel’s God and Saviour. Zion continues to serve as a “signpost” to the nations (that is what the root of the word probably means). But it is also God’s heart and purpose that she will be a signal in the eyes of the world of a place where HE is hallowed! He has promised a day when He will be a wall of fire around Jerusalem (Zechariah 2:5) and her glory within!

[The readings for next week (14-20 January 2018) are called Bo—“Come”. TORAH: Exodus 10:1—13:16; HAFTARAH: Jeremiah 46:13-28.]

In A Nutshell

In the portion, VaEra (And I Appeared), the Creator appears before Moses and promises to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt to the land of Canaan. Moses turns to the children of Israel but they do not listen “out of impatience and out of hard work” (Exodus 6:9). The Creator instructs Moses to turn to Pharaoh and ask him to let the children of Israel go out of Egypt. Moses fears that he will not succeed in his mission and asks the Creator for a token. The Creator says to Moses that he will be as God to Pharaoh, while Aaron will be as the prophet who does the actual speaking, and the Creator will harden Pharaoh’s heart and shower plenty of signs and tokens over Egypt. The Creator gives to Moses and Aaron a staff, and when Moses casts the staff to the ground it becomes a snake. When Moses and Aaron come to Pharaoh, Moses is eighty years old and Aaron is eighty-three. There are many magicians and soothsayers around Pharaoh. When Moses and Aaron arrive, they throw down the staff and it becomes a snake. Pharaoh’s magicians do the same and their staffs turn to snakes, as well, but Moses’ and Aaron’s snake swallows the magicians’ snakes. Despite that display, Pharaoh remains defiant. This is when the ten plagues of Egypt begin. This portion mentions seven of the plagues: blood, frogs, lice, flies, pestilence, boils, and hail. After each plague Pharaoh goes back on his word and refuses to let the children of Israel go.

Commentary

While this depiction is graphic and picturesque, it actually conveys the interior of the Torah, the true law that instructs us how to get out of the Egypt within us. The Torah does not tell us to leave one physical place in favor of another, but rather how we can free ourselves of our egos.

The portion deals with a person who is working hard and discovers that he or she is in Egypt. It also deals with that person’s desire that does not agree with being in Egypt, the ego, the essence of evil. Therefore, that person escapes from there while arguing with one’s ego. Such a person cannot tolerate the ego, fearing it might bury or kill him. Therefore, that person rises above it and begins to part from it.

There are two forces in us. The first is the ego, which is Pharaoh and all of Egypt. The other is a “protruding” point called “the point in the heart.” All our desires that are in Egypt and are fed by it while there is a “famine in the land of Canaan” (Genesis, 42:6) create an internal struggle in us. This is the war from which we seek to escape, to rise above the ego with all our desires. In fact, only Moses, the point in the heart, escapes and rises above the ego, fleeing from Egypt to Jethro and to all that there is in Midian.

After forty years, during which we grow stronger in Midian working on enhancing the force of Moses, the Creator appears to us in the burning bush. Through our inner voice we hear and comprehend that we must return, fight against our ego, and get out of it, or we will not be able to attain spirituality.Spirituality is attained only by correcting our desires, by correcting our intentions from aiming to receive—the egoistic form—into aiming to give, to love of others. We have to achieve the rule, “love your neighbor as yourself; it is a great rule in the Torah.” The point in the heart, the Moses in us, feels it is time to do it. We hear the voice of the Creator and begin to work with our egoistic desires by facing up to Pharaoh.

In that state we are completely bewildered. It is very difficult for us to stand up to our nature. Nature and the world are literally grabbing us down by our feet by showing us how impossible it is because wherever we turn, we are surrounded by our egos. These are Pharaoh’s soothsayers, his sages, beginning to discover how unrealistic is the spiritual path of rising above our ego and achieving love of others. Indeed, where do we find love others in the world? Does anyone support it? The Israel in us is a very weak force. Although it seems we can do anything through our spirituality, we can also do it, and even more successfully, through the forces of the ego.

Sometimes we prove to ourselves that we rise through the group we are building, through the good and right environment we are in. Just as Pharaoh agrees to let the children of Israel go but changes his mind and captures them, we go through ups and downs that prevent us from exiting our egos. We experience seven blows that cleanse and correct us. These are the ZAT of the degree, the seven bottom Sephirot – Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod, and Malchut—corresponding to the seven plagues of Egypt: blood, frogs, lice, flies, pestilence, boils, and hail.

The last three plagues are like the GAR of the degree; the first three belong to the Rosh (head), not to the Guf (body) of the degree. One who goes through them becomes liberated.

In our inner work we face tough struggles, scrutinies between the ego and the point in the heart, which draws us toward freedom, bestowal, through what Baal HaSulam calls in the essays, Arvut (“Mutual Guarantee”) and Matan Torah (“The Giving of the Torah”), “from the love of man to the love of God.” This is how we emerge from our nature into the nature of the Creator.

There are only two forces in existence: the force of bestowal and the force of reception. We are immersed in the force of reception, which puts us to death, makes our lives bitter, limited, and shortens them until we have no clue as to what life is for.

Spirituality provides an answer to the question regarding the suffering in our world. We come to spirituality because of the questions, “What is the meaning of my life?”, “What is life for?” In spirituality, we constantly scrutinize these questions and through them emerge to the eternal and enlightened world. We do that despite the ego’s grip on us, which does not let go and pulls us “by our feet” back in, not letting us escape.

Kabbalah books discuss these struggles at length. This is our inner work, the reason why we study the wisdom. The light that reforms that we obtain helps us through the plagues, from one plague to the next, from below upward, toward even greater blows. The more we advance, the harder the work and the tougher the blows.

Although we feel how the evil force in us is killing us and destroying us, keeping us on the animal level, we cannot rid ourselves of it. Finally, we come to a state where we feel that unless we run now, with the help of the upper force, being saved from above, w will remain in the eng because we cannot run alone. The Creator deliberately makes it difficult for us, as it is written, “Come on to Pharaoh” (Exodus 7:26) “for I have hardened his heart” (Exodus 10:1).

The Creator purposely hardens Pharaoh’s heart, our ego—the heart with all of our desires—so we would need His strength, so we would increasingly feel how we need Him and how we cling to Him so He will deliver us from Egypt.

As said above, there are only two forces in reality: the bad force, Pharaoh, and the Creator’s force, and it depends on us to which we cling. Through the war between the forces, we learn that we have no alternative but to achieve Dvekut (adhesion) through the force of the Creator. This is how we exit Egypt.

Right from the start we see that Moses comes to the people of Israel and tells them that the Creator has appeared before him, and this is why he is suggesting that they come out of Egypt. They refuse; they do not want to listen.

The refusal may strike us as odd because it would seem reasonable that the people of Israel should want to get out of Egypt. However, we should keep in mind that this is the people of Israel in exile, under Pharaoh’s rule. Had the people of Israel been in Canaan, matters would have been quite different. But in Canaan there were problems, too. There were quarrels and hunger because the will to receive was growing and could not be used anymore. This is why it is said that there was “hunger” there. Therefore, to use the desire, the people of Israel had to go down to Egypt, since only by adding the ego could they come out of Egypt with the qualities of Israel in us, the Yashar El (straight to God).

We must come out with the egoistic desire we had had, and with which we discover the spiritual world. We have nothing but our natural essence. Following the ruin, the shattering, the sin of the tree of knowledge and the rest of the sins, our nature was completely ruined. It is completely shattered, much like the world today, which is gradually discovering the crisis we are in. This is the beginning of the egoistic system that lies between us.

The children of Israel had to go down to Egypt to revive their souls. Yet, for now they are still as Joseph, as the children of Israel. They lived detached from the egoistic desires until they began to mingle with the ego. It is specifically those who study the wisdom of Kabbalah—who do what is written in the essays and follow the advice of Kabbalists in order to discover the spiritual world—who feel increasingly lower, as they strive to ascend. This state is called “the children of Israel in Egypt.”

The children of Israel had to be in Egypt four hundred years, as Abraham was told. The four hundred years are four degrees from the root—1, 2, 3, 4—or Yod–Hey–Vav–Hey, that we must be in exile in order to reveal the entire Kli (vessel) and achieve redemption with it, in a corrected Kli. In other words, all our souls will connect and discover in that connection the upper light, the Creator. This is how the soul unites with the upper force, with the light; this is the complete redemption.

First, we must mingle with our four levels of Aviut (will to receive, egoism). We spent only 210 years in Egypt, so there are additional exiles after Egypt until the measure of four hundred years is full. These days we are standing at the conclusion of that period.

It is necessary to go down to Egypt and absorb these four hundred degrees, which are like four hundred shekels of silver, the price for which the Cave of Machpelah was sold. It is a special measure of our ego, which Pharaoh symbolizes in a broken manner in the corrected soul. In the end, we bring out these Kelim (vessels) from Egypt because we come out with great substance, correct them, and discover in them the land of Israel.

Why does the Creator want us out of Egypt, on the one hand, and on the other hand hardens Pharaoh’s heart, making it more difficult for the children of Israel? We see that when people come to study Kabbalah they arrive with a great desire to learn, then feel how difficult it is, and do not succeed. They begin to “fall asleep.” Their ego grows, they yield to it and sink in it. They cannot understand that what has happened to them is that they entered Egypt. We need to keep working even when we are drowning in the ego; we must not agree to stay in it. There are also those who detach themselves from corrections and from the wisdom of Kabbalah altogether. They flow with life, perhaps with some new habits. But if one continues, goes through the great shattering, the inner blows, until one feels that it is necessary to get out of Egypt, as it is written, “And the children of Israel sighed from the work” (Exodus, 2:23), and yells inside for the upper force to pull one out, that person will come out.

The wisdom of Kabbalah deals with facts, natural laws, and the children of Israel are shown tokens such as a staff that turns into a snake. Does that symbolize something supernatural? It is an inner state we often experience. The staff becoming a snake represents incidents where spirituality and perfection appear before us. We feel that we truly understand and attain something of the quality of bestowal, we are ready to connect with others and be with them in mind and heart, “as one man with one heart,” but soon after comes the descent, like a black cloud descending on a person. In much the same way the staff and the snake alternate.

So can it be said that one’s attitude toward spirituality called a “staff” or a “snake”? Yes, this is how we are tossed around.

How did Egypt’s magicians do the same as Moses with their staffs? Our ego causes us these things to show us who is right. Just as is written in the story of Ester, when they did not know who was right, we have to decide above reason. We do not want to go out of Egypt so as to gain, but we also do not want to stay in Egypt so as to gain. That is, it comes neither from the side of reception nor from the side of bestowal. Everyone would like to connect to spirituality and attain the spiritual world so as to have everything. However, we are made to understand that in both reception and bestowal we will have no personal gain in the ego. When we advance, like the magicians of Egypt, we advance toward the Klipa (shell/peel), into bestowing in order to receive, to take for ourselves the next world, too. But bestowal means that we rise above any reward whatsoever.

What does it mean that Moses’ and Aaron’s snake swallows the snakes of the Egyptian magicians? It means that in the end we have to go with faith above reason. This is called a “staff,” and with it we go up instead of down in the importance of bestowal, descending to the vessels of reception.

Do we all experience these blows, each of us, even now? The Torah speaks of everything that happens to a person studying the wisdom of Kabbalah. The crisis that the world is in today is preparing us to understand that we have no alternatives; we must advance. Except for the children of Israel, the world will not advance according to the steps we learn in the Torah. The world advances by joining the children of Israel, as it is written, “And the peoples shall take them, and bring them to their place; and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord” (Isaiah, 14:2). The whole world will need to support it.

What do we need to do in order to come out Egypt now? No, the Torah tells us that as long as we have not suffered all the blows, we cannot cry out so hard that the Creator will save us. When that happens, the upper force, the light that reforms, will influence us so strongly that we will be able to detach from the ego. From The Zohar: I Will Bring, I Will Deliver, I Will Redeem, I Will Take The Creator wished to first tell them the most beautiful—the exodus from Egypt. The most beautiful of all is, “And I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God.” But He told them this afterwards. At the time, there was nothing more beautiful for them than exiting because they thought that they would never come out of their slavery, since they saw that all the prisoners among them were tied by magic ties that they could never exit. This is why they were first told what they favored most.

Zohar for All, VaEra (And I Appeared), items 52-3

It is the work of the Creator. We are not the ones doing the work, and it is not the work that the Creator does when correcting us. Rather, it is the work that the Creator does “behind the scenes.” It is the back of the neck. That is, hardening Pharaoh’s heart is the work that the Creator does so we will need Him.

Is this when we want to go out of Egypt? This is when we want to go out of Egypt, and it is also when we define that exit correctly. If you ask an ordinary person, “Why are you praying?” “What is redemption?” “What or who is the Messiah?” you will hear many answers. We all have our own Messiahs. But here we are talking about a person who needs to attain a state of Messiah, which brings one into love of others, a state of “love your neighbor as yourself,” the rule that includes all of us, since we must all be mutually contained in it, in mutual guarantee. This is why mutual guarantee is so important to us; it is as exodus from Egypt, as redemption. As long as there is no mutual guarantee, there will be no redemption. This is why we all need to work to bring it, to explain to everyone that the closer we come to this ideal, the greater our chances of exiting Egypt soon.

This Week’s Torah Portion | December 31 2016 – January 06, 2018 – 13 Tevet – 19 Tevet, 5778

Shemot (Exodus) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

TORAH : EXODUS 1:1-6:1
PROPHETS : ISAIAH 27:6-28:13, 29:22-23
GOSPEL : MATTHEW 2:1-12

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 31 December 2017—6 January 2018 are called Sh’mot—“Names” (–of the children of Israel who came into Egypt):

This week we travel forward 400 years and begin the story of the Exodus of Israel, now a great people, out of bondage in Egypt, into a relationship with the God of their fathers, and onto the road towards the land promised to Abraham more than 500 years before.

*Exodus 2:2. “So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months.” The Hebrew word for “beautiful” and “hid” are the same as the words for “goodness” and “stored up” in Psalm 31:19 (NIV)—“How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which You bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.” Through the agency of a godly mother and the God-fearing midwives who had assisted her, this little “goodness” was hidden away—in fact, would be “stored up” in Egypt and Midian for the next 80 years—until being brought forth as leader on behalf of a mighty people who, under his leadership, would learn to fear and take refuge in their God.

PLEASE PRAY: For protection of those “goodnesses” of God which are presently hidden away for a time of future release to the Body of Messiah in Israel. Pray for grace to trust that God is storing up goodness on our behalf as we love, fear and trust Him. Pray for courage and Heavenly guidance for believing families in Israel in storing away their children as much as possible in godly home environments before they are released into the near-paganism of many secular Israeli schools.

*Exodus 2:3. “But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank.” “Ark” is the Hebrew word teva, a box (A different word aron—“closet”, would be used for the Ark of the Covenant). The same word teva had been used for the ark which God commissioned Noah to build, in which he and all his household were saved. This second ark protected the future leader of a remnant-nation from which would come a deliverer for all people, Yeshua the Messiah.

*Exodus 2:25, 3:7-8a… “And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them (Hebrew: “and God knew.”); “And the LORD said: ‘I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them…’” (Emphasis ours).

God still knows His people Israel, He sees oppression against them and hears the cry of their hearts. His knowledge of them includes a fellowship in their pain and sorrows. The Hebrew word here translated “sorrows” (3:7) is the same as that found twice in Isaiah 53:3-4: “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” He, who came down to deliver Israel from Egypt and to lead them “up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey” (vs 8), would one day come down to provide deliverance for them—and all of Humankind—from their sin. And He who still knows and watches over Israel shall come down yet again on their behalf (Zechariah 8:3, 12:8, 14:4). By that day all of Israel shall know Him! “No more shall every man teach his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).

PLEASE PRAY: that both religious and secular Jews will come to realize that the same One who “knew” the sorrows of the people of Israel in the days of Moses and Pharaoh, has known their griefs and sorrows throughout the ages since—in fact, has again “come down to deliver” by bearing those very griefs and sorrows—along with “the sin of many” (Isaiah 53:12)—on the tree.

*Exodus 3:1. “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back side of the desert, and came to Horev, the mountain of God.” Midian was an area which saddled the top of what is today called the Gulf of Aqaba, coming down on both sides. It may be that “back side” refers to the far side, which would place the mountain in what is today Saudi Arabia, instead of the traditional site of the Sinai Peninsula.

*Exodus 3:5. “Then He said, ‘Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.’”

“Holy Ground” is ad’mat kodesh. Adama is the “earth” or “soil” from which “Adam” was formed. It is the presence of God which makes the land holy (even as it is His presence which makes us, the children of Adam, holy!). The other place in Scripture where we find this expression “holy ground/earth/land” is Zechariah 2:12-13: “And the LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem. Hush! all flesh, before the LORD, for He is aroused from His holy habitation.”

PLEASE PRAY: for an awakened sense of the “holy” in Israel. That we will long for holiness by drawing near and dwelling in His presence, yet abstain from doing so carelessly and in the flesh. That we will be sensitive to the sanctity of the very earth where holy activity has taken place in the past, and which the Lord is repossessing for His glory today!

*Exodus 3:6. “He said also, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

It has during the past century been common amongst many “educated” religious writers to assure their readers that prior to the Book of Daniel the Biblical authors had no concept of a “life after death.” We are told that no assurance or even expectation of a “hereafter,” or “heaven” (let alone, a resurrection) are alluded to in the earlier writings. That if such a state exists, God had not in former times revealed it to his servants; they were to serve Him for the here-and-now.

But Yeshua (Jesus), in Luke 20:37-38 shows this assumption to be false, “But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord ‘The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him.” In other words, the fact that with Moses God used the “present tense” to show His relationship to the Patriarchs (over 400 years after their deaths) was not a mere figure of speech or literary device. He didn’t say, “I was…”: He said, “I AM…” If He is still, in the present, their God, they, or at least their spirits, must themselves be still in existence! “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living—for all live to Him!”

*Exodus 3:16b; 4:31. “…I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt.”…“So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped” (NKJV).

Today the Hebrew verb liphkod usually means “to command”. In Biblical times, however, it could mean “to attend to/to care for” and often “to visit.” Thus, in Genesis 50:24, 25 (NKJV), Joseph promises that God “will surely visit” his brothers’ descendants in Egypt and bring them out of that land. Here, in Egypt 400 years later, we are told that the time of that “sure visitation” has come. In Psalm 8:4 (NKJV) David expresses awe at the amazing privilege of God’s visiting us, “What is mortal man that You are mindful of him, and the son of Adam that You visit him?” This visitation is life, salvation and blessing for those who love Him and are waiting for it. Job, even from the midst of painful affliction, echoes this: “You have granted me life and favor, and Your visitation has guarded my spirit” (Job 10:12).

Yet God’s visitation does not come as a joy to those who are in rebellion against Him. In fact, in Isaiah 10:3 (NKJV, NAS) and many places in Jeremiah (8:12, 10:15, 11:23, etc.) this same word, instead of a day of “visitation,” is rendered one of “punishment.” Luke 19:44 shows Yeshua weeping over Jerusalem. God had sent “all the things which were needed for her peace”—but they are “hidden from her eyes.” Consequently, warfare and destruction are looming, “because she did not know the time of her visitation.”

PLEASE PRAY: For a powerful visitation of God in Jerusalem and throughout Israel. Pray for the Body of Messiah here to prepare and long for that visitation. The Apostle Peter left us important instructions regarding this day: “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (I Peter 2:12).

*Exodus 3:14, 15. “And God said to Moses, ‘I AM THAT I AM…Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: “YHVH, God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.”’”

English translations which read “The LORD God…” can be misleading. “Lord” is a title of respect, meaning “master”, not a name. The point was that this God had a NAME, one by which He had been known to Israel’s fathers 400 years before, but not in a personal intimate way. That name was YHVH (The letters Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh in the Hebrew). It was a personal name given to His people. It would become one of their most precious possessions, and countless psalms spoke of its beauty. But because of Israel’s sin, sometime after the Glory of God’s presence departed from the Temple in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 10:1-11:23), the correct pronunciation of the beloved Name was also lost. Today it is normally not attempted to be spoken in Israel; Adonai (a Hebrew name related to the word for “lord” or “master”) is used in its place, or the words Ha Shem—“the Name”. Words such as Yeho’vah (there is no English “J” sound in Hebrew), or Yahweh, sometimes utilized in the West, are at best educated guesses. In most English Bibles “LORD” (all caps) designates YHVH. “Lord” (only the beginning letter capitalized) designates Adonai/Master. In Matthew 23:39, Yeshua applied Psalm 118:26 to Himself, telling Jerusalem that she would not see Him again until she said, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of YHVH.” Yet the One who will again come “in that Name” actually already bears it within His own! The name Yeshua (Jesus) is a contracted form of the name YHVH and yoshiah—“saves”. “And she shall bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Yeshua—for He (i.e. YHVH) will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

PLEASE PRAY: For a spirit of grace and supplication to be poured out on the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem—grace to look on the One who was pierced (Zech 12:10—14), and to realize that His holy name YESHUA bears within it the Name and Salvation of the God of their Fathers—that “All who call on the Name of the LORD shall be saved!”

*Exodus 3:18. “…you with the elders of Israel will come to the king of Egypt and you will say to him, ‘YHVH, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us…”

Since His covenant of redemption on behalf of all humankind must come through a particular people, God has always been pleased to identify His deity with that people. Israel (Jacob) called Him El Elohei-Yisrael—“God, the God of Israel” (Genesis 33:20), a name God Himself would often make use of with His servants the prophets. Israel has now become a mighty nation, and here another descriptive name is released before the nations, YHVH Elohei-ha-Ivri’im—“YHVH, God of the Hebrews” (or, “The Hebrews’ God.” ). God still identifies Himself with this people, and it is through His Son, born a Hebrew, of the seed of Israel (Jacob) that every tribe and nation must come.

*Exodus 4:2; 19b. “So the LORD said to him (Moses), ‘What is that in your hand?’ He said, ‘A rod.”…“And Moses took the rod of God in his hand.” God begins with us where we are and with what we have. When Moses in obedience yielded to God what he had, the simple rod became transformed into “The Rod of God”!

*Exodus 4:22-26. “And you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus said the LORD: My son, my firstborn, is Israel. And I said to you, Send off my son that he may worship Me, and you refused to send him off, and, look, I am about to kill your son, your firstborn.’ And it happened on the way at the night camp that the LORD encountered him and sought to put him to death. And Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched it to his feet, and she said, ‘Yes, a bridegroom of blood you are to me.’ And He let him go. Then did she say, ‘A bridegroom of blood by the circumcising.’” (Robert Alter: translation).

This dark and disturbing passage has perplexed readers over the centuries probably more than any other passage in Exodus. Scholars and theologians have wrestled with its meaning, its implications—What exactly happened? Why? Why is it inserted here? (The meeting of Aaron with Moses in the following verses seems to have taken place before the events of this passage). Are Zipporah’s words spoken in anger or submission; and what do they signify? Although we do not presume to be able to plumb these depths, we would submit for your consideration the following thoughts:

*In verse 22 a warning is made to Pharaoh in advance about the consequences of a refusal to release Israel; the last plague would not come unannounced. God considers Israel His “son”, his “firstborn.” Not releasing him to his Call will result in the death of Pharaoh’s own eldest son.

  • Is it possible that within this warning to Pharaoh lay also a sober warning to Moses? Circumcision had been solemnly commanded Abraham (Genesis 17:9-14) as a sign of God’s covenant with him and his seed regarding their eternal connection to the Land where it was given. All males in his household and all of their descendants were to be circumcised (17:9). The Hebrew for circumcision means “cut off”; if the foreskin of a son were not cut away, God’s covenant had been broken, and the very soul (Hebrew: nefesh) of that son would be cut off from the holy purposes destined for this people in the promised land (17:14). Moses had himself evidently been circumcised (Exodus 2:6); but he had grown up in an Egyptian court and then married a Midianite maiden. Whether at the hesitation of Zipporah or of himself, Gershom, his own firstborn had not been circumcised. Perhaps it went against his Egyptian or her Midianite cultures which they had grown up with. Perhaps it seemed cruel, not the humanitarian thing to do. Certainly neither parent at this time realized the spiritual warfare which was going on behind the scenes. Here was the man chosen by the God of Heaven to fulfill His promise to Abraham—to bring His people of Covenant back to Canaan (Gen 15:13-16). Now Moses, the leader and model, the figurehead, was about to be responsible for causing the covenant to be broken in his own family before even getting started on his mission! It was a terrible but essential lesson to be learned. Even as Pharaoh’s refusal to release God’s Firstborn (Israel) into its Covenant purposes would necessitate the sacrifice of Pharaoh’s own eldest, so Moses’ refusal to release Gershom into his Covenant purposes through circumcision would necessitate that firstborn also being “cut off”.

  • Perhaps Zipporah had been resistant to doing that which would bring her son into the covenant “bloodline” of this Hebrew. By repenting of this, circumcising Gershom, touching his blood and foreskin to the feet of Moses and calling him “a bridegroom of blood”, might she have been acknowledging a leaving of the old behind, and allying both herself and her son with that bloodline?

*It is a difficult thing for any father to submit his son to the pain and bloodshed of being cut—although in reality, this was a relatively minor wounding symbolic of something far greater. Ultimately, the Heavenly-Father would send His one and only—His “Firstborn” Son—to be “cut off” (Isaiah 3:8; Daniel 9:26). In his wounding would come redemptive healing for all humankind, the putting to death of sinful flesh, and a New Covenant initiated in His blood. In this would also be cleansing for the Land, and eventual restoration of God’s covenant between the children of Adam and all the earth He created (Romans 8:19-22).

PLEASE PRAY: For realization among Jews that they are still a Covenant People whom God loves and is drawing in lovingkindness. For revelation that a New Covenant of Life has been made for them in the Blood of the Messiah Yeshua.

*ISAIAH 28:7. “But they also have erred through wine, and through intoxicating drink are out of the way; The priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink, They are swallowed up by wine, They are out of the way through intoxicating drink; They err in vision, they stumble in judgment.”

Wine was given as that which might be a joy and a blessing for man in the presence of God (Deuteronomy 14:26, Psalm 104:15). Outside of the light of that Presence, it becomes a mocker and “whoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1). I Peter 4:7 and 5:8 speaks of being “serious and watchful in your prayers” —of being “sober and vigilant” because of our adversary, “as the end of all things is at hand.” Prophesying regarding the dark days in Israel during the “time of the end”, Daniel stresses the key positioning of those who at that time must have clarity and control of their mental faculties (Hebrew: sekhel) so as to instruct and lead many to righteousness (Daniel 11:33, 35; 12: 3). And, as mentioned above, Zechariah 2:13 warns to command “Hush!” to the flesh in that day when the LORD “is aroused from His holy habitation.”

PLEASE PRAY: For clear and accurate vision and judgment among Israel’s spiritual leaders. That they will walk in the power and self-control of the Holy Spirit. That they will not fall into self-deception regarding their appetites—that whatever (and however much) they eat and drink, it will be done to the Glory of God—that they will be not drunk with wine but filled with the Spirit of God! (Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:18).

“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all children of light—children of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation (I Thessalonians 5:4-8).

*ISAIAH 28:5-6. “In that day the LORD of Armies will be for a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty to the remnant of His people, for a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and for strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.”

PLEASE PRAY: For the “remnant of His people” who have returned to the Land of Israel, that there awaken within them a longing for the One who rules in glorious majesty and the beauty of holiness. Pray for Justice fueled by the Holy Spirit to characterize Israel’s civil government…and courage and strength her military. Pray for the “remnant-within-a-remnant” of the Body of Messiah in Israel—the Messianic Jewish and Christian Arab community, that it become recognized for its fairness and righteous judgment—and that it become tempered and prepared in the weapons of its warfare in the Holy Spirit, so as to recognize its enemy and turn back the battle at the gates!

[The readings for next week (7-13 January 2018) are called Va’Era—“And I appeared” (–to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El Shaddai.”). TORAH: Exodus 6:2—9:35; HAFTARAH: Ezekiel 28:25—29:21.]

In A Nutshell

The portion, Shemot (Exodus), begins with the demise of Joseph and all of his contemporaries, “And a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph” (Exodus, 1:8). Subsequently, Moses is born in Egypt and his sister hides him in an ark. She places the ark in the Nile and follows it. Pharaoh’s daughter goes down to bathe in the river, finds the ark, and takes the baby. Moses’ sister offers to help her find a Hebrew nursing women and brings Moses’ mother as a nursing woman.

Moses grows in Pharaoh’s home forty years. One day he sees an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. He strikes and kills the Egyptian and buries him in the sand. When he realizes that one of his Hebrew brothers saw him in the act, he fears being told on and escapes to the desert.

In the desert he meets Jethro, priest of Midian. He marries his daughter and sees the burning bush, where he is told he must return to Pharaoh and to the people of Israel, and tell them it is time to go out of Egypt.

The portion ends with the children of Israel complaining to Moses about their poor situation. Moses turns to the Creator who says to him, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh, for by a strong hand shall he let them go, and by a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land” (Exodus, 6:1).

Commentary
The stories deal with man’s soul. The Torah tells us how to correct ourselves in order to develop the soul within us, how to open it up to the upper light, to the revelation of the Creator, and how to feel within it the upper, spiritual world.

The process begins with a special desire called Abraham, which awakens and asks about the meaning of our lives, leading us to open up our souls. The developing desire must escape Babylon, the sum of our great ego.

Subsequently, that desire procreates another desire, Isaac, which begets yet another desire, Jacob. These three desires form the foundation of the soul.

Jacob, which is a special desire, has twelve sons. This is a development of the third desire, which achieves equivalence with the upper force—the Creator—who is pure bestowal. The exodus from Babylon symbolizes our desire to achieve that same level of bestowal. Jacob is the first to actualize that desire through his sons, particularly through Joseph, who assembles all the qualities of bestowal of the corrections that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the rest of the sons have made. Joseph is the only one who can descend to his ego with all the corrections and begin to work with the ego that is called Egypt.

The whole of the house of Jacob goes down to Egypt, complete their corrections, and die there. After a while, a child is born in the tribe of Levi. Unlike the rest of the Hebrew children that Pharaoh put to death, this one survived. In spiritual terms, Pharaoh “swallowed” all the desires that were corrected into having the aim to bestow. He put them to death by the ego’s taking over all the desires. Thus, even if a person wanted to advance toward spirituality, the ego, life, and the environment killed that person.

In the period preceding the birth of the desire called Moses, it is impossible to advance toward spirituality. One must wait until the Moses desire appears and grows in a person thanks to his mother, who nurses him, and thanks to Batia, Pharaoh’s daughter, who receives him afterward.

Batia is Bat Yah (Daughter of the Creator); she is a part of the quality of Pharaoh within us, a special part of our ego, the will to receive. This part can connect with the desire to bestow and grow.

Moses grew in Pharaoh’s house as a grandson, the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, Batia. He was raised as a prince who was educated in all of Egypt’s wisdom until he was forty.

Age forty is the age of Bina (understanding). It is not an indication of a number of years, but a stage in which the desire not only grows and draws from the side of Pharaoh, the ego, but begins to correct itself, as well. The desire that reaches the age-state of forty discovers it is opposite from Pharaoh and must use him to get out of him.

The exodus from Egypt begins when one feels that one can no longer tolerate the struggle. It happens when there is resistance, when we feel both Pharaoh and Moses within us, and the Jews in us crave unity but are unable to achieve it because they are Pharaoh’s slaves. Here is where one discovers Pharaoh’s rulers. There is an inner struggle between the Jews and Pharaoh’s rulers, and a person feels it as unbearable. This is when we begin to resist and must interfere in order to correct ourselves.

The Moses force within kills Pharaoh’s men, the Egyptians within us, and must therefore flee from Pharaoh. In fact, when Moses kills the Egyptian within him, the struggle between him and his ego only intensified and he has to draw very far from his ego. This is the meaning of the escape from Egypt.

However, one cannot escape all at once because the rest of the desires, the children of Israel, are still enslaved in Egypt, under the ego, working in order to receive. Only Moses grew and escaped to Midian, to Jethro, married the priest’s daughter, Zipporah, and stayed there for forty years.

While in the desert, Moses understood that there is one special point, the burning bush, that can lift him up. With Jethro he connects to it for forty years. He continues to grow there and acquires all of Jethro’s wisdom, which gives him a springboard back to Egypt, to the beginning of the confrontation with Pharaoh.

The Creator says to Moses, “Let’s go to Pharaoh together because ‘I have hardened his heart.’” In other words, a person feels two forces once again, which provide the understanding and ability to cope with what is required, with the ego. Such a person understands that “there is none else besides Him” (Deuteronomy, 4:35), that there is nothing but the singular force that on the one hand plays with the ego and hardens Pharaoh’s heart, and on the other hand goes with the person and helps one advance above it. Thus, the Creator gradually brings a person toward exiting one’s ego entirely, exiting Egypt.

At the same time, “the children of Israel sighed from the work” (Exodus, 2:23), building Pithom and Rameses, which are beautiful cities, corresponding to the first and second Temples, yet are for Pharaoh. The ego continues to grow, as do the children of Israel, and all those qualities of bestowal within our forces of reception chase away the Egypt in us, our ego.

We can see the great force that exists in these qualities only as we advance. As long as they are enslaved by Pharaoh they are cities of poverty—a state in which one desires to exit the ego and advance toward spirituality, but has no outlet by which to escape. “Cities of poverty” also means that a person is in danger[1] because if he remains in his ego he will never attain the spiritual world.

During his time with Jethro, Moses acquired the powers to cope with Pharaoh. He made a covenant and arrived at Egypt with his son, Gershon. Upon his return to Egypt he begins to struggle with Pharaoh. He reunites with his brother Aaron, and together they collect the rest of the elders of Israel. Put differently, a person summons all the inner forces with which one believes one can rise above one’s ego and correct oneself. The forces, thoughts, and intentions with which we can rise above our ego, above Egypt, are the ones that are in equivalence with the Creator. It is in those desires that the upper force is revealed, and where the spiritual world is felt.

In that struggle, a person connects with the inner Aaron, the right side, and with Moses, the left side. Together they are Cohen (priest) and Levi. One summons all those inner forces and discovers a little bit of the Creator through “miracles,” meaning forces that act on one’s desires. Once a little bit of the spiritual force appears in a person, one sorts the desires with which one can build the Kli (vessel) for the revelation of the Creator, the “soul.” These desires intend to demand of Pharaoh, “Let My people go” (Exodus, 5:1).

At that point, a person feels that one is at a crossroads, that one has the endurance and demand to detach oneself from the ego and rise to the level of Bina, outside of Egypt. That person’s strength does not manifest at once. The Pharaoh within says, “No way,” “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?” (Exodus, 5:2).

Within us is a mighty struggle, preventing us from detaching from our nature. It keeps pulling us toward it. We try, but we are constantly pulled back. This is why we suffer the blows called the “ten plagues of Egypt.” They push us forward.

It is a tough process. The struggle resembles labor pains. Indeed, the exodus from Egypt is called “birth,” the birth of the spiritual man. In these states, the quality of Israel suffers, meaning the people of Israel—all the desires and intentions in us. Such a person is very frustrated and needs a lot of support. It is quite difficult to go through these states without the support of the proper environment, which serves as a “midwife” in Egypt. In that state a person needs those midwives in order to muster the needed strength. It happens in order to bring us to the necessity for the upper force, to feel that without the help of the Creator we will never rise above our Egypt.

We therefore see that there is a meaningful “game” here between the strengthening Pharaoh and the strengthening Israel. But only when one comes to a state of bewilderment and helplessness does the Creator say, “Come on to Pharaoh” (Exodus 7:26) “for I have hardened his heart” (Exodus 10:1). That is, the Creator wishes to save us precisely through the hardening. By that, He shows us His greatness.

The dramatic process and difficult conditions we face are for our own sake. During the study of the wisdom of Kabbalah, as we rise above our egos and discover spirituality—the upper force—we undergo a complicated process of self scrutiny and inner struggles between desires, forces, and intentions. We experience it so we may feel what is the upper force, what is the spiritual world, and where it is because we can neither see nor feel it in our senses.

We must collect these supporting forces—Pharaoh, Jethro, Moses, Aaron, Israel in Egypt, and all the patriarchs—as forces that desire to rise above the ego and discover the spiritual world. These forces face up to Pharaoh, the ego, and demand to rise above it, as it is written, “Let My people go that they may serve Me” (Exodus, 7:16). It happens so we may discover the greatness, the so-badly-needed help that one receives from above, from the Creator.

This is the only way by which we acquire the power that the Creator sends us, the upper force, the force of bestowal, the love of others, through which we rise above the ego and come out of Egypt. This is the spiritual birth, and only then do we begin to feel the spiritual world. Henceforth, we will have revival.

The portion opens before us a new stage in man’s development. This is why the book Shemot (Exodus) is the second book in the Torah. There are five books in the Pentateuch, corresponding to the five egoistic desires in us that we need to correct on five degrees: the worlds Assiya, Yetzira, Beria, Atzilut, and Adam Kadmon, until we reach the end of correction, complete redemption. Each world contains five internal degrees, which in turn contain another five degrees in each. Thus, altogether there are 125 degrees by which we ascend to the final and complete correction, the complete redemption.

Redemption begins after the first, preparatory stage. This is when one discovers the real Pharaoh within, the real ego. Because we face two conflicting forces—Pharaoh and Moses—we need a third force to determine between them. That force is the Creator, the upper force, which then appears and helps us.

Questions and Answers

The portion describes the preparations for the spiritual birth. Is it similar to what is happening in the world today?

Of course. We are all in a state of scrutinizing our egos, its control over us, and the narrow boundaries that it allows is. We have yet to achieve the recognition that the evil is the ego, but many people are already beginning to see that we are helpless because we don’t know how to correct the comprehensive crisis.

Is this the sensation of Egypt or is it not yet it?

This is already the sensation of Egypt. We are under great stress because we have not determined whether Pharaoh is our “good grandpa,” sitting Moses in his lap and giving us the joys of life, including the Jews that are in Egypt, enjoying the abundance, or is there a new stage arising here.

For thousands of years we have been progressing through our growing egos, and we enjoyed it. We thought we would thrive and prosper indefinitely. But suddenly, we have discovered that precisely the good force by which we thought we’d achieve abundance has become a harmful force. This is Pharaoh changing his way toward the Jews in Egypt, becoming the bad ruler, as it is written, “Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph” (Exodus, 1:8).

Over the last one hundred years, but particularly since the turn of the century, we have begun that self-scrutiny, and we must finish it quickly. However, everything depends on the dissemination of the knowledge of the situation we are in because people (Israel in Egypt) do not know what to do.

It is similar to what happens on Purim, when the city of Shushan is bewildered and people do not know who is right, Mordechai or Haman. Likewise, the story in Egypt repeats itself with the Jews who wanted to tell on Moses killing the Egyptian.

Therefore, we must explain to everyone what is really happening, the reason for all the bad things, the crisis, and how we can rise above them. It is only our ego that has brought us into this predicament. Through the right process, as the Torah tells us, we must come to see the ego as an evil force and bring over it the light that reforms.[2] In other words, the Creator that is now appearing to Moses tells him, “Come to Pharaoh because I have hardened his heart,” meaning “I caused the crisis so you would find Me, because only I can help you out of it.”

We must pass this message to everyone as quickly as possible and show how we can discover the upper force through which we are rewarded with abundance. If we relate to our crisis in the right way we will obtain—while in this life—the spiritual world, eternity, and perfection.

What is Moses in spirituality, and what are all the stages he went through on the spiritual level?

Moses is the force that pulls us out of Egypt, our ego, raising us above this world and into the spiritual one. It is contrary to what Batia says, “I drew him out of the water” (Exodus, 2:10). Moses is the force that must now lead us from here until we enter the land of Israel.

Why is Pharaoh’s daughter called Batia (the Creator’s daughter), aren’t they opposites?

Pharaoh is the posterior side of the Creator. The upper force is playing with us. It is written, “I have created the evil inclination,” which is Pharaoh, “I have created for it the Torah as a spice” (Masechet Kidushin, 30b), because “The light in it reforms it” (Eicha, “Introduction,” Paragraph 2). In other words, He reforms the evil inclination, Pharaoh.

At the end of the process we must take from Egypt all the Kelim (vessels), all the desires, and empty the Egyptians from everything, as it is written about the children of Israel that they went out with “great substance” (Genesis, 15:14). This is how we sanctify these Kelim, these great desires—which so far worked for our own good—and invert them into working for the sake of others. It is precisely in these desires that we discover our eternal life.

Why did Pharaoh refuse to let Israel leave Egypt?

When Israel are in Egypt, they give great substance to Pharaoh. The forces of bestowal inside the will to receive are very helpful to it. The will to receive knows how to trade, how to develop industry, science, and so forth. The will to receive is a special force.

It seems as though the Creator is waiting for Pharaoh’s approval because in the end He brings them out in haste. Initially, Pharaoh refuses, then the Creator brings them out in haste.

It is a person’s own choice. A person stands between the ego, the force of reception, and the force of bestowal. The person is the one who recognizes the evil in Pharaoh. In that person’s eyes this evil gradually loses its strength, and through the actions one takes, one can exit it.

[1] The Hebrew word, Miskenot, means both Misken (poor) and Mesukan (dangerous).
[2] Midrash Rabah, Eicha, “Introduction,” Paragraph 2.

This Week’s Torah Portion | December 24 – December 30, 2017 – 6 Tevet – 12 Tevet, 5778

VaYechi (Jacob Lived) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

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.

TORAH : GENESIS 47:28-50:26
PROPHETS : 1 KINGS 2:1-12
GOSPEL : JOHN 13:1-19
PORTION READINGS:

Torah
The readings for this week 24-30 December 2017 are called VaYechi—“And He [i.e. Jacob] Lived”

TORAH: Genesis 47:28—50:26
Haftarah
HAFTARAH: I Kings 2:1-12

PORTION SUMMARY

This week’s readings bring us to the end of the Book of Genesis.

They encompass the last seventeen years of Jacob’s life in Egypt, his blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh, his final prophetic Word over his twelve sons, his death, the return of his body to Hebron for burial, and the life of Joseph in Egypt until his death there at the age of 110.

*Genesis 47:29. “Now if I have found favor in your sight, please…deal kindly and truly with me. Please do not bury me in Egypt, but let me lie with my fathers; you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.”

We have noticed in how many ways Joseph presents a picture of the coming Saviour, Yeshua. Here Jacob requests of him to “deal kindly and truly with me” and to “carry me out of Egypt to lie with my fathers”. As we have mentioned often, the words “kindly” and “truly” are chesed and emet—two words we have seen and shall see together often in the Torah. John 1:16-17 tells us, “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the Torah was given through Moses, but lovingkindness and truth (Modern Hebrew translation: chesed v’emet) came through Yeshua the Messiah.” As Joseph would in kindness and truth be faithful to take his father out of Egypt and back to the Promised Land where his fathers had been buried, so Yeshua carries those who entrust themselves to his chesed and emet out of the bondage of death and into the presence of His Father and the resting place of those who have gone before!

*Genesis 47:31b (NASB). “Then Israel bowed in worship at the head of the bed.”

The Hebrew word for “bed” (mita) bears the same letters as the word for “staff” (mateh). The translators of the Greek Septuagint used in New Testament times (translated several hundred years earlier), chose the meaning “staff” here. This evidently is what is referred to in the New Covenant Scripture Hebrews 11:21, “By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.” What is clear is that Jacob had become strong in worship and in faith (notice his attributions to God in 48:3; 48:9,11, 15-16; 48:20-21), and it was this which enabled him to deliver in holy authority the prophetic utterances of Chapter 49.

*Genesis 48:5. “And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.”

In fact, because of Reuben’s sin against his father (see I Chronicles 5:1-2), his birthright was transferred to Joseph, the first-born of Rachel, and thence to his two sons. Of these two sons, already here, even before Jacob delivers his blessing, Ephraim is named first. In the future his name would at times be used as a synonym for Israel, “For I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is my First Born” (Jeremiah 31:9).

*Genesis 48:7 (ESV). “As for me, when I came from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan on the way, when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath, and I buried her there on the way [from Bethel] to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).

In this brief mention of Rachel’s death, one senses the tenderness which Jacob still felt for her over forty years after her death (49:31 seems to show an affection which had grown also for the previously hated Leah). As has been pointed out, this passage, along with 35:19 and I Samuel 10:2, also point towards the location of Rachel’s tomb as being in the area of Benjamin (just northwest of Jerusalem) rather than southward, adjacent to Bethlehem as is held by Rabbinic tradition.

*Genesis 48:20. “By you Israel will bless, saying, ‘May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh!’”

This blessing is in many Jewish households still spoken today on Friday evenings by a father over his sons before the Erev-Shabbat meal.

*Genesis 48:21 (ESV). “Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you again to the land of your fathers.”

“God will be with you!” Jacob had come to know and trust in Imannu-El.—the “With-Us God”. God had promised this to Jacob at Bethel (“Behold, I am with you and will guard you wherever you go…for I will not leave you…” 28:15), where Jacob promised that if He would be “with him” and guard him, and bring him back safely, he YHVH would be his God. There were many other times within his long life when he would be reminded of God’s presence with him (Genesis 31:3; 31:42; 32:24,28; 35:13). At Beersheba, where Jacob offered sacrifices before going down to Egypt, God had again spoken to him, “I will go down with you to Egypt…”(Genesis 46:4).

*Genesis 48:22. Moreover, I have given to you rather than to your brothers one mountain slope that I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow.”

If the last part of these verses refers to an actual battle in which Jacob took part, it is not recorded in Scripture (Might Jacob have yielded up his weapons as a sign of peace, when purchasing the land in 33:19—a peace later violated by Simeon and Levi?). The Hebrew for this passage contains obscurities which continue to puzzle Biblical scholars into our own day. The main difficulties center around the words translated here “mountain slope.” The Hebrew words are shekhem ehad. Ehad means “one” and shekhemmay refer to a “shoulder”, or a “shoulder or ridge of a mountain”—or to the town of Shechem (Modern-day Nablus) itself.

Evidently Joseph understood it to mean a portion of land in the vicinity of Shechem, since he would over 400 years later be buried “at Shechem, in the plot of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred pieces of silver, and which had become an inheritance of the children of Joseph(Joshua 24:32).

Shekhem Echad also forms an idiom meaning “shoulder to shoulder” or “as one man”—and the future territories of inheritance for both Ephraim and Manasseh would come together at this point. This is obviously the meaning when these two words appear again in Zephaniah 3:9 (which some here see as prophesying the rebirth of the Hebrew language precedent to God’s restoring Israel to her land), “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one accord.

Genesis 49: 1-27

There are mysteries concerning the meaning or intent of much of the poetic prophecy released by Israel over his sons in Chapter 49. We shan’t presume to comment on all of these. Some of the difficulties lie in the exact meaning of the Hebrew text as we have it today; and there are mysteries regarding the interpretation of some of the prophetic words which Jacob speaks forth. Genesis 49:1 speaks of what will befall Israel in the “last days.” Perhaps this has bearing on the identity of the descendants of Jacob and their land in days still to come (This despite the fact that most Jews today have no idea from which tribe they are descended). Over 400 years after the release of these words, they were supplemented with further prophetic words by Moses (Deuteronomy 33). Perhaps, as with some words shown to Daniel (Daniel 12:9), some of these are “closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” As we read, let us pray that these words, sent forth by the Spirit will not return to God void (Isaiah 55:11), but will indeed accomplish what He pleases, and prosper that for which they were sent out!

*Genesis 49:5. “Simeon and Levi are brothers; instruments of cruel violence (Hebrew: hamas) their trade. Let my soul not enter into their secret council, their assembly my presence shun. For in their fury they slaughtered men, at their pleasure they tore down ramparts. Cursed be their fury so fierce, and their wrath so remorseless! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.”

The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1:20); in the case of these two brothers, it produced senseless slaughter of many innocent men. It would also result in loss or dispersion of much of their future inheritance; Simeon’s territory would be enclosed within that of Judah, and Levi would have no separate territory at all.

*Genesis 49:10-11. “Judah is a lion’s whelp…The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people. Binding his donkey to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.”

There has historically been great mystery surrounding this passage, part of it related to what exactly is meant by the Hebrew word transliterated “Shiloh”. It appears clear, nevertheless, that it is referring to One who is to come, to whom the “scepter” truly belongs, and who will be worthy of “the obedience of the people.” There seem to be further hints in the New Testament: Matthew 21:2-7 refers to a donkey tied with its colt upon which Yeshua would enter Jerusalem; Revelation 7:14 speaks of those whose garments will have been “washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb”; and Revelation 19:13 foretells One called “Faithful and True” clothed with a vesture dipped in blood, and His name is also called “The Word of God.”

PLEASE PRAY: for revelation in Israel that the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David” has come—and is coming again as King of Kings and Lord of Lords! (Revelation 5:5; 19:16).

*Genesis 49:29-31. “Then [Jacob] charged them and said to them: I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite…There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah…” Something in the way she is mentioned in this passage suggests that by the end of Leah’s life (and the many years following), she who had been hated (Genesis 29:31) had grown in Jacob’s affections, and indeed his love.

*Genesis 50:19-20. JOSEPH (To his brothers after the death of their father Jacob): “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

“For we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

The readings for next week (31 December 2017—6 January 2018) are called Sh’mot—“Names”

TORAH: Exodus 1:1—6:1

HAFTARAH: Isaiah 27:6—28:13; 29:22-23

In A Nutshell

In the portion, VaYechi [Jacob Lived], Jacob and his sons join Joseph in Egypt. When the time of Jacob’s death draws near he calls on Joseph and swears him to bury him in the land of Israel and not in Egypt. Joseph asks him to bless his two sons, Ephraim and Menashe before he dies. Jacob blesses them and says that they will be as his sons, Reuben and Simeon. Subsequently, Jacob blesses the rest of his sons and orders them to burry him in the Cave of Machpelah in the land of Israel.

Following Jacob’s death, Joseph receives special permission from Pharaoh to go and bury his father in the land of Israel. Jacob goes to Canaan with his brothers and all the elders of Egypt, arrives at the Cave of Machpelah, buries Jacob there, then returns to Egypt.

Along the way, his brothers fear that he will take vengeance against them for selling him to slavery, but Joseph soothes their fears. He promises them that he will always remain their brother and not their enemy.

Jacob’s blessing comes true and Menashe and Ephraim have many children. Toward the end of the portion Joseph is about to die. He summons his brothers and tells them that the Creator will bring them and his sons out of Egypt, and orders them to take his bones and bury them in the land of Israel.

Commentary

The Torah teaches us how to develop our souls. Initially, we have only the point in the heart. It appears when a person begins to ask about the reason and the meaning of life. Through this question, one begins to see that life is not meant only to live here in this world for seventy or so years. Rather, this life was given as an opportunity to develop the soul.

The soul develops from the evil inclination, opposite which is the “light that reforms.” In other words, if we correct the evil inclination using the light that reforms, we thus develop the soul. This is how the evil inclination becomes the good inclination.

This correction does not relate merely to having good human relations. Rather, through the light we also begin to experience the spiritual world, Godliness, as it is written, “You will see your world in your life.”[1]

The portion deals with the three primary forces: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, which are Hesed, Gevura, and Tifferet. These forces exist in the soul of each of us, or in the general soul called Adam. Abraham and Isaac are two opposite lines—right and left, Hesed and Gevura—while the Jacob quality in us, the senior patriarch, includes Abraham and Isaac within it, and is the middle line, called Tifferet. Using the quality of Jacob, meaning the two forces that exist in it, directs us for the first time toward the proper manner of the correction of the soul.

The result of using the forces of the quality of Jacob is his sons. The sons are all the qualities that emerge from the quality of Jacob, the middle quality that uses all of Nature’s forces to develop the soul within us, the Godly part of us, the higher part within us. The structure of the Sephirot ends with the quality of Joseph—the foundation that collects within us all the preceding qualities: Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, and Hod.

The righteous Joseph is called Yesod (foundation) because he is a “righteous, the foundation of the world” (Proverbs, 10:25). The world is the structure that operates in relation to Malchut, in relation to the whole of Israel, toward all of our desires.

Our desires are Egypt, the ego within us. If we properly position this upper structure, which contains Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, and Yesod, we can act properly toward the Egypt in us, toward the Pharaoh, the evil inclination, our ego.

The portion describes the beginning of the reciprocal work with our Godly part, which includes the patriarchs up to Joseph, including him. The reciprocal work includes all the qualities of Israel, which descend to the ego and operate in it. In this way the Torah teaches us how to work with ourselves, how to find within us all the sublime qualities of the nine upper Sephirot, which end in Yesod—Joseph—bestowing upon Malchut, the tenth Sephira—Pharaoh.

Jacob is the upper part in the qualities of the Creator—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—which are the upper triangle: Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet. The qualities of Netzah, Hod, and Yesod, however, are the lower triangle. These are the qualities of the house of Jacob and Jacob’s sons, including Joseph. When these qualities operate properly within Egypt, Egypt is granted abundance and everyone is happy and developing.

Jacob’s passing marks the conclusion of the task of the upper part of the structure of the soul, which was carried out through Joseph in Egypt. Jacob is the middle line. When that quality goes down to Egypt, through Joseph, and tends to the Egyptians, Egypt is enriched and everyone, including Pharaoh, is content.

As this takes place, forces of bestowal enter Egypt and gradually develop in the egoistic will to receive, and the force of bestowal understands that it can gain from it, for example, by trading with others or by being considerate toward others. It is similar to today’s international commerce, which is driven by the sensation that we can benefit through each other. This is a development of the qualities of bestowal, which still work with the qualities of reception.

In this way, the quality of Jacob goes down to Malchut, Egypt, to the general will to receive. This quality is like a Trojan horse entering our ego. The will to receive provides the ego with everything for its own delight. The ego enjoys the quality of bestowal working in it for its own benefit, and the sensation that everything is working smoothly. But this continues until we reach today, when we are at a state where we feel that something has ended.

A similar thing happened in Egypt: Jacob passed away and the elders of Egypt, with Pharaoh’s blessing, lead him to the land of Canaan, to the Cave of Machpelah, where he is buried by his sons. The name, Cave of Machpelah, signifies Hachpalah (doubling), since there are two worlds in that cave—Bina and Malchut—joined together.

After a while, when the sons of Jacob return to Egypt, the narrative repeats itself with Joseph. But unlike Jacob, Joseph remains in Egypt and only after some time are his bones brought up from there. That is, the bone, the foundation that is instilled in Egypt—the qualities of bestowal that work with the egoistic will to receive—eventually bring us to a state of despair, to the seven years of famine. Out of all these problems a person discovers and feels that he must part from the ego. This is when the process of exiting from the ego begins.

Two forces emerge from the quality of Joseph, Ephraim and Menashe, who received Jacob’s blessing. They emerge from the upper triangle into the lower one, and operate in Egypt. Prior to his demise, Joseph tells the people around him that in time they will all come out of Egypt and that the reason why they entered it was to take from it all that could be corrected, except for the stony heart. Everything can be brought out of Egypt except for the Yesod of the last evil, which we cannot correct until the end of correction. This is why it is written that they will come out with great substance (Genesis, 15:14).

Joseph passes away so we can achieve the recognition of evil. When we develop egoistically, we grow detached from anything good that the combination between the qualities of bestowal and the qualities of reception might yield. We reach a state of despair, dryness, and finally a state of “And the children of Israel sighed because of the work” (Exodus, 2:23). This is when the exodus begins.

The portion contains a repeating element—the blessing before death. Joseph asks Jacob to bless his sons, then Joseph blesses his own sons. The conclusion of a degree means death. What is the meaning of the blessing of the sons and grandsons?

A degree that has ended becomes the next degree, and the next degree comes in its stead. The new degree is much thicker, with a greater desire and greater achievements. While the patriarchs were great, they were great in their purity. We, however, the last ones, are now doing the biggest work.

Each degree blesses its following degree, giving it all of its Reshimot (recollections), all of its powers, and supports it from within, from below. This is called “the burying of the bones” of the degree. Within the soul are Moach (marrow), Atzamot (bones), Gidim (tendons), Bassar (flesh), and Or (skin), which are five discernments. We bury the Atzamot of the degree, and this is how the next degree is built and continues.

The blessing is actually the light of Hassadim that the lower degree transmits to the upper one. In other words, it is Ohr Hozer (Reflected Light), Masach (screen), and Ohr Hozer. All the qualities of bestowal that one obtained in the previous degree move with the person to the next. In fact, there is nothing more to take from state to state, but only the force of bestowal that has been obtained, the force of love, of relinquishing.

But this does not help with the new Aviut (thickness, will to receive), since the children have a much bigger Aviut, so how does the blessing of the father, who is on a smaller level of Aviut, help with the new desire?

This depends on the sons. There is much more in the father than there is in the sons, but the father cannot actualize this Aviut. Therefore, he gives what he has to his sons, and if they know how to work with it they will use what they received in order to advance.

The sons do not have more than the Aviut they received from the fathers. However, precisely because of their greater Aviut—their bigger will to receive, ego—they can actualize a potential force of bestowal out of that blessing according to who they are.

How does one know that one is about to die, such as with Jacob and Joseph?

When a degree ends. In corporeality, the spiritual state affects the corporeal one. But in spirituality there is a process in a degree called TANTA (Taamim, Nekudot, Tagin, Otiot). The expansion of the light and its departure are gradual. First there is the Bitush (battering) of inner and outer in the Partzuf of the soul, inside the soul.

In that state one feels that one has stopped working due to one’s inability to continue correcting oneself. To proceed with the correction one must start anew, begin a new period, reenter the egoistic will to receive, but more deeply and with greater force.

We all consist of four Behinot (discernments) of Ohr Yashar (Direct Light), or from the name HaVaYaH (Yod–Hey–Vav–Hey). Everything in reality divides into five discernments: root, than the four Behinot HaVaYaH. This is why we have to keep starting anew; why there is life and death—a process of expansion and departure of light. Because we cannot make the correction all at once, in “one day,” but require many actions (days) to achieve the general correction.

Is it we who perform the correction or is it the light that makes the change in us?

The light makes the correction in us, but it happens according to our request and demand. This is called “work” on our part. We haven’t the strength, but we have the power to decide and recognize, and to want it to happen.

From The Zohar: Behold, Your Father Is Ill

It is written, “Joseph was told, ‘Behold, your father,’” belonging to the next world, ZA in Mochin of upper Bina, who is called “the next world,” wanting to do good to His sons so they will come out from their exile. And if, in Your truthfulness, you will not want, meaning you will not find them worthy of it, then the Name with four, “HaVaYaH is one” [“The Lord is one”] will correct you and Divinity will return to her place. This is so because if the sons are not worthy of redemption of their own, ZA will correct them for elevating them to the next world, which is Bina, and by that, the unification of One HaVaYaH will be established.

Zohar for All, VaYechi [Jacob Lived], item 37

All we need to do from the Cave of Machpelah—the connection between Bina and Malchut—is doubling. We must elevate everything that is inside the Malchut, sanctify it in Bina, i.e. the blessing, then combine them in such a way that Bina and Malchut are as one. This is the meaning of connecting heaven and earth. Through these acts we perform between Bina and Malchut we correct ourselves. Finally, when all those actions are done, all the evil in us will be corrected into good.

This portion contains many entrances and exists from Egypt to Israel. Joseph entered Egypt; the brothers departed it then returned; Joseph went to bury Jacob in Israel then returned to Egypt. Is this how the qualities of the upper one connect to the lower one?

Of course. Each and every moment we are performing minuscule corrections between the nine Sephirot, the qualities of the Creator, and the tenth Sephira, Malchut, the quality of the creature, man, the ego. Even the most ordinary person still undergoes corrections through the passing states. This is why there is time in our world. However, these corrections occur without that person’s awareness.

These days, through the despair and frustration over what is happening in the world, beginning from this generation onward, we will gradually realize that we truly must make changes. In this world, these changes manifest in how we relate to one another. We must implement love of others, correct ourselves, the relations between us, and serve as an example for the world, be a light for the nations.[2] If we treat others well we will thus activate the force of Bina, the force of Joseph, or even the force of Jacob and the patriarchs, toward Malchut, meaning toward the rest of the world.

But the will to receive itself does not change, so does it always remain our “engine”?

The will to receive itself does not change, only how we use it changes. It always remains our engine. Using the will to receive we can do as much good as we do harm; it depends how we use it.

But the will to receive is always motivated by the thought that a reward awaits at the end, while in the desire to bestow it is the opposite.

Bestowal is the reward. Previously, we thought we could achieve anything, that we could conquer space and make great achievements in every realm. Today we see that we have everything but it is all empty. From the point of inverting our use of the desire, we find a way to progress favorably. We simply switch the way we use our ego from the evil inclination to the good inclination using the light that reforms.

In other words, all we need is to change our values?

Correct, we only need to change our values. Then, when we all connect as one man with one heart, loving our neighbors as ourselves, in that connection we will discover the spiritual life.

It seems that there is such a process in the world today. There is calm then a blow, then some try to revert to how it was while others are groping in the dark wondering about the future. Is this the connection that is appearing today?

Yes, because we cannot contain all the changes at once. It happens so we can understand, grow accustomed to how it was, and then advance. Our current thinking and way of life, compared to what we were like a thousand years ago, are radically different. We cannot grasp how people lived then. It is not like traveling to a different part of the world; they were completely different people. This is why the process of development takes thousands of years. Although today we are developing much faster, it is still impossible to act at once.

It is the same in mechanics; if we want to transmit large of amounts of data, we need high frequencies, many pulses. This is why it is clear that the crisis will not end at once, but will stretch on, wear us out, and return. But in each return we will understand it more deeply.

Usually, the blows do not come as a single blow that is experienced over a long time. If it did we would get used to it. The will to receive gets used to everything, even to constant pressure. It begins to protect itself and stops feeling it. Only because there are intermissions can we contemplate and understand the reason, and the next time around relate to reality in a completely different way. Each time, our recognition of our own evil deepens, and when it comes we understand it better, connect it with the cause, as well as with the possible consequence, or the desirable one, and this gives us free choice.

[1]Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Berachot, 17a
[2]“ I the Lord have called you in righteousness, and have taken hold of your hand, and kept you, and set you for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations” (Isaiah, 42:6).

This Week’s Torah Portion | December 17 – December 23, 2017 – 29 Kislev – 5 Tevet, 5778

VaYigash (Judah Approached) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

VAYIGASH
TORAH : GENESIS 44:18-47:27
PROPHETS : EZEKIEL 37:15-28
GOSPEL : LUKE 24:30

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 17-23 December 2017 are called VaYiggash—“And He [i.e. Judah] Drew Near”:

*Genesis 44:18; 46:28. “Then he [Judah] drew near to him [Joseph]…” There is no question that the story of Joseph and his brothers provides a prophetic picture of Yeshua/Jesus and His “own” (i.e. the Hebrew people) who rejected Him—but to whom He will one day be revealed as “risen from the dead” to provide salvation. He continues to love them with an everlasting love and to “draw” them with loving kindness (Jeremiah 31:3). In His grace, many are already “drawing near” to God, confessing their sin and inadequacy as did the brothers. At the close of last week’s Portion Judah confessed: “What shall we say to my Lord? What shall we speak? How can we make ourselves righteous? God has brought out the iniquity of your servants!” As they draw near, Yeshua, like Joseph, miraculously reveals Himself to them! (Zechariah 2:9, 11) And this picture of His kindness, His salvation for Israel is itself a portrait of the same love and righteousness He offers on behalf of all humankind!

PLEASE PRAY: for more and more in Israel to be led in God’s kindness to repentance and to respond to His call to “draw near.”

*Genesis 44:20, 30-34. “ ‘We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, who is young; his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him.’… ‘Now, therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad’s life, it will happen, when he sees that the lad is not with us, that he will die. So your servants will bring down the gray hair of your servant our father with sorrow to the grave.’”

Twenty-two years earlier, the jealousy and hatred in their hearts towards Joseph had calloused the hearts of the brothers towards their father’s feelings to the extent that they greatly dishonoured Jacob when they abused the son he loved. “It is the Lord’s mercies which lead us to repentance.” We see now how a genuine respectful, familial tenderness has at last been awakened towards the feelings of their Father. Malachi 4:5-6 tells of a day when God’s prophetic word will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, before the coming of the “great and dreadful day of the LORD.”

*Genesis 46:28. “Then he (Jacob) sent Judah before him to Joseph, to point out before him the way to Goshen. And they came to the land of Goshen.” Beginning in Chapter 43 and more strongly emphasized here, the mantle of leadership shifts from Reuben to Judah. From here on, a special precedence will be given to this tribe—“Judah goes first”! From Jacob’s blessing regarding a scepter of royalty (Gen. 49:8); to leadership of the armies marching towards Canaan (Numbers 10:14); to the securing of the land in the time of the Judges (Judges 1:2), to the Kingship of David; to the birth of the Messiah in the City of David; to Zechariah’s prophecy of the Last Days when “The LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem” but “will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah” (Zechariah 2:12; 12:7)—God has chosen that this tribe shall lead (See also I Chronicles 5:2).

There is much of significance which may be drawn from this…but perhaps the most immediate point would be related to the name itself, Yehudah (Judah), given by Leah at his birth (Genesis 29:35). The word means “Thankful praise expressed by the raising of the hands”.

PLEASE PRAY: for a fresh awakening of thanksgiving and praise among the Body in Israel, with an awareness that this must come first (II Chron. 20:21-22). It is such thankful praise which will lead Israel into victories and into the true place of her inheritance in Messiah. Pray that the Lord will indeed “take possession of praise” in the Holy Land (Zechariah 2:12), that it will be released to His glory in Spirit and in Truth.

*Ezekiel 37:21-23. “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will purify them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.”

PLEASE PRAY: that the Spirit who ‘convicts of sin and righteousness and judgment’ would be poured out on Israel in increasing measure, bringing her to a place where God can reveal the Purification which has been prepared for her—so that Israel may indeed dwell in his land of covenant forever (vs. 25).

*Ezekiel 37:21-22. “I will…bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again” (Emphases ours).

It is plain that God still sees the Land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’s seed forever as being “their own land.” The “mountains of Israel” refers to Judea and Samaria, that same area currently labelled the “West Bank” and slated by much of the world to be split off, forming “two nations side by side” each with its own leader. From these two verses, it is clear that such a “two–state” solution made up of two nations and with two different leaders is not, nor will ever be God’s plan. Only He can bring divided Israel back and make them one nation in this same section of His land in which the promises in Shechem, Bethel and Hebron were made. Hence, the huge warfare already raging and which will continue until Israel comes into relation with her God, the final battle is won, and God’s Kingdom is established there (Ezekiel 38-39).

PLEASE PRAY: That God’s kingdom come in the returning Children of Israel and in the Mountains of Israel—Judea, Jerusalem and Samaria. Pray for a renewed sense of stewardship of Jews in Israel regarding all which God says is “their own land”—and an awareness of Who must be trusted to bring it to pass if it is never to be divided into two kingdoms again.

*Ezekiel 37:24-25. “David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd…My servant David shall be their prince forever.”

Evangelical Christianity often sees this “David” as Yeshua/Jesus, the spiritual and physical descendant of the David anointed by Samuel. And there is no question that Yeshua will certainly reign from His throne in Jerusalem (Psalm 2) as King of Kings. As verse 28 here states, “the nations also will know that I, YHVH, make Israel holy, when my holy place is in their midst forevermore.”

Yet Hebrew tradition (and one borne out by the language of the Hebrew in the text), assumes that this particular passage in Ezekiel refers to a resurrected David, the “shepherd king” son of Jesse. (It is of interest that the “Prince” who begins to be mentioned in Ezekiel 45:7 and who ministers in the midst of the mysterious Temple described there is designated with the same Hebrew word nasi as the word for “prince” here. David’s often stated desire was that he might “dwell in the house of the YHVH forever.”).

PLEASE PRAY: That God’s government come into place in this land. Both in the near and in the distant future, may His Kingdom Come!

[The readings for next week (24-30 December 2017) are called VaYechi—“And He [i.e. Jacob] Lived”. TORAH: Genesis 47:28—50:26; HAFTARAH: I Kings 2:1-12.]

In A Nutshell

In the portion, VaYigash (Judah Approached), Joseph asks his brothers to leave BenjaminJanuary 1 – January 7, 2016 – 3 Tevet – 9 Tevet, 5777having discovered the silver goblet that he himself hid in his belongings. Judah explains to Joseph that he cannot leave Benjamin behind because he is responsible for him and he promised his father to bring him back safe. Judah tells Joseph that they had already lost one brother, not knowing that Joseph is the one managing the event behind the scenes.

Joseph decides to expose himself to his brothers. He tells them how his selling for slavery turned out for the best, and that now he can support his family because he is in charge of all of Egypt. After the reconciliation, Joseph sends the brothers to Jacob with carts and goods, and asks Jacob to come to Egypt.

At first, Jacob cannot believe the story. But once the brothers present him with Joseph’s gift, he is delighted and wants to go to Egypt to see Joseph before he dies. On the way to Egypt, Jacob stops and offers sacrifices. The Creator appears to Jacob and promises him that his descendants will be a great nation in Egypt, and that eventually they will all return to the land of Israel.

Jacob and the brothers arrive in Egypt, in the land of Goshen, where Joseph meets them. He bursts in tears when he sees his father after all those years. Joseph tells them that Pharaoh wants to meet them.

To prepare for the meeting Joseph tells the brothers and Jacob to say that they are shepherds and wish to live in a separate place from the Egyptians, in the land of Goshen. Joseph introduces his father and brothers to Pharaoh, who agrees that they will live in the land of Goshen.

The hunger continues and Joseph provides for everyone. The Egyptians and all the others give up their money and eventually themselves as slaves to Pharaoh.

At the end of the portion Joseph establishes a system of taxation by which Pharaoh holds all the assets; he provides the Egyptians seeds for their crops, and they give him one fifth of the crop.

Commentary

The portion describes both the internal process of man’s development, and the general process in the correction of the world. Man and the world are one, the particular and general are equal.

This is a special portion, which is still pertinent. It deals with the spiritual force entering an ordinary person and beginning to correct that person.

For the purpose of connection, a person needs both the physical force and the spiritual force, like heaven and earth. The two forces—of the Creator and of the creature—conjoin, and the human will grow out of them. This is really the purpose of our development, to connect the material substance with the human form, which is similar to the Creator.

It is not simple to make those two forces meet. Creation consists only of these two forces—the giving force, the Creator, and the receiving force, the creature, which the Creator created on purpose as a replication of Himself.

The two forces have to join so the creature becomes included in the Creator, and the Creator becomes included in the creature, where there is understanding, a connection between them. In that connection, the creature can present requests to the Creator, who understands them and bestows upon the creature through the mutual connection, through the part of the Creator that is in the creature, so the creature, too, can understand the Creator.

It is similar to relationships between people. Assume that we have no connection between us. But when we begin to tell each other about ourselves and sympathize with each other’s feelings, each of us receives a part from the other. The connection between us was made through the parts we share in common.

In the material world, too, we must regulate instruments to make them work on the same wavelength, so they “understand” one another. For example, for one computer to “understand” another, there needs to be a modem with certain limitations, certain registrations, and so forth.

It is likewise with the connection between the Creator and the creature. The whole purpose of creation is for the creature to ascend in Dvekut (adhesion) to the degree of the Creator. They achieve Dvekut according to their equivalence of form, equivalence of their qualities. In the end, the human must have the qualities of the Creator.

“The inclination in a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21). We are Pharaoh; it is our nature, our “self.” The first quality of the Creator that appears in us is called Abraham. This is why he is called “the father of the nation,” meaning the quality of bestowal in a person.

Subsequently, out of the line of Abraham, the right line, the line of Hesed, emerges the quality of Gevura, Isaac. Finally, the quality of Tifferet—which is Jacob—comes out.

Jacob is the beginning of the formation of the right connection between Abraham and Isaac; this is what makes him the most special of the fathers, the senior one. He can combine the two forces, bestowal and reception, and arrange them within him in the middle line.

However, it is not enough. We must learn by ourselves how to implement these three lines that comes to us from above, from our creation. The portion describes how the upper force gradually permeates us like water percolates into the ground to get to the place where it is dry, to Egypt.

The heart of the problem lies in Jacob’s qualities, which are in his sons. With the exclusion of Joseph, they do not understand what they must do. Joseph understands that there is a need to unite all the sons. He tells them: “You will all bow to me because I am the Yesod, the foundation that unites all of you.” But they do not understand.

Although we contain all the qualities, and begin to connect them together, we do not understand how to do it. This is why the selling and buying teach us how to work with those qualities within us.

The wisdom of Kabbalah does not deal with historic events. Rather, it deals with man’s correction from within. Our whole process of work is about correction. First we absorb the quality of bestowal, love, affinity to others. Accordingly, we draw nearer to the Creator, we change, and we correct ourselves.

The portion tells us how things unfold, beginning with the selling of Joseph to Egypt. Joseph is the force of bestowal, while Egypt is our vessels of reception, the desires to receive. The desires to receive can work only as simple farmers, but Joseph is a quality that already knows how to exchange tools with others, how to sell and buy. He gives crops and receives something from the outside in return, from people who produce, such as instruments.

Through negotiation, giving and receiving, it is possible to connect, to gain wealth, and to ascend in degrees. The quality of Joseph enables it because it knows how to connect egoistic parts that cannot otherwise connect. This is what happens in the Egypt within us; this is also what happens in the physical Egypt.

We can see it throughout history. Jews who lived among the nations worked and operated in education, culture, but especially in commerce, which is a connection of all the nations. Once they developed commerce, they began to develop industry, just as it happened in Egypt, which suddenly began to thrive. Along with prosperity came a problem—the more you grow, the more you are prone to decline, to fall, to reveal the new evil.

This is where the years of abundance and the years of hunger come from. Only the force of bestowal within us can manage them. The more we advance in our correction, the more we go through the process in a good and proper manner. In this way, all the previous qualities of bestowal, the house of Jacob, move into Egypt, into the will to receive, which is enriched by them to the point that when Jacob comes with his family to Egypt, Pharaoh understands how much he gains by it.

When we begin to work with the vessels of bestowal—I help you and you help me—our ego develops. One who knows how to connect with others and exchange with them, similar to what happens within us, knows how to work with the force of reception and the force of bestowal together.

At first, this work is called Lo Lishma (not for Her sake), since a person is still profiting and thinks that all is going well, and therefore works with both forces. When the upper forces are included in a person, one begins to discover the development of the process, which leads to the sensation of exile and the exodus from Egypt.

This happens despite the fact that for the time being the two forces—force of bestowal and force of reception—work in us in favor of the ego, and Pharaoh is gaining riches. In other words, the part of Malchut, the fifth part of out of Keter, Hochma, Bina, Zeir Anpin, and Malchut, is truly being filled.

Our ego receives twenty percent of the general profit, and thus grows. It is the same for all the Egyptians, our egoistic qualities—they live and grow. The house of Jacob grows, too. It multiplies by adding to itself more of the Egyptian’s ego, the will to receive.

We add to the ego, growing and advancing, as preparation for the process of correction. A person who studies the wisdom of Kabbalah while still in this world enjoys this world as well as the spiritual world, gaining from both. While in this world, a person comes to understand and to feel what is happening to him or her, and seemingly rises above others. Such a person gains also from the wisdom of Kabbalah, thus feeling that one has profited from both worlds. However, it changes after some time.

For now, however, both the house of Pharaoh and the house of Jacob are gaining riches. The profit goes to the qualities of the Creator and to the qualities of the creature; the will to receive and the desire to bestow mingle and work together. There is a great connection between them until they come across a crisis point that does not let them continue.

This is where the whole world currently stands. Until now we have been using the force of bestowal to develop technologies, techniques, instruments, and so on. We are in a global network of industry and commerce in almost every realm. And yet, we have reached the recognition of evil—the understanding that we must be better connected among us in order to advance further. But our egos prevent it from us.

This is what the children of Israel discovered in Egypt—the point that was to push them further, to a higher level, to the land of Israel. Our world, too, will have to emerge from this crisis and into the level of the general land of Israel, for everyone.

The world is now moving into the years of hunger, yet the majority of people refuse to recognize it. Where is today’s quality of Joseph, the quality that says we must collect during the good years so we have something to keep us through the years of famine?

At the time of abundance everything was great. Joseph was in Malchut, in Egypt. But when the hunger begins, begins the second half of the exile and in Egypt, and we are feeling the exile. This is when Joseph completes his role, he is no longer here.

The nine Sephirot—Keter, Hochma, Bina, Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, and Yesod—are the descent of abundance from above downward. Joseph is the ninth; he collects the previous eight Sephirot and brings them to Malchut. This is why he is called Joseph (from the Hebrew word Osef [collecting]). Malchut is our entire ego, the will to receive, the quality of the creature, us. Joseph includes all the previous qualities, the qualities of the Creator, abundance and light for all.

What does it mean that “a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph” (Exodus 1:8)?

It is the beginning of the process toward Moses. There are several stages in the process: first, the children of Israel discover that they are in Egypt. There is a difference between one’s personal work and the general process in the world; they are very different.

What is happening in the world today?

The current situation in the world is that we are at a tipping point. We must understand that henceforth Pharaoh takes control, so we will experience states of hunger and states of abundance. Joseph comes and says to Pharaoh that he has no choice but to establish a new order in Egypt, where everything is under his complete control. However, he must give them seeds and take twenty percent in taxes from them, and divide it so that Israel are poor.

In other words, our egoistic desires need to feel poor, that they have nothing other than belonging to the ego, for their mere survival, and what maintains them is the connection with Joseph. Joseph gives them seeds, the sustenance, life, and receives from them the tax. This is how we, too, must feel—that only our force of connection throughout the world unites us into one and allows us to advance, live, revive our souls, and that otherwise we are doomed.

First we must study these things. We must go through this entire process and advance toward the revelation that we must correct ourselves, including the Pharaoh in us. We must rise above him and escape from Egypt. The whole process aims toward escape.

The correction of Egypt entails two states: if we want to correct a certain quality in us, we must first stop working with it completely. Afterward we can advance toward it and work with it in a new way; perhaps less than before. For example, if we are forbidden to eat salt for health reasons, we first avoid salt completely, then resume eating small amounts of it.

We must escape Egypt so we can truly and finally unite. We cannot unite while in Egypt. Within Egypt, only the children of Israel can unite, and only in a certain manner. When we are in our egos and we try to build ourselves properly, to be in accord with nature, we suddenly discover that we are building Pithom and Raamses. Everything we build is swallowed up in the ego, the will to receive, so we never gain anything. Today we are seeing how everything we have built throughout the world is under a threat of tsunamis that will leave no trace of our work, and we have no guarantee as to the future of our children and grand children.

Can we know where this will lead?

Yes. After all, we can learn from studies that there is no point having children anymore. If there were no plan from above in that regard, one that we trust, it would really be so.

Joseph gave a special treatment to his family. He planned what they should say and how. This shows that he cared for them personally. In the spiritual world, is there such a thing as being “the favored one”?

Egypt cannot exist, and the world cannot exist without the children of Israel. Likewise, we personally cannot exist without contact with the upper abundance, and we are truly about to feel it. Only by joining everyone together, including the Egyptians, meaning the entire world, will we be able to advance.

Joseph says that the children of Israel should live only outside of Egypt, in the land of Goshen. It is so because to advance, a person needs to separate one’s vessels of reception from the vessels of bestowal. Otherwise, one might find that one is working only for the ego and will never be able to come out of it.

To manage Egypt properly, the qualities of bestowal must be outside of Egypt. This is why the children of Israel, who are in the land of Goshen, outside of Egypt, work in jobs that seem undignified in the eyes of the Egyptians, such as shepherds, since with them they seemingly nurture the qualities of bestowal in the qualities of reception. The Egyptians work in such a way that all the qualities of bestowal are good to fill the qualities of reception in them, the ego. For the Jews, the work is different; their entire ego, the qualities of reception, work to develop the qualities of bestowal.

It seems as though Joseph favored his family, as though he gave them preference.

This is correct, but even Pharaoh understood that it was for his own good, until the moment when they separate. As long as they are both in the will to receive, it is worthwhile for a person. It is a period called Lo Lishma. You have a part, and I have a part. You may have some more and I may have a little less, or the other way around, but we get along. We cannot do without each other.

This is how we advance until we reach a crisis, a barrier we must cross with effort. That transition will happen at the foot of Mt. Sinai, where the human is born.

From The Zohar: Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama

“Then … approached him” is the approaching of world in a world, the approaching of the lower world, Nukva, Nefesh, Judah, to the upper world, Yesod de ZA, Ruach, Joseph, so that everything will be one. Because Judah was a king and Joseph was a king, they approached each other and united in one another.

Zohar for All, VaYigash (Judah Approached), item 22

There are many discernments throughout the process of Joseph, beginning with his selling, his arrival in Egypt, the sending away of the brothers and the reacceptance. In this process we connect within us the two qualities, that of the Creator and that of the creature.

The problem of connecting the qualities of bestowal with the qualities of reception in a person is not so simple. We see it in our friends, especially among beginners. We see how difficult it is for them to accept these spiritual qualities, which they have never felt before. They begin to feel that there is bestowal, love, and connection here, a new way of perceiving the world, through new “spectacles,” and it is not so easy.

This Week’s Torah Portion | December 03 – December 09, 2017 – 15 Kislev – 21 Kislev, 5778

VaYeshev (And Jacob Sat) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

TORAH : GENESIS 37:1-40:23
PROPHETS : AMOS 2:6-3:8
GOSPEL : MATTHEW 1:18-25

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 3-9 December 2017 are called VaYeshev—“And He Settled”:

This week we begin the story of Joseph and his brothers.

*Genesis 37:11. “His brothers were jealous of him [Joseph’s prophetic dream], but his father kept the matter in mind” (NKJV). A more literal rendering of the Hebrew might be: “but his father guarded the word.” (Luke 2:51 tells how Miriam (Mary) similarly “kept, guarded” the prophetically significant words and occurrences which were taking place with her young son Yeshua).

Both the Torah and Haftarah for this week focus upon God’s prophetic gifts for His people, particularly as they are and shall be released upon the godly young (See also Joel 2:28-32). As the Lord returns to Zion with deliverance and an outpouring of His Spirit.

PLEASE PRAY for mature instruction in the prophetic among Israelis—when and how to share prophecies and dreams; how to “guard” and save a Word of the LORD until its time comes to fruition; also how to guard against giving place to the flesh which can awaken jealousies towards those who may be more gifted in certain areas than we are.

*Genesis 39:8-9. “But he refused [his master’s wife’s seductive advances] and said, ‘Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house…he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?”

PLEASE PRAY for clean minds and hearts and the Fear of the Lord in believing Israeli youth who are under constant temptation to compromise their integrity and sexual purity. Revelation 14 speaks of 144,000 who will not have defiled themselves. Perhaps there are some of that army already alive in the land! If so, the Evil One will do all he can to divert them from their destiny. Pray for a new wave of bold and victorious youth and young adults governed by godly integrity—who would like Joseph have hatred of the very thought of sinning against their neighbor and their God.

*Genesis 40:8. “And they said to him, ‘We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.’ So Joseph said to them, ‘Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.’” Joseph’s rhetorical question is answered centuries later by another godly young Hebrew captive, Daniel, “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets…” (Daniel 2:28).

*Amos 2:6. “Thus says YHVH, ‘For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they sell the righteous for silver…’” This is the usual reason given for the choice of this passage as the week’s Haftarah, the connection being the selling of the righteous Joseph by his brothers to Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver (Genesis 37:28). Yet in a strange way, the following verses also make a connection: “A man and his father go in to the same girl, to defile My holy name. They lie down by every altar on clothes taken in pledge…” Genesis 38 relates how a most un-righteous Judah would (unknowingly) go in to the same woman as had his older sons…leaving a signet, cord and staff as pledge.

In this story we see many ways in which the righteous Joseph prefigures Yeshua, the coming Messiah. He here remains pure in the face of temptation, even though it will mean suffering. On the other hand, Judah, through whose seed the Messiah will someday come, is immediately seen as one enslaved to desires of his fallen human nature. God would work sovereignly through even his sinful failures (Judah will, in fact, later acknowledge his unrighteousness—38:26; 44:16), so as to guard the passage of the seed He had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to bless. Over 800 years later, a blessing over Naomi (Ruth 4:12) will be “May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the LORD will give you from this [Ruth] young woman!” That “offspring” would eventuate in David the King…and finally, Yeshua the Hebrew Messiah and Saviour of the World.

Lion in a Jerusalem Zoo.
“A Lion has Roared!” The King of Beasts in a Jerusalem Zoo.

“Surely the Lord YHVH does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to his servants the prophets.
A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord YHVH has spoken! Who can but prophesy?”
(Amos 3:7-8).

*Amos 2:11-12; 3:7-8. “ ‘I raised up some of your sons as prophets, and some of your young men as Nazirites. Is it not so, O you children of Israel?’ Says the LORD…Surely the Lord YHVH does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to his servants the prophets. A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord YHVH has spoken! Who can but prophesy?”

PLEASE PRAY for the raising up of sons and daughters in Israel who move confidently and soundly in the prophetic giftings. Pray for the restoration of the office of “Prophet” in the Land. Satan hates this—because the spirit of prophecy involves “the testimony of Yeshua” (Revelation 19:10b), and most of Israel is still behind a veil regarding their Messiah. It is this gift and office which brings clarity, understanding, instruction and encouragement to the Body regarding “what the Spirit is saying to the congregations.” We rejoice to report that we see this gifting beginning to manifest in a powerful and clean way among Jewish and Arab young adults in the Land. Pray Joel 2:28-32 over this young eager generation:

“…I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughter shall prophesy… For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as YHVH has said, among the remnant whom YHWH calls.”

[The readings for next week (10-16 December 2017) are called MiKetz—“At the End Of”. TORAH: Genesis 41:1—44:17; HAFTARAH (Hanukkah): Zechariah 2:10—4:7.]

In A Nutshell

In the portion, VaYeshev (And Jacob Sat), Jacob dwells in the land of Canaan. The protagonist of this portion is Joseph, Jacob’s youngest son. Joseph was gifted with a knack for prophetic dreams. In one of them, he sees himself ruling over his brothers. He tells them about it and turns their envy against him.

His brothers lead the cattle to Shechem to graze there, and his father sends him to them. On his way he meets a man and asks him about his brothers: “I seek my brethren” (Genesis 37:16). By the time Joseph finds his brothers they are already conspiring to kill him because of their envy. Reuben manages to prevent them from committing the murder and the brothers decide to throw Joseph in a pit, instead, in order to sell him to the Ishmaelites. A convoy of Midianites that passes by takes Joseph with them down to Egypt.

When Joseph arrives in Egypt, he hides in the home of Pharaoh’s captain of the guard, Potiphar. Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce Joseph but he refuses. She avenges by saying that Joseph tried to force himself on her, and he is thrown to the dungeon.

In the pit, Joseph meets Pharaoh’s two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker. He also discloses his gift for prophetic dreams. He predicts that within three weeks the chief cupbearer will be released, and the chief baker will be hanged. Joseph asks the chief cupbearer that upon his release he will go to Pharaoh and tell him that he, Joseph, is jailed for no reason and that he should be released.

Commentary
This portion contains a profound spiritual message. It narrates the correction of the soul, which is man’s purpose in life, and the reason why the Torah was given. Initially, the evil inclination appears, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination, I have created for it the Torah as a spice,” for “the light in it reforms it.” “Reforming” means returning to a state of “love your neighbor as yourself.” That is, it brings a person back to the quality of bestowal, similarity with the Creator. This is what we should achieve, as it is written, “Return, Oh Israel unto the Lord your God” (Hosea 14:2).

The Torah demonstrates how the ego, the will to receive, keeps changing until it is corrected. In the example shown in this portion we see how all our qualities connect, then separate, manifesting imbalance among them until they beget more advanced qualities, closer to bestowal.

Jacob is the beginning of the quality of bestowal within us. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are the three patriarchs. Jacob is actually the senior, containing both the desire to receive and the desire to bestow within us, as it is only possible to elicit the middle line using both. The middle line, Jacob, is still not attributed to the level of execution in us, but to the level of decision making.

The expression of Jacob’s execution level is his sons, from Reuben, the eldest, to Joseph, the youngest. And precisely in this hierarchy do the qualities within us hang down. This is how our ego, in all its (still incorrect) forms, is corrected. The one who completes them is Joseph, the righteous. He gathers all the previous qualities into the quality of Yesod (foundation), which is called “the righteous Joseph,” or “a righteous, the foundation of the world” (Proverbs 10:25).

On the one hand Joseph is using all his previous qualities—Keter, Hochma, Bina, Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, and Yesod—but on the other hand he needs to lead them into Malchut. Malchut is the egoistic will to receive, Pharaoh, Egypt, symbolizing the entirety of our ego.

Once a person has reached a state of discovering within these qualities of bestowal—from Abraham, the quality of Hesed, through Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, and through Yesod, who is Joseph—it is time for one to part from the fathers and belong to the will to receive. First, one needs to permeate the will to receive, and then the will to receive permeates the person.

Once we are permeated with both qualities—reception and bestowal—we must see that first the quality of bestowal enters the quality of reception and begins to correct it. Only then does it begin to take out of the quality of reception, the part of the will to receive that can be corrected.

It is similar to an educator working with a band of criminals. He can take several of the more advanced members of the group, who are willing to work with him, and bring them out to correction. In other words, when entering the will to receive, it is exile. And when exiting it, one comes out with “great substance,” meaning with several “felons” who desire correction and consider it redemption. Once they are corrected, a person has “great substance” because one has acquired additional power in the general quality of bestowal.

Thus, through all those exiles and redemptions we correct the entire evil inclination. This is also how we understand the whole process, how we come to know the plan of creation, and how we become similar to the Creator. Joseph the last of the qualities of bestowal, goes through many processes in order to detach from the quality of bestowal and prepare to enter the quality of reception, i.e. Egypt.

This is the reason for his contention with his brothers. They hate him and reject him because they cannot understand what he wants. They do not understand how the youngest son can be the greatest. But Joseph is different from them.

Banim (sons) is three times Yod–Hey–Vav–Hey, in three lines. These are the twelve sons. Not only is he the greatest because he is willing to connect with them, but they also bow to him, surrender to him. As long as they do not enter Malchut, while he is already mingled with Egypt, they accept it because they see how that situation will later be realized in the will to receive for the purpose of correction. It follows that we go through stages that seem to us completely incorrect and bad, just as we do not understand the brothers’ conduct with Joseph.

Jacob is suffering but is helpless. The brothers wish to kill him and lie to Jacob, and strangers save Joseph from the pit, albeit their intention is to sell him. This is how we become detached from our previous qualities. We accumulate those previous qualities within the qualities of Yesod, the quality of Joseph, and we separate ourselves from using them. Put differently, we leave the land of Canaan and enter Egypt.

In Egypt, when we come in contact with the will to receive, when the quality of bestowal enters the will to receive, the will to receive immediately senses how much it can gain and profit from it. If it were just another form of reception it would not matter all that much. But if you can bestow in order to receive, as well, then you are like a merchant. You calculate every manner of bestowal that you add to the will to receive by connecting to everything, and through negotiation you can gain profits from them for yourself.

In this manner we discover that the quality of Joseph can be very lucrative to the will to receive. Such a person feels that he or she becomes shrewder, more powerful, more useful, and more successful than others. One does not behave aggressively in order to receive, but rather obtains by deliberation: “I will sell you this and you will sell me that.” It is a development of the ego.

This is why when the quality of Joseph mingles with our will to receive, as Joseph mingled with Egypt, it brings great profits to those who are with him in Egypt, according to the story, or to the person, meaning to one’s self-centered form.

In fact, the profit is so great that a person develops a desire to use it in order to receive, but the human in us cannot agree to it. This is what happened when Joseph arrived at the house of Potiphar. When he arrived at his house it was fine, but with his wife it was past the limit because here the human in us sees there is a desire to exploit it in order to receive, meaning to cut the person from one’s foundation, and this is something to which one cannot agree. When a person disagrees with it, one feels helpless, imprisoned, incarcerated.

That sensation lasts a long time and grows through the alien “forces,” the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, in the state of being in prison. These qualities within us are in touch with the Joseph in us. They bring him to Pharaoh and accompany him. The quality of the chief baker is destroyed because it belongs to the ego’s forces of bestowal, with which Joseph understands he cannot work. But the ego’s forces of reception—the chief cupbearer, which is tantamount to wine—are the ones that awaken. The chief cupbearer does not save Joseph right away, but only after a person awakens from the fall, from the descent.

In order to rise from one degree to the next, we dream. A dream is a state of losing the previous state and attaining a new one. A person needs to be inverted, to be reborn.

There are three states in a person: laying down, sitting, and standing. Laying down is the state of dreaming. When in that state, the head, body, and legs are all on the same level, indicating that a person has neither intellect nor wisdom. But it is precisely in this form that one acquires the Kelim (vessels) of the next degree and becomes inverted, just as a newborn baby emerges from its mother’s womb: while in the womb it is with its head up, toward birth it turns upside down, and once it’s out, it turns upward once again.

Laying down means losing all the Mochin (light of Hochma, wisdom) within a person. It is in this way that one should transfer from one state to the next. On the one hand, the previous degree is lost, and on the other hand, one begins to acquire the next degree, which becomes a whole new world for that person. This is the inner vision with which one begins to understand the meaning of “tomorrow,” the next degree to which one enters.

It is nothing like the dreams in our world. Rather, here the Torah is telling us about the entrance to a higher level. In the dream state, one sees oneself in more advanced forms, knows how to use such qualities as the chief cupbearer, the chief baker, and Pharaoh, and can advance with them because they are already formed within.

In the end, when Joseph is incarcerated because of Potiphar’s wife, he discovers within him the qualities of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker. Precisely because he kills the chief baker and nurtures the quality of the chief cupbearer, he arrives at the house of Pharaoh.

Throughout the evolution of the generations there is hatred between brothers—between Cain and Abel, between Isaac and Ishmael, and between Jacob and Esau. This hatred is defined as Klipa (shell/peel) and Kedusha (sanctity/holiness). In this portion, there are twelve brothers, Jacob’s sons, which are man’s qualities, but there is such hatred among them that they are willing to kill the quality called Joseph.

However, the hatred is only toward Joseph. They understand one another. Each of them represents a different quality within us. We have many qualities, but no knowledge how to integrate them together in the middle line. We cannot understand how to work with the various qualities together, meaning with our egos, our will to receive.

The interesting thing about Joseph is that he tells his brothers, “A person has an egoistic desire, not the qualities of bestowal that you have. That is, I can connect your qualities to the egoistic desire; I know how to do it.” Therefore, each one who represents a certain quality knows that through bestowal he will achieve something, from the right or from the left—to Hesed, to Gevura, to Tifferet, to Netzah, to Hod, except for Yesod.

The entire structure of twelve brothers, twelve sons of Jacob, is that they all work above the ego, above the will to receive, bestowing in order to bestow. It is so because the middle line, Jacob, who still belongs to the Rosh (head), to the degree of the patriarchs, begets all the qualities of the brothers except for that of Joseph, and they are all in bestowal, too, from below upward.

Questions and Answers

So why did Jacob understand it and even love Joseph?

Jacob loved Joseph because he was a continuation of him; they were both in the middle line—Jacob in Tifferet and Joseph in Yesod.

What does it mean that each brother represents a certain quality?

The twelve sons of Jacob are qualities that relate to bestowal. Actually, they are eleven because Joseph has no quality; he is merely a collection of those qualities.

The idea behind the quality of Joseph in us is that one can take all those qualities, merge them in different combinations, and use them with one’s ego. In other words, one can begin to work with the ego so it would work with those qualities, as well, so it would support them. In this manner one can correct oneself. These qualities do not understand how it is possible to steal in order to bestow.

What is a quality? Is stealing a quality or are anger and laziness qualities?

Hesed, for instance, is the quality of bestowal. In a state of Hesed, a person is in Hassadim (mercy). Such a person gives, contributes, and does all that he or she can. This begs the question, “How can one’s ego join one’s Hesed?” A person can give but only if it is in order to gain profits. In fact, this is how Joseph is used in Egypt, first in Potiphar’s house, then with Pharaoh.

Joseph brings them the quality of Hassadim and they use it. Egypt becomes rich and thriving through Joseph because all the egoists understand that bestowal makes everyone benefit egoistically.

However, the qualities of bestowal themselves do not understand how it is possible to use the ego in order to support them. This is the essence of the contrast between Abraham and Isaac, who loved Ishmael because the pure quality cannot maintain its clean form and at the same time connect with Malchut, the will to receive.

There is a very special and complicated process here of hatred and misunderstandings between them. But Joseph can connect the qualities of bestowal to the will to receive so that eventually it will benefit the qualities of bestowal. The brothers—qualities of bestowal within us—do not understand how this is possible, so they object. We, too, do not understand how this is possible.

The wisdom of Kabbalah teaches us how to use the qualities of bestowal correctly in order to correct our egos. Besides Kabbalah, no one deals with it because no one has the three-line method. All religions, faiths, and methods are seemingly above the ego; we ostensibly rise above the ego as though we are not selfish and are all in bestowal.

Does that mean that the “self” lives between the two lines?

Yes, only the qualities of Joseph and Jacob. Jacob is in this quality in the middle line in the Rosh, and Joseph is at the end of the middle line, at the entrance to Malchut, because he is Yesod. In Joseph there is contact with the house of Pharaoh from the start, and then with Pharaoh himself. This is why he is misunderstood; the brothers cannot feel what he wants to do. They think that his contact with the ego, the will to receive, will harm them.

We, too, are the same inside, and so is human society. We can see that everyone hates the wisdom of Kabbalah. No one understands what it does, and no one even knows what it’s for because Kabbalah deals with strange things—man’s correction, the correction of the soul. It seems unreasonable for one to take those sublime qualities—bestowal and Godliness—and connect them to the ego, to the desire to steal, rape, to the worst levels of the ego. But it is for this reason that this method is called “the wisdom of Kabbalah (Heb: reception),” as it teaches how to use the worst will to receive in order to achieve love precisely through it.

All other methods cannot achieve man’s correction, a state of “love your neighbor as yourself.” This is why everyone forgets this rule of the Torah and do not deal with it. Only the wisdom of Kabbalah corrects us. We must remember that all those who work “above” the ego, every kind of religion and faith, do not understand how it is possible to correct man’s ego, so they perform superficial gestures without diving into the ego and genuinely tending to it. They do not deal with the essence: “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice.”

In this portion we see for the first time how difficult it is to deal with it. Henceforth there will be a reason to all the ruins, transgressions, the problems in the desert, and all the wars. The problem that still remains is how to properly join the qualities of bestowal with the qualities of reception in us—to correct our egos.

Can we deduce from that regarding what is happening in the world today? After all today the world is also in a type of slavery—we are slaves to our egos. Who is today’s Joseph?

Today’s Josephs are those who have the method for correcting the ego, which is appearing in the world through the upper force. In other words, it is those who study the wisdom of Kabbalah, as it is written, “I have created for it the Torah as a spice” because “the light in it reforms it.” The method of the light is the wisdom of Kabbalah, and it is very difficult to explain it to the world. It is also difficult to accept that there is a way to correct the ego, the mutual hatred, the crisis we are experiencing, which is a result of our egos.

Joseph was not trying to explain anything; he was simply sold to slavery, went into Egypt, and mingled there. Why do we need to explain it today?

Today this is what we need to do—explain by disseminating the wisdom of Kabbalah, which is called “the Messiah’s Shofar (horn).” We must circulate it and spread it throughout the world because by that we become included in the nations of the world like Joseph in Egypt. In this manner we sow the sparks of bestowal that will make everyone begin to understand the reason for all the troubles until they, too, can rise.

The troubles are intensifying and there is no way to avoid them because our hanging down, our evolution, is continuing. There will be many more troubles we will not be able to avoid. The present state of affairs is a cause for war. The war of Gog and Magog stems from the same reason, as do all our wars. We are standing at a tipping point, and this portion is very pertinent and meaningful.

The focal point of the problem is hatred among brothers (unfounded hatred), and this is the state we are in today. On the one hand, it seems as though there is nothing we can do; hatred exists among people, as well as toward the wisdom of Kabbalah. Moreover, it is expected to intensify because it is hard for people to understand the wisdom of Kabbalah despite all the explanations. On the other hand, this very point reveals the two opposites within us: the soul and the body. It is impossible to disconnect them, and Joseph is the point that connects them.

This Week’s Torah Portion | November 26 – December 02, 2017 – 8 Kislev – 14 Kislev, 5778

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.

Commentary
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.[1]

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

[1] “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).

This Week’s Torah Portion | November 19 – November 25, 2017 – 1 Kislev – 7 Kislev, 5778

VaYetze (And Jacob Went Out) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

TORAH : GENESIS 28:10-32:2
PROPHETS : HOSEA 12:12-14:10
GOSPEL : MATTHEW 3:13-4:11

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.

THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION BEGINS WITH JACOB’S FLEEING FROM CANAAN… AND ENDS WITH HIS RETURN 20 YEARS LATER, A SOBERED AND MUCH DIFFERENT MAN, FINALLY PREPARED FOR A CRITICAL MEETING (Next week’s Portion) IN WHICH HE WILL BE BROUGHT FACE TO FACE WITH BOTH HIMSELF AND HIS GOD, AND COMMISSIONED WITH A NEW NAME INTO THE CALL OF HIS DESTINY.

*Genesis 28:10-12. “Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night…Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was positioned on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the messengers of God were ascending and descending on it.”

It is remarkable that here in Genesis 32:11, as Jacob “comes to” a certain place where he will experience an incredible, unexpected encounter with God, the Hebrew root used for “coming to” is the same as that used for the word “intercession”. And as He sleeps in this place, a ladder appears “standing in the gap” between Heaven and Earth with heavenly messengers ascending and descending this connection “between time and space”. This same word will again be used when he encounters heavenly messengers upon his return from Haran (32:1).

The place where Jacob “comes to” is generally considered to be the same place where his grandfather Abraham, after leaving Shechem, had pitched his tent, built an altar to YHVH and called on His name. It appears probable that Abraham had returned repeatedly to Bethel over the years (Genesis 12:8; 13:3-4). We would suggest that Abraham’s worship and prayers, along with perhaps also those of his son Isaac, had here opened a passage into the heavens above the dark land of Canaan—a holy ‘portal’ still open (with angels ascending and descending) when Jacob arrived many years later. It was a place of meeting, of encounter, where intercession had been made. The word “intercede” means, “to come between in time, space or action” (OED). As pointed out by American author and teacher Dutch Sheets in his classic studies of intercession, the Hebrew root word is paga: “to meet”, “to encounter”, “to come across”, “to strike a mark”, “to light upon” (The original 1611 King James Bible reads here, “And he lighted upon a certain place”). All of these terms may apply to certain aspects of intercessory prayer; but there is a deeper application. In Isaiah 53:12 an “active” form of this word is applied to the suffering and anointed Messiah who “bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Hebrews 7:25 further speaks of this One who “always lives to make intercession for” those who come to God through Him. The point here is not that He is ‘praying’ for us, but that He has bridged “time, space and action” (see above), establishing an eternal way for us to come ourselves into the presence of the Father.

*Genesis 28.13-15. “And behold, YHVH stood above it and said: ‘I am YHVH God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your seed. Also your seed shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread out (Hebrew: burst forth/break out) to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”

Bethel, the location where this meeting takes place and to which the LORD’s declaration immediately pertains lies just north of Jerusalem, in the heart of the area within which much of the world is demanding establishment of a permanent Islamic state. The land which God has here specified He will give to Jacob’s seed, the present Palestinian government claims as its own and has sworn will contain no Jews (i.e. seed of Jacob) once it gains total sovereignty. We see such an arrangement as a violation and affront to the Word of the LORD spoken in verse 13. As such, it will never be allowed to prosper. Since this entire passage deals with the descendants (the “seed”) of Jacob, we see verse 15 as referring not only to Jacob during his sojourn in Syria, but also prophetically to his future “seed.” A people bearing his future name Israel, will be scattered around the world, but watched over by the LORD, and finally “brought back to this land”—a people whom He “will not leave until He has done that which He spoke” to Jacob on this site almost 4000 years before.

*Genesis 29:31. “When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.” The Hebrew word for “unloved” is literally hated. It is the LORD who sees this hatred and moves to bless Leah (29:31). The names given to the children born to Leah or to her and Rachel’s maids mostly reflect different aspects of the alienation and rivalry brought about through the deception of Laban in forcing Leah on Jacob before Rachel. It is significant that in naming her fourth child, Leah chooses not to continue focusing on her plight, but rather on “Praising, Giving Thanks to the LORD” who is obviously showing to her the love her husband seems incapable of giving. “Judah” (Hebrew: Yehudah) means “praise” or “thanksgiving.” It has as a root the word yad—referring to arms or hands, which from ancient times were raised as a gesture of praise, thanksgiving, confession to the Most High. It is noteworthy that towards the end of Jacob’s days, one senses a deep affection must have finally awakened towards Leah, as he demands that he be buried alongside her in the Cave of Machpelah (Genesis 49:31). By the time of the Judges, both Leah and Rachel would be honored with a blessing, one still spoken over daughters on the eve of the Sabbath in many Jewish households: “The LORD make [you] like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel” (Ruth 4:11b).

*Genesis 30:27 (NASB). “But Laban said to him, ‘If now it pleases you, stay with me; I have divined that the LORD has blessed me on your account.” The fact that Laban uses this word “divined”—a verb form of the Hebrew word nakhash, translated “serpent” in Genesis 3:1—may suggest that he regularly resorted to occult practices when seeking guidance or making decisions. Both the NKJV and NIV translate nakhash “sorcery” in Numbers 23:23: “For there is no sorcery against [or “in”] Jacob.” The pagan occult gods stolen (Genesis 31:19) by Rachel from her father (perhaps brought from Ur by Nahor) will prove a snare and breach in the protection of the family when they arrive in Canaan. Yet there is not to be “sorcery/divination in Jacob”; and already Jacob is learning to listen to the God of His fathers for guidance (including even the unusual way in which he causes Laban’s flocks to reproduce to his favor. Genesis 31:10-13). And He hears when the LORD says to him, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you” (31:3). 20 years before, this YHVH had promised a much less-mature Jacob, “I am with you and will guard you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.” Now, as a humbled and wiser Jacob faces the Land with mixed emotions, YHVH again promises for this next part of his journey, “I will be with you.”

*Genesis 31:42, 53. “Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked you last night” “And Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac” (Emphasis ours). Although not nearly so much is recorded regarding the life of Isaac as of the other Patriarchs, these two verses suggest that this one who had allowed himself to be laid by his father on the altar at Moriah, who had loved to “meditate in the field” near the “Well of the Living One Who Sees Me” (Genesis 24:62-63), this “quiet” patriarch who had gone about digging and re-digging wells, had learned and lived the “fear of the LORD”. And his doing so obviously had had an influence on the spirit of his less-than-upright son Jacob. Even at the beginning of his flight from home, Jacob had exhibited at least some capacity to sense and respond to the numinous—the presence of the Holy: “And he was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” (Genesis 28:17).

*Genesis 32:1. “So Jacob went on his way, and the messengers of God met him. When Jacob saw them, he said, ‘This is God’s camp.’ And he called the name of that place ‘Mahanaim’.” In English, we use the word “angels” to refer to heavenly messengers. In Hebrew the words for both these “messengers of God” and for the human messengers whom Jacob will send to meet Esau in 32:3 are the same, mal’akhim. Mahanaim means “two camps”. Perhaps it was because here there was a coming together of a human and a heavenly camp. As mentioned earlier, the word for the “meeting” of Jacob with the heavenly messengers bears a root which is the same as that of “intercession.” Even as at his setting out he arrived unwittingly at a place of intercession between heaven and earth, here, on his return he once again has a meeting with heavenly beings. Unbeknownst to him, he will very soon find himself wrestling through the night towards a “break-through” with God, not only on behalf of his own future, but on behalf of a people and nation through whom will come blessing for the entire world.

*Hosea 14:1-2; 4-7 (ESV). “Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take with you words and return to the LORD; say to him, ‘Take away all iniquity; accept what is good…” “I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon; his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon. They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine; their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.”

[The readings for next week (26 November—2 December 2017) are called VaYishlach—“And He Sent”. TORAH: Genesis 32:3—36:43; HAFTARAH: Obadiah 1-21.]

In A Nutshell

The portion, VaYetze (And Jacob Went Out), begins with Jacob leaving Beer Sheba and heading for Haran. He stops for the night and in his dream he sees a ladder “set up on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it” (Genesis, 28:12). The Creator appears before him and promises him that the earth on which he is lying will be his, that he will have many sons, and that He will watch over him. The next morning, Jacob sets up a monument in that place and calls it, Beit El (House of God).

Jacob comes to a well near Haran, where he meets Rachel and her father, Laban the Aramean, who offers him to work for him for seven years in return for permission to marry Rachel. At the end of the seven years Laban deceives Jacob and gives him Leah instead. He compels Jacob to work for him seven more years, after which he gives him Rachel and Jacob marries her.

Leah has four sons from Jacob, while Rachel is barren. Rachel gives to Jacob her maidens, who give birth to four more of his sons. Leah delivers two more sons, until finally Rachel conceives and gives birth to Joseph.

Jacob asks Laban to pay for his work. Laban gives him some of the flock, although they had a different agreement. Jacob shows the flock the troughs, and they conceive and deliver. Some of the lambs are born striped, some are speckled, and some are spotted.

Jacob feels that Laban is not treating him as before. At the same time, an angel appears before Jacob and tells him to return to the land of Israel. He leaves without notifying Laban, and Rachel steals the idols. Laban chases them in search of the idols, catches up with Jacob on Mount Gilead, and rebukes him for fleeing and stealing the idols.

Finally, they make a covenant on the mountain. Jacob is preparing to enter the land of Israel, he sees angels accompanying him, and he calls the place, Mahanaim (two camps).

Commentary

Kabbalah always interprets stories as stages in a person’s inner growth, according to man’s purpose in this world—to discover the Creator, to achieve His degree, meaning to achieve Dvekut (adhesion).

Thus far, all the portions related to man’s initial point, Abraham, which is scrutinized through study, the group, connection with the teacher, and the books of Kabbalah. Subsequently, a person discovers the next stage, Isaac, followed by Ishmael, and then by Esau.

The portion, VaYetze (And Jacob Went Out), speaks of Jacob, who is the middle line. Abraham is the right line, and Isaac is the left line. Jacob is special in that the middle line contains all the qualities, the good, as well as the bad. In the middle line, the evil inclination and the good inclination merge in order to achieve the degree of the Creator, our goal.

The work in the middle line is done entirely in faith above reason, in bestowal, above the ego. This is the quality of Jacob in a person, and this is how it develops. Jacob leaves Beer Sheba, meaning a certain place, an inner state, and heads for Haran, which is another stage along the way. On the way there he must shift from state to state through the day and the night. In other words, Jacob experiences internal, spiritual ascents and descents.

Each ascent means that a person rises above one’s stony heart, above the stone he had placed under his head, and performs a special operation known as “sleep,” which means raising MAN. Subsequently, in a dream—in connecting to one’s higher degree—one discovers the ladder, “Jacob’s ladder,” which is the ladder of degrees. The ladder consists of 125 degrees that a person climbs up to the house of God.

While one still cannot see the entire ladder, one sees that it reaches the heaven. This is the discovery of the beginning of the way, obtained in the middle line. This is why the Creator appears before him and tells him that He is giving him an Eretz (land), meaning Ratzon (desire), with which he will now begin to work.

In other words, the whole of the desire will be sanctified, in order to bestow, to approach the Creator, and Jacob is guaranteed that he will achieve it. This is why Jacob sets up a monument in that place, at the foot of the ladder, and determines that this is the house of God (Beit El). Henceforth, he ascends directly to the purpose of creation.

As always, when a person begins to work with the desire, he or she begins to change. On the one hand, more of the evil inclination appears. On the other hand, the person corrects it through the good inclination.

An empty desire is called a “pit.” When it is full, it is called a “well.” We see in stories in the Torah that special states of ascent from state to state take place next to wells. This happens with Abraham, Isaac, Eliezer, Moses, and Zipporah.

From The Zohar: And He Looked, and Behold a Well in the Field

“When Jacob sat by the well and saw that the waters were rising toward him, he knew that his wife would come there. It is the same with Moses: when he sat by the well and saw the waters rising toward him, he knew that his wife would come there. And so it was: Jacob’s wife had come there, as it is written, ‘While he was speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep. … And it came to pass, when Jacob saw…’

“And so it was with Moses, as it is written, ‘And the shepherds came and drove them away,’ and his wife, Zipporah, came there, since the well caused them that. The well is the upper Nukva. And as they met in the upper Nukva, they met with the Nukva in this world.”

Zohar for All, VaYetze (And Jacob Went Out), item 95

The Zohar puts a special emphasis on the parallels between Jacob and Moses because here there is an extension of the middle line that has been built. In the previous wells that our fathers dug, they were still in the right or left lines. Here, however, they are in the middle line.

According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, Jacob’s arrival at Laban’s (in Hebrew, Lavan means white) indicates the upper whiteness, a very powerful light, literally the light of Ein Sof (infinity). Although it is written that Laban was wicked, it is because he appears opposite the whole of the will to receive before it has been corrected. This is why he is titled “wicked.”

Obviously, Laban is very interested in Jacob. He agrees, and he is very pleased because it is actually the governance of the Creator appearing from above, both opposite the good inclination, as well as opposite the evil inclination. That governance acts in everyone.

Laban, the upper light, the governance opposite the whole of the desire that the Creator created, wishes for the entire desire to be corrected in a person, not merely the small part known as Rachel, the small Nukva (female), but also Leah, the big Nukva. This is why Laban immediately goes for the entire desire, opposite his upper whiteness. This is the desire for which he seeks correction.

This is why he deceives; it is the governance of the Creator. This is how He tricks us each and every time, manipulating us, and we understand that this is precisely how we are straightened out: through ostensible deceits. The deceit is because we ourselves are “twisted.”

The result is that a person is compelled to take whatever is available, understanding that even if this is not the beloved Nukva, one must still take it and rise to it, despite the difficulty and the mismatch with one’s own degree.

Is Nukva a deficiency, a big desire?

Yes, Nukva is a deficiency. It is written [1] that a man’s wife is as his own body. The body is called a Nukva, the desire (in the soul) with which we work.

In the story about the striped, speckled, and spotted, it seems that Jacob knows how to set up the genetic process. The work here is in three lines—striped, speckled, and spotted—which are the three worlds.

“Striped” refers to the world of Adam Kadmon, the highest world, where Laban is most dominant. Then comes the “Speckled” (world of Nekudim), where the breaking took place. This is where the black dots over the white background come from. It is specifically through them that the revelation comes to a person. The “Spotted” is the world of Atzilut, opposite Adam’s soul. Through it, we correct ourselves and discover the entire Godliness.

Jacob, the middle line, set up his work in such a way that the evil inclination and the good inclination conjoin, meaning the intention to bestow with the egotistical desire to receive. Jacob can work on the stone, on the stony heart; he can connect within him all three worlds—striped, speckled, and spotted. Through this work in the middle line we truly ascend to Beit El, the house of God.

It is clear that in this manner, Rachel cannot bear children duet to lack of Hassadim, the lack of clothing for the light of Hochma. The light of Hochma cannot reach the small Nukva, only the big one, Leah. Yet, a person advances nonetheless, where by delivering more and more Kelim (vessels) on the current degree, one corrects one’s will to receive for the next degrees, called one’s “sons.”

Thus, Jacob has four sons from Leah, then more sons from Rachel’s maidens, and finally Rachel gives him Joseph.

When Jacob asks for the pay he deserves, he wants to receive the upper light in order to bestow into his Kelim, but Laban insists that everything is his. Indeed, the entire will to receive that was created, was created opposite the great upper light, which is Laban. Jacob is still not ready for it because he is still called “little Jacob”; he must fight and ascend many degrees before he becomes great and merits the name “Israel.”

Therefore, it is inevitable that Jacob and Laban will part. Jacob seemingly escapes from Laban, and Rachel steals the idols because they are her powers, her Kelim, which will have to be corrected.

What is the meaning of Rachel’s theft?

In spirituality, stealing means receiving what does not belong to me (in relation to my current state), but for which I will pay later. I cannot receive what I do not deserve. There is no bias in spirituality; everything works according to the rule, “They borrowed from Me and I collect.” [2] In other words, I can receive now and pay later because I cannot do it with my current strength. This is how we grow.

Children deserve to receive everything from the family, although they do not bring any income. In the next degree, when the children become parents, they repay.

Jacob flees and Laban catches up with him near Mount Gilead, where they eventually make a covenant. Although along the way Jacob follows the middle line, which is seemingly inconvenient for Laban because he wants disclosure in all the Kelim, it is clear that the disclosure must be limited, in small portions. This is why there was a conflict between Jacob and Laban, and why they made the covenant. Man and the upper force form a special system, in which we gradually advance until we achieve congruence with the upper force.

What are the angels that appear in the portion when they ascend and descend on the ladder, and when they accompany Jacob?

Angels are forces in a person on the way toward the revelation of the Creator in the corrected Kelim, according to the law of equivalence of form. We constantly acquire new forces over the will to receive, according to the ego, until we are corrected into aiming to bestow, from hate to love.

The way to reach the Creator is through “love your neighbor as yourself.” This is the great rule; it is our entire correction—love of others. A person who advances on this path and constantly ascends has assisting forces. On the Eve of the Sabbath we say (as written in the Sabbath service text), “Come in peace, angels of peace, angels of the Upper One.” This symbolizes the end of correction.

Is it a force from within or are these forces that the Creator operates?

These are forces that the Creator operates, which is why they are called “angels.” Angels are as the still, vegetative, and animate in this world, which help us sustain ourselves. An angel might be a horse or a donkey, forces that accompany us and help us carry out tasks, but which are managed by the human degree in us.

What is a discovery of an angel? When a person finds an angel, is it a discovery of the force that operates on the person?

A person discovers forces by which to continue rising from degree to degree.

The Creator seems to always appear in dreams. What is a dream?

A dream is a higher degree to which I currently cannot rise. However, I can connect to it by annulling my Kelim: my mind, my brain, and my emotions. It is as though I enter a state of Katnut (smallness/infancy), usually lying down, in order to achieve a higher degree.

When I put the stone under my head, I thus cancel all my perceptions and desires, and walk into a dream. That is, I enter a state of Katnut specifically in order to obtain a higher degree, since everything I have acquired in the previous degree is unfit for the higher degree.

In spirituality there is a gap between degrees. Each higher degree is the complete opposite of its predecessor. This is why there is the concept of going through the night, through a dream, and struggling with the angels, particularly with Esau’s angel. Each time, a person has to overcome one’s ego and sort out with what one should continue to the next degree, and what one should refrain from using in the meantime.

We can see many connections here to the upper degree: a dream is a connection; the stolen idols are a loan for the next degree; Laban is a degree that is still unattainable; is everything a kind of connection here?

The connection happens specifically now, when Jacob wants to enter the land of Israel, when Malchut connects with Bina, when the will to receive connects with the intention to bestow, when such a great correction unfolds in the desire. It is therefore clear why he calls the place Mahanaim (two camps), a place where the Creator is already present, the actual beginning of the ladder, which one has reached through the angels called “angels of the Upper One.”

From The Zohar: And Behold a Ladder Was Set On the Earth

“A ladder implies that he saw that his sons were destined to receive the Torah on Mount Sinai, since Sulam [Ladder] is Sinai because Mount Sinai is, as it is written, ‘Set on the earth with its top,’ its merit, ‘Reaching to heaven.’ All the Merkavot [structures/chariots] and the camps of high angels were descending there along with the Creator when He gave them the Torah, as it is written, ‘And behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.’”

Zohar for All, VaYetze (And Jacob Went Out), item 70

We climb up the ladder of degrees only by using the ego, the will to receive, the hatred, Mount Sinai. The ladder is built according to the exact same principle as that of the Tower of Babel. It is the whole of the ego that the Creator created, because “I have created the evil inclination.” When we correct it, we rise above it through the “spice of Torah,” using all the Torah, all the light, Laban, meaning the upper whiteness, which we use in order to correct ourselves until we reach heaven, a state where our entire will to receive is as bestowal, love.

Does this portion relate to what is happening in the world today? Are we, too, facing a degree we do not understand?

Today, all of us, throughout the world, must understand that first and foremost, we are connected; there is no way out of it. Because we are connected, we must use all our powers. Also, we must understand that it is impossible to keep using only the left line, the egotistical line by which we have been growing thus far, and by which the entire world has been progressing. Rather, now we must also find the right line within us, and build the middle line out of the two. This is why the situation we are in right now is just as though we were standing at the foot of the ladder.

The compelling, on the one hand, and the dissemination of the wisdom of Kabbalah, on the other hand, will ultimately bring us to a state where we will finally feel that we have two angels, one on the right, and one on the left. This is when we will ask, “Come in peace, angels of peace.” We will ask that they will come and make peace and put some order between us, as well as turn the egotistical qualities in each of us into qualities of bestowal. Thus, we will be able to connect to one another through those angels. All the corrections are from above. When they arrive, our desire becomes the house of God, Beit El.

According to the story in the portion, it seems that things were easier in the past. There were only Jacob and his father. Today it feels as though there are many people and it is very difficult to communicate.

The Torah seems to present nothing but a story, which we must actualize in our world. The Torah narrates it as an allegory, and we need to know how to use it.

Do we have a place where we can act?

Today the whole world is one big Esau. Opposite that, we must “extract” those people who engage in the interior part of the Torah, who are from the right side. It is said about them, “For you are the least of all the nations” (Deuteronomy, 7:7). However, they are the ones with the method.

Those from the left should also be extracted, and from the two of them together, the middle line needs to be built, “For they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them” (Jeremiah, 31:33). We and the entire world must rise up to Beit El.

We see that there is another falsehood here. How can a Kabbalist know for certain that we are not being fooled again, tricked into the next degree? Or is this how it is should be?

Why not? Jacob places his entire reason as a stone under his head and wants to climb up in a dream. He cannot climb up the ladder except in Jacob’s dream.

Does this mean that otherwise the ego will not let it happen?

I dedicate myself to this ascent. This is how I rise to the upper degree because otherwise I will not be able to leave the previous one. It always happens under the force of bestowal from above, from the force of reception known as “faith above reason.”

When we study, it sometimes feels as though we truly are completely operated, but it is very difficult to feel it in our everyday lives.

This is why we have a means called a “group.” In the group we learn how to annul ourselves before others in the group, before love of friends, love of others. In this manner, we learn to dedicate, to leave our minds and hearts, and to connect with the others “as one man with one heart,” literally in one desire, until we cannot tell one’s own from that of others. We simply become one of everyone.

Can that state exist in a family or among spouses?

It can, provided that the whole world is drawn toward it. We learn how to act this way in a group because toward the group, we can measure it. A person can advance with people with whom one studies and works in mutual spiritual work. When everyone in the group strives for it, each acquires all the powers that exist in the group and can ascend. Any other way is impossible.

[1]Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Bechorot, 35b
[2]Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Beitza, 15b.