This Week’s Torah Portion | November 12 – November 18, 2017 – 23 Cheshvan – 29 Cheshvan, 5778

Toldot (These Are the Generations) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

TOLDOT

TORAH : GENESIS 25:19-28:9
PROPHETS : MALACHI 1:1-2:7
GOSPEL : LUKE 3:1-18

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.

PORTION SUMMARY

TORAH:

*Genesis 25:22. “The children struggled together within her, and she said, ‘If this is so, why then am I . . .?’ So she went to inquire of the LORD.” Please pray for believers in Israel…that when faced with the perplexity of inexplicable conflicts (of which there are many in Israel), we would be quick to “go to inquire of the LORD” rather than leaning to our own understandings as to how to respond.

*Genesis 25:22-23. “The children struggled together within her…And the LORD said to her: ‘Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger’.” The struggle between the descendants of these two children Jacob and Esau (whose name would also be Edom) would continue; it is a spiritual struggle. God’s hatred for the spirit working in Esau, which not only despised its own birthright, but also persisted in working violence against the lineage of God’s sovereign choosing, would be strongly expressed in the Book of Obadiah—“Behold, I will make you small among the nations; You shall be greatly despised. The pride of your heart has deceived you…For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever” (Obadiah 2-3, 10).

God is a God of love and life—attributes which manifest in holy hatred against all which would seek to thwart His life-covenants with the Children of Adam. “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated” (Malachi 1:2-3; Romans 9:13). “For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head. For as you have drunk on my holy mountain, so all the nations shall drink continually; they shall drink and swallow, and shall be as though they had never been” (Obadiah 15-16).

We see strong similarities between the spirit of Esau/Edom and that which fuels the religion of Islam today—a religion which despises and harasses Jacob (Israel), even as it “drinks” on God’s holy mountain (before the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem) and binds other nations throughout the world to drink from its lifeless spring. God hates the life-despising spirit and the system of death which it presently oversees. But He loves the millions bound under this system—calling them to come out of it into His covenant of Life.

*Genesis 25:26. “Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Ya’akov (Jacob).” The letters of the Hebrew word translated “heel” also form the root of a word meaning “deceiver”. Jeremiah 17:9 uses this same root, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can know it?” Jacob’s life would be one of coming to know himself and the contents of His deceitful heart—and at the same time, of coming to know the God who nevertheless loved and had chosen him, the God who, after his coming to know himself, would grant to Jacob a new heart and a new name (Genesis 32:27-28).

Genesis 25:29-34. “Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.’ (therefore his name was called Edom), But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.’ And Esau said, ‘Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?’ Then Jacob said, ‘Swear to me as of this day.’ So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”

Hebrews 12:14-17 (ESV). “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.”

This passage from Hebrews suggests that Esau had come to be led by the desires of his fleshly appetites—placing those before the holy ‘right’ which had been bestowed on him by his birth. As we will see next week (Genesis 28:16-17; 31:42), even with his failings Jacob had learned and acquired a respect for holiness and the fear of the LORD from his parents.

*Genesis 26:2-5. “Then YHVH appeared to him and said: ‘Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants (Hebrew: zera—“seed”) I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.’” The LORD twice here promises to give to Isaac’s physical seed “all these lands”. This shows that although all believers are “descendants of Abraham and heirs of the promises” by faith (Galations 3:7), the physical land would nevertheless be passed on through the physical descendants of his son Isaac.

It is interesting that while the promise of blessing through Abraham in Genesis 12:3 extends to “all families of the earth”, the promise to Isaac in last week’s reading (22:18) and here is that in his seed “all the nations of the land shall be blessed.” It is God’s desire not only to bring blessing to individuals but to communities and even nations through the life of the Holy One who would come through the seed of Abraham and Isaac!

*Genesis 26. Here, even with God’s promise of care and blessing (above), Isaac succumbs to the deceptive weakness of his father Abraham in pretending that Rebekah is his sister. Yet the Lord who is patiently mentoring both of these men into maturity in their faith, mercifully protects both them and their wives as He has promised.

WELLS

*Genesis 26:18. “And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them.” Isaac’s life is much associated with “wells”—From when his future wife Rebekah was revealed at one (24:45) and he, shortly thereafter, came himself from another to meet her (24:62), to the reopening of old wells and the digging of new ones recorded here in chapter 26.

PLEASE PRAY for the reopening of “wells”—of ancient sources of truth and blessing and song in returned Israel—as well as discovery of new reservoirs of understanding reserved for latter days (Daniel 12:9). Pray for rediscovery and proper identification of the well of “Righteousness through Faith” (Genesis 15:6); Pray that Israel will find and open again her true “Well of Salvation”…and come to know His Name.

*Genesis 26:19-22. “Also Isaac’s servants dug in the valley, and found a well of running water there. But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled…so he called the name of the well ESEK (“Exploited”, “deprived of”). Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that one also, so he called its name SITNAH (“Sataned”, “Accusation”, “Enmity”, “Adversary”). And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name REHOBOTH (“space”, “wideness’s”), because he said, ‘For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.’”

For over a hundred years the returned Hebrews have faced quarreling, exploitation, and deprivation over the land God has promised to them. As they have attempted to become rooted, and to re-dig the “wells” of their ancient homeland, they have continued to be accused by the world and to be surrounded by enemies and adversaries.

PLEASE PRAY that more and more of returned Israel will come to realize that we will never “make room for ourselves” in this Land. By ourselves, we have no idea how to come into such a relationship with those already dwelling in the land as will quell the quarreling. We must turn in faith to our LORD, Who alone will “make room for us” (and those yet to come) to become permanently rooted and “fruitful in the Land”.

Genesis 26:23-24; 26-29. “Then he went up from there to Beersheba. And the YHVH (the LORD) appeared to him the same night and said, ‘I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.” So he built an altar there and called on the name of the YHVH, and He pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well.”

Isaac has consistently given all the glory for his success (26:22, 25) to YVHV, the God taught to him by his father Abraham. His and his father’s testimony of this God have made a lasting impression on the Philistine king Abimelech:

“Then Abimelech came to him from Gerar… “We have certainly seen that YHVH is with you…You are now the blessed of YHVH” (Genesis 26:26-29).


*Genesis 27. Rebekah attempts (as had her mother-in-law before her) to assist the “word of the Lord” spoken over her sons, and enters into a deceitful plan with Jacob to get the blessing of birthright placed upon him instead of Esau. Yet it is God’s sovereign grace which will work out His purposes, in the process, bringing out of both of these sons a revelation of their motives and that in which they have trusted. Isaac will bless them both 27:27-29 and 27:39-40, but the blessing of birthright which Esau had despised will be taken from him forever.

HAFTARAH:

*Malachi 1:11. “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, my name shall be great among the Nations; In every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; For My name shall be great among the Nations,” Says YHVH of Armies. There is no clearer declaration of God’s great love for all nations. His ultimate purpose in choosing Abraham and making of him a “great nation” (Genesis 12:2), was that One would come through that nation in Whom All the World would be saved!

*Malachi 2:7. “For the lips of a priest should preserve and guard knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of Armies.” Revelation 1:6 says that the One who loves us and washed us from our sins in His own blood has made us into a kingdom of priests. As such, our mouths are of exceptional importance—guarding knowledge for release to those seekers with whom God will bring us into contact. The Hebrew word for “messenger” here is exactly the same as that often translated “angel”. Angels, as part of their services in the Armies of the LORD, are heavenly messengers sent to “minister to those who will inherit Salvation”. As priests before God we are often called to work hand in hand with these supernatural beings.

PLEASE PRAY for a keen understanding of our responsibility as priestly messengers of God to His people (and that in the power of the Holy Spirit we move in step with His heavenly messengers, the angels), while keeping a close guard on our tongues.

[The readings for next week (19-25 November 2017) are called VaYetzeh—“And He Went Out”. TORAH: Genesis 28:10—32:3; HAFTARAH: Hosea 12:12—14:9.]

In A Nutshell

The portion, Toldot (These Are the Generations), begins with the wedding of Isaac and Rebecca. After twenty years of infertility, Rebecca conceives and the Creator tells her she will have two sons. The first was Esau, and the second, which was holding unto his brother’s heel, was Jacob. Esau became a hunter, and Jacob studied Torah.

The first confrontation between the twins was over the selling of the birthright. Esau returned empty handed from a hunt, and Jacob offered him lentil stew in return for the birthright. Esau agreed. After some time Esau discovered that Jacob deceived him.

Later in the portion, Isaac digs two wells, both of which are taken by the Philistines. A third well remains in Jacob’s hands, and he calls it Rehovot. Finally, Avimelech and Isaac make a covenant between them.

The second confrontation between the twins happens when their father wished to bless them. Isaac wanted to bless Esau, his firstborn, and Rebecca asked Jacob to dress as Esau in order to receive the blessing of the firstborn. When Esau discovered that Jacob received his blessing, he wanted to kill him, so Rebecca sent Jacob to Haran, to her brother, Lavan.

Commentary

The drama before us is in fact the process of man’s spiritual development. The story deals with man’s most fundamental forces, although it can be, and has been, turned into a novel.

The Creator created the will to receive. That desire is the entirety of the substance of creation. It is possible to use the will to receive for one’s own favor, or in favor of others. In fact, the whole of creation is prone to using the desire in favor of others, as it is written, “love your neighbor as yourself; it is a great rule in the Torah.” [1] This is the law of the whole of reality, the whole of Nature.

On the one hand we must use the will to receive and satisfy it however we can. On the other hand, the act of satisfying, in which we draw everything to ourselves, must be for the benefit of others. This seems contradictory. Using the ego, the will to receive, must be solely in a direction that is good for everyone. We cannot understand that contradiction, which is why we cannot understand the Torah, making its meaning hidden from us.

The portion seemingly explains it by saying that although Abraham loved Ishmael, he sent him away. Isaac, who loved Esau—the will to receive, all the substance of creation—acted similarly, though Esau is our entire nature, which we need and use in everything we do in life.

The thing is that we must learn to use it with the aim to bestow, a state where the entire ego turns from evil inclination into good inclination. “Love your neighbor as yourself” means that you first act only according to the “as yourself,” meaning as you love yourself. Subsequently, you turn the intention into love of others.

This inversion does not happen through actions because an act in our desire is to receive. Rather, it is done by receiving in order to bestow upon others. Then, all that exists in the world, all the lights—the bounty—traverses each and every one of us and flows to the rest of the world. In this manner, everyone is filled.

Today, as we are discovering how interconnected we all are, we have an opportunity to understand that only through good connections between us will all satisfactions that we so crave pass through us. It will happen only when we satisfy others; this is when we enjoy.

This is the meaning of the birthright. The firstborn in the one on top, in the Rosh (head). The head must have the intention to bestow, to benefit others, love, which is called Jacob, who is studying Torah, which is bestowal.

The portion discusses our need for the Kelim (vessels) of Esau, just as on Purim, we speak of the lights of Haman that we receive clothed by Mordechai, which is the end of correction. It is like the Haman Pockets, where pockets are his Kelim. Esau, the hunter, brings all the egotistical desire under the reign of bestowal, Jacob’s Torah. This is the right way to use our ego, the will to receive.

This makes the combination of Esau and Jacob appropriate. Isaac, the older one, the bigger degree, actually loves the next degree, which is entirely as Esau, as a will to receive that is surfacing. In each new degree, its big will to receive appears first, and subsequently the correction takes place. In other words, when an “Esau” is born in you, you gradually correct it through Jacob until you can use it.

An example of the right combination is the three wells. Two wells, right and left, are not a good combination. The third well is truly Rehovot (wide/broad) “For now the Lord has made room for us” (Genesis, 26:22), which enables drawing great benefit from it.

Jacob receives all the light that comes from the higher degree, from the patriarchs, since Esau cannot receive the blessing. In fact, Esau relinquished it because otherwise he would starve. Only through Jacob—who is operating correctly with Esau’s Kelim, which are our desires—can everyone be satiated, because Jacob directs all his desires toward the benefit of others.

After the stealing of the birthright, a war breaks out between Jacob and Esau because they are completely different. Finally, they find the third well, the third line, founded by both of them.

We have the same problems in our world. On the one hand, we are in our egos. On the other hand, the emerging global, integral system, compels us to be tied to one another. However, we do not know how to connect the two ends. Each of us wants everything for his or her self, and the integral nature that is emerging does not allow it; it “argues” that we are all connected.

Thus, we are all as Esau facing the emerging nature, which is as Jacob. Now we must complement the two. We need to dig the third well through the upper one, Isaac, in order to resolve the crisis.

Sarah was barren for many years, and so was Rebecca. Suddenly, became pregnant. What is the meaning of barrenness and pregnancy, and the transition between them?

In the spiritual world, birth implies the advent of a new degree. In other words, I take part of my desires, with which I can aim to bestow upon others, and I correct them into love of others. The “offspring” of this operation is called a “son.”

This is why we spend many years searching how to sort out our egotistical desires, how to take from them only the ones on which we can build our next degree. Thus, Rebecca’s barrenness for twenty years represents ten Sefirot of Ohr Yashar (Direct Light) and ten Sefirot of Ohr Hozer (Reflected Light), until they all comprise a complete structure that becomes a birth.

In the birth of a new degree, a person always begets both Esau and Jacob. Jacob cannot be born without Esau because there cannot be an intention to bestow without something on which to establish it. Likewise, Esau cannot be born without Jacob because there is nothing we can do with only our egos. Thus, both have to be born together.

This is why “Sin crouches at the door” (Genesis, 4:7): first, the self-centered will to receive that has to grow is born, and subsequently the desire to bestow. Both desires, or both sons, grow. One becomes a hunter, being with animals, with one’s vitality, with nothing but the egotistical vitality. The hunter works with the ego, the will to receive, and enhances it. The other desire has the aim to bestow, and brings one to contemplate how to use one’s nature in order to ascend to greater achievements than this life, to a higher degree.

When the desires grow and reach the higher degree, a struggle unfolds between them, within a person, between right and left. It is settled by means of the third well. Esau must sell his birthright to Jacob or he will starve to death and will never be able to receive the upper light. Likewise, Jacob cannot do without Esau because without him he has no Kelim in which to receive the upper light. Thus, they need each other.

Once Esau is born—our ego, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination”—the second one is born, Jacob, which corrects it, as it is written, “I have created for it the Torah as a spice.” Both Jacob and Esau eventually achieve the complete correction. They use all of Esau’s Kelim and all of Jacob’s intentions, similar to Haman and Mordechai. In this way, everyone achieves completion in the third line, the third well.

What is the birthright and how can it be transferred or sold?

Birthright means being the leader. Who is leading, the intention or the desire? According to the Torah, the firstborn inherits everything the father has. There is no meaning to being the firstborn other than that. It may very well happen that the second or third child will succeed more because they have learned from the experiences of the elder.

Clearly, the evil inclination comes first, meaning the desire that the Creator created, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination.” Initially, all of us are evil; we all emerged from the breaking of the vessels; we are all egoists. Only afterward do we correct ourselves according to our free choice.

The firstborn is always Esau. However, I see that I cannot succeed with my Esau. We can see through today’s crisis that we are in an impossible situation; there is nowhere to go. It will not be long before we have nothing left in the world, not even food. We are in “search mode,” in Esau’s field, but we cannot find any fulfillment in it.

The wisdom of Kabbalah teaches us how to understand things before they happen. Having no other choice, we must turn to Jacob and ask him to take over, to accompany us and to manage us, since Jacob knows the ways of the Creator—he is studying Torah and he is in the light. Jacob has revealed the Creator and he knows how to achieve love of others. In a global, integral world, we have to be in such connections, too, but we do not know how to establish them correctly in order to sustain ourselves. This is why eventually the Jacob in us steps forward and manages us, meaning he becomes the elder.

So why did Esau feel deceived and sought revenge?

Esau is the evil inclination. Until it is corrected, it will always appear as such, crueler and crueler. These are the “pangs of the Messiah,” where our ego, our will to receive, is appearing so we may gradually correct it.

From The Zohar: And the Boys Grew – for He Had a Taste for Game

“This was so even while in Rebecca’s intestines; each went to his own side, since when she engaged in good deeds or when she went past a place where it is good to perform the Mitzvot of the Torah, Jacob would rejoice and rattle to get out. And when she went near a place of idolatry, that wicked one would rattle to get out. For this reason, when they were created and came out to the world, each of them was separated and went and was drawn to his befitting place.”

Zohar for All, Toldot (These Are the Generations), item 74

Man is born as a “wild ass,” wanting nothing but to “devour” everything in sight. Even when we are little, each of us wants everything. The more we grow and expand our field of vision, the more we want to dominate and rule over everything. It is natural, and it is good because the ego has to grow.

In our evolution as humanity, we grew over millennia using our Esau desire. This desire grew and drew us forward. But now we have come to a state where the world is compelling us to keep advancing, but with the Jacob desire in it, not with the Esau one.

We are the will to receive, and we always chase pleasures, but we are still not happy. Worse yet, we are sinking into depression and anxiety.

For thousands of years we thought that we were obtaining the best, that we were building the American Dream. Now we are discovering that we are not happy because Esau is no longer leading us. All over the world we are discovering that the Esau in us can no longer hunt anything. It did not happen on the first day when he went out to the field. After all, the world developed and became a successful hunter, while Jacob was studying Torah.

But since the day when Kabbalists arrived, matters have changed. They were sitting quietly and engaged in nothing but connection with the upper source of the light that reforms, that corrects us, while the rest of the world continued to develop with technology, which only caused everyone to want everything in a never ending race.

Today Esau is returning from the field, tired and hungry, and is asking to be fed. It will not be long before decision makers understand the gravity of our situation, and they will seek advice. They will seek it even in the wisdom of Kabbalah, and that is when we will work together.

It is not such a simple matter because we are talking about cunningness. Even Jacob is considered a fraud because he deceived Esau twice.

It is not actual deceit because Esau was hungry. The thing is that today we have no choice; we have completed the Esau stage, and we must begin the period when Jacob is in the lead. Esau did not vanish; it is just that he is working with Jacob’s method, and it is specifically with that method that he finds fulfillment.

If you are hungry and want to fill yourself, the way is to connect to the nature that is now emerging. We are all connected; we have no choice. The world and Nature are showing themselves as mutually connected. We must work accordingly and stop our self-centeredness and bias. We need to truly begin to build ourselves differently through education, and we must explain to every person in the world how much we are all interdependent, and that only through our connections will we be able to sustain ourselves.

Why does Jacob steal the birthright?

Jacob did this because Esau could not understand; he is the evil inclination. Esau is not merely the will to receive in order to draw, to satisfy itself. Esau sees that he has no choice, that he has no more meat to eat, so he is compelled to ask for the lentil stew. His consent to eating the lentil stew expresses the transformation of the fulfillment.

What is the current meaning of the lentil stew?

It means taking pleasure in giving, in satisfying others, and then all the lights will pass through us. We will live in such a way that we receive for ourselves only what we need for ordinary life, and focus our minds and hearts on connecting to others and on satisfying everyone.

Each of us ties him or herself to another, and this is the mutual guarantee. It is a major psychological shift. If we connect in this way to one another, each of us will be filled in both body and mind. But for that, we must alter our internal structure.

It is as though we must deceive ourselves. We must choose which way we want to go. We can take the path of suffering, which will leave us hungry and empty-handed mentally and physically, and will eventually force us to change. Nature, too, will force us, because everything has been set up this way for us, deliberately, so we would understand. Alternatively, we will choose the other way—to change voluntarily. The minute we place Jacob in the lead and Esau in the back, everything will harmoniously and perfectly fall into place on every level: economy, water, ecology, and so forth.

In the end, Esau still wants to kill Jacob. He does not calm down, but only intensifies.

It has to be this way. The ego must constantly grow within us. In the next degree we will rise into an even greater level of egotism and will discover that we must fight additional wars.

In other words, we are learning a method here.

These two forces, right and left, meet at higher degrees each time. Each time, they reach a temporary agreement, until the end of correction, until we are all are using the singular, big ego that the Creator created, and we turn it into bestowal.

Nothing has changed throughout history; the same two forces keep fighting each other.

Of course, things do not change in any of us, or in all of us together. However, we must enjoy this revelation. We must want that situation to appear even more. It is truly a great delight when a person knows what is happening and is in a state of connection, searching, implementing these elements, meaning using these two forces. By that, one builds the middle line each time, and learns to use one’s nature correctly, toward connection with the world, with others. In this solution one finds the connection with the upper force.

From The Zohar: The Blessings

“Blessings mean giving strength for the end of correction, as it is written, ‘And go out to the field and hunt game for me,’ with a Hey [in the word “hunt” in Hebrew]. This implies the correction of Malchut de Tzimtzum Aleph, whether in Esau’s way or in Jacob’s way, to perpetuate that way forever.

It is known that because of the breaking of the vessels, 320 sparks fell from holiness to the Klipot [shells], and that afterwards the Emanator corrected some of them. And because of the sin of the tree of knowledge, they fell into the Klipot once more, and our whole work in Torah and Mitzvot is to take those 320 sparks out of the Klipot and bring them back to holiness. They are the MAN that we raise.”

Zohar for All, Toldot (These Are the Generations), item 147

We raise MAN through the 288 sparks. We cannot correct the stony heart (32 desires), and they are corrected only at the end of correction.

What does it mean to raise MAN?

Raising MAN means to increase the connection between us. Only through such a request—called “prayer for many”—does the force known as the “light that reforms” comes from above and connects us. In this connection between us, in the new, corrected Kli (vessel), we discover the upper world, our spiritual, eternal life here and now.

It appears from the story that Rebecca favors Jacob, and Isaac favors Esau. Why is this so? In many families we find that fathers favor the son, and mothers favor the daughter; what is the root of it?

The root of it is that first, we reveal the evil inclination, the ego, which is called “the son, “the firstborn,” the evil inclination. In each new degree, the evil inclination grows first, and the father is happy about it because he wants his son to initially grow without the corrections, to be strong, to really want to “devour” the world. This is the foundation, the will to receive that is ready for corrections, although it is not yet ready to be used. Henceforth, the corrections will come from Rebecca, the mother.

It is as we learn in the upper Partzufim (plural of Partzuf), upper Aba ve Ima (Mother and Father) from whom emerge the forces of correction. Ima comes from the side of Hesed (mercy); hence her favored son is Jacob, the quality of Jacob. She keeps him the way Bina gives birth to ZON. Conversely, within the father is the force of his Hochma, which acts against the vessels of reception. This comes from the side of Isaac, the father. The mother, the power of Hassadim (mercies), the force of Bina, corrects these Kelim.

We also need to keep in mind that Isaac is the left side of Abraham, who emerged as the left line, in relation to Abraham. This means that his very essence is to bring to the world the force called “Isaac,” the force of our ego, to discover it, so he is certainly closer to Esau.

[1]Jerusalem Talmud, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, 30b.

This Week’s Torah Portion | October 29 – November 04, 2017 – 9 Cheshvan – 15 Cheshvan, 5778

VaYera (The Lord Appeared) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

VAYERA

TORAH : GENESIS 18:1-22:24
PROPHETS : 2 KINGS 4:1-37
GOSPEL : LUKE 2:1-38

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, October 29 — November 4 2017 are called VaYera — “And [The LORD] Appeared”:

Torah

*Genesis 18:1, 3. “Then the LORD appeared to him [Abraham] by the terebinth trees of Mamre [Hebron], as he was sitting in the tent door…Three men were standing by him…he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, and said, ‘My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant.”

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad…Before Abraham was, I AM.” Yeshua speaking: John 8:56, 58.

There is no clearer example in the Hebrew Scriptures of God taking on human form to meet with His children—He “appeared” to Abraham. When Abraham sees Him and runs to greet Him, it is to Someone he recognizes (Remember, God had already “appeared” to Him at least three times before—Acts 7:2; Gen. 12:7; 17:1). By this time he had also certainly come to recognize the sound of the “Word of the LORD” coming to him (Gen. 13:14; 15:1). Abraham approaches the three men, but to One he says, “My Lord…” Now, instead of using the normal Hebrew word Adoni (Lord/Master/Sir), the vowel points of the text show that he addressed him in the plural Adonai—a usage reserved for Deity! And in the ensuing conversation, both with Abraham and with Sarah (verse 1, 17, 22, 33), it is made abundantly clear that it is Yehovah—the LORD with whom he speaking. The other two ‘men’ are obviously angels (Genesis 19:1), who will soon release destruction on Sodom and Gomorrah.

PLEASE PRAY for believers in Israel that, from “inclining our ears to His voice” and “seeking His face”, we become so familiar with our Lord and His messengers that we recognize their presence when they move among us. Pray for us that in our busy-ness we “not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels” (Hebrews 13:2).

*The LORD appears to him by the terebinth trees at Mamre—which is Hebron. Hebron is related to the word for “friendship” or “companionship”—implying a close association. Some see Hebron, not Jerusalem, as being the true place of Hebrew “identity.” It was here that the LORD in human appearance and Abraham ate and talked together as friends. The city would have holy significance for the Hebrews from this time on. All of the Patriarchs would be buried there. During the 400 years that Israel was in Egypt, the evil one would try and take it over; but Caleb would rip it away from those giants when he and Joshua finally brought their people into the land. It would be here that David, at the instruction of the Lord, set up his kingdom for the first seven years of his reign. Jews continued to dwell in Hebron until modern times, when an uprising and massacre took place there in 1929. In 1967 (exactly 50 years ago this past May 25th ), Hebron was taken by Israeli troops without firing a shot. Sometime later, a contingent of brave Jewish women marched in and occupied a place inside of the city; another Jewish settlement was built outside. In 1997, in obeisance to the Oslo “accord,” occupying Israeli troops finally pulled out of the city (some continue to be stationed there to guard the tiny enclave of Jews and to insure access to the Tomb of the Patriarchs). Liberal Israeli governments have pushed for Israel to simply yield up the city and pull out of it altogether; until now, that has not happened.

The Muslim religion looks at Hebron as the burial place of one of its leaders. It has sought to resolve discrepancies between its teachings and those of the Bible by holding that the Hebrew Scriptures alter the ancient accounts, that in fact Ibrahim [Abraham] was the first Muslim, and Allah’s covenant came through Isma’il [Ishmael], not Isaac. Presently, like the giants of Arbah in ancient times, the spirit behind this religion holds Hebron in its grip. And the Jews living in and around Hebron, although showing great courage and devotion, at times manifest their zeal in a violence not far-removed from that of those they perceive as their enemies surrounding them.

PLEASE PRAY: that the timings and purposes of the LORD will be released in Hebron “on earth as they are in Heaven”. Pray for a Great Light to illumine both Arab and Jew in their communities in Hebron, the light of the Most High God who desires to have a friendship with all the sons of Adam. Pray against the spiritual strongholds of cruel violence (Hebrew: hamas) which seek to hold both Jew and Arab captive in this city. Pray that national Israel will not come to despise her birthright, which includes this city of the burial place of her Fathers.

*Genesis 18:14. “Is anything too wonderful for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”

[cf: Jeremiah 32;17-18. “Ah, Lord YHVH! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great Power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too wonderful for you…the Great, the Mighty God, whose name is YHVH of Armies.”].

Many English translations read “too difficult” or “too hard” for “wonderful”. This is partly correct, but Hebrew peleh means “that which is so extraordinary or unusual as to awaken wonder”. This is the word used in Exodus 15:11—“You are awesome in praise, doing wonders O LORD.” Our God is a God of Wonders—executing extra-ordinary acts beyond our abilities to comprehend. Yet, nothing challenges His comprehension!

*Genesis 18:19. “For I [YHVH] have known him [Abraham], in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of YHVH, to do righteousness and justice, that YHVH may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.” Psalm 71:18 picks up on this crucial responsibility which accompanies the intimacy which God desires to have with us—that of passing it on to those who follow after us, “Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.”

*Genesis 20:6-7. “And God said to him [Abimelech] in a dream, ‘Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. Now therefore, restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live….”

PLEASE PRAY: that though surrounded by peoples who are often hostile to us, we would make allowance in our hearts for the grace and loving kindness which goes forth from our God on behalf of all men and women of every nation. He is not willing that any should perish. Pray that we will not stereotype and dismiss the peoples and nations around us, but be sensitive and ready to pray restoration and prosperity upon those whom God may choose through us to rest His grace and mercy.

*Genesis 20:7. “Now therefore, restore the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live.”

This is the first mention of the word “prophet” (Hebrew: navi) in Scripture.

Nabi [or navi] literally means “to bubble up.” It describes one who is stirred up in spirit…When the sense of “bubbling up” is applied to speaking, it becomes “to declare.” Hence, a nabi, or a prophet, is an announcer—one who pours forth the declarations of God. (John W. Ritenbaugh, Forerunner Commentary)

*Genesis 21:9-12. “And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing. Therefore she said to Abraham, ‘Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my sons, with Isaac.” And the matter was very displeasing to Abraham’s sight because of his son. But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed.”

We find teachings seeking to attribute the conflict in the Middle East to a “rejection spirit” occasioned by Abraham’s wrongfully sending Ishmael away, to be misguided, because 1) both this passage and Galatians 4:28-31 make clear that Abraham was obeying God in honouring Sarah’s demand to send Ishmael away, and 2) those who teach this usually do so from a viewpoint that all Arab peoples are descended from Ishmael, a stance for which there is no Biblical or historically verifiable support (such a view disregards the presence and descendants of the millions who lived in what are today considered “Arab” countries long before Ishmael or Isaac were even born). The ridiculing of Isaac by Ishmael may imply that Hagar had not fully obeyed the Angel of the LORD in “submitting herself to Sarah and her hand” after she returned the first time from the desert (16:9). In all events, God loved Hagar and Ishmael and watched over them—eventually Ishmael became the “father” of twelve princes (Gen. 12:20; 25:16).

*Genesis 21:33. “Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there called on the name of YHVH, the Everlasting God.” As we have mentioned, as we progress with the Patriarchs through Genesis, we see YHVH who appeared to Abram in Ur, continually revealing new attributes of His nature and character—showing how this “El” (God) differs from all the other “el’s” worshiped by the Canaanites in the land. There attributes are reflected in the new names by which He is called. Here Abraham coins just such a new name, YHVH El Olam—“Yehovah, the God who is Eternal.”

*Genesis 22:2. “Then He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go forth, yourself (Hebrew: Lekh-lekha!) to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” The last time God used the words Lekh-lekha! (literally “Begin walking, yourself”!), was in Ur (Gen. 12:1). It was up to Abraham himself to begin moving—and then God guided him ‘in his going’, bringing him against all hope eventually into the far-away land of Canaan. Now Abraham is much older, and has walked with this God for many years and communed with him as a Friend. This is even more an obedience against hope—but by now this Man of Faith (who rejoiced to see Yeshua’s day! John 8:56) had come to believe in this God as the very “Resurrection and the Life.” In 22:5, he doggedly assures the young men with him that “the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and WE will come back to you.”

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.” (Hebrews 11:17-19).

*Genesis 22:7-8, 14. “Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ And he said, ‘Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ So the two of them walked on together…And Abraham called the name of the place “YHVH will Provide…In the Mount of YHVH it will be Provided.”

In ancient Hebrew the word yireh could idiomatically carry with it an idea of “provision”. Yet literally it was then, as today, a form of the verb “To See”. “God will see for Himself the Lamb” (22:8); “YHVH will see; as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of YHVH it will be seen” (22:14). God’s “seeing”, and our being “in His sight” is so important! We believe this to be a reason so much emphasis is placed throughout Scripture on the importance of dwelling “in the light of His face” (Psalm 44:3; 80:19)—“seeking His face” (Psalm 27:8-9)—“finding grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8). If there is nothing coming between us and His face (the place of His “seeing”), all the provision for our journey will be there. Lastly, God had indeed “seen/provided the Lamb”. Isaiah 53:11 uses the same word— “He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.”

*Genesis 22:13. “Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horn.” We believe that here lies an important part of the significance of the shofar or rams’ horn. Here, caught by its horn, was the symbol of God’s Provision for all humankind–the ‘Lamb of God which carries away the sin of the world’. The sound of the shofar is a sound of the redemptive work and victory of the Lamb. When it is blown in the timing and authority of the Ruah haKodesh (Holy Spirit/Wind)…demons tremble, and the hearts of God’s army are strengthened and renewed with courage and joy!

[The readings for next week (5-11 November 2017) are called Chayeh Sarah—“Sarah’s Life”. TORAH: Genesis 23:1—25:18; HAFTARAH: I Kings 1:1-31.]

In A Nutshell

The portion, VaYera (The Lord Appeared), begins with the story of the three angels that came to Abraham and told Sarah she would have a son. Sarah laughed because she could not believe that she would have a son at her age. Yet, she did have a son, whose name was Ytzhak (Isaac) named after her Tzhok (laughter).

The angels continued on their way to destroy the cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, due to the many sins being committed there. Lot and his family were allowed to escape, but Lot’s wife did not obey the angels’ orders, turned around to look, and became a pillar of salt. Lot and his two daughters made it to a cave. Lot’s daughters were certain that they were the only survivors in the world, so they tricked their father into having children with them.

Later in the portion, following Sarah’s request, Abraham expels Hagar and Ishmael to the desert; the Creator commands Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, and in the last moment, an angel stops the execution. Abraham takes a ram that he found caught in the thicket and offers it instead of his son.

Commentary

In “A Preface to the Book of Zohar,” one of Baal HaSulam’s introductions to The Book of Zohar, he offers a special explanation of our perception of reality. The explanation details how we perceive the reality we live in, and how the place where we are is depicted in us as an image of emotions, which are portrayed as solid, as gas, as liquid, etc.

The Zohar and the wisdom of Kabbalah explain that due to the way in which we perceive reality—with our qualities and senses—we react to something outside of us, which we do not know, and which we turn into various colors and materials. However, we need to acquire additional senses and rise to a higher perception of reality, above our senses. This is how we will discover the upper world.

The Book of Zohar speaks to us in the “language of the branches,” using the terms of our world. It tells us how we can obtain and be impressed with the new form, which is higher than our world. Sometimes our concepts seem real to us, such as a pillar of salt, the upheaval of Sodom and Gomorrah, or the story of the three angels, etc., since “a verse does not extend the literal” (Masechet Yevamot, 24a). Yet, we should strive to see these concepts as relationships between us in the common soul.

The events of the portion are not merely historic tales; they are sources that deal with the connections between us. The role of these sources is to teach one who wishes to advance and rise to the new perception of reality how to scrutinize one’s desires, qualities, forces, and the connections between them, in order to design from them the perception of reality that is called, for instance, “the portion, VaYera.”

With each portion, we must rise higher until we arrive at the entrance to the land of Israel, where all our desires aim to bestow, in Dvekut (adhesion), so we may begin the actual work. The Torah reveals to us the light that reforms so we may advance from the reception of the Torah to the entrance to the land of Israel—a state where we can work with the entire substance of creation—with all of our desires—in the proper way. The word Eretz (land) comes from the word Ratzon (desire), and the word Ysrael (Israel) comes from the words Yashar El (straight to God).

The three angels are three forces that exist within us: right, left, and middle, through which we advance. There is the Abraham within us; this is the right line. On the one hand, he has the Klipa (shell/peel) of the right, who are Hagar and Ishmael, and on the other hand, he has the Klipa of the left, who are Isaac and Esau, with whom we attain the middle line, who is Jacob, at the conclusion of the process of correction.

A person sorts all of one’s mental forces out of the qualities that aim toward giving, and out of the qualities that aim toward receiving. In the middle, between them, is the balanced combination of the forces: the force of Hesed (mercy)—right—is Abraham, and the force of Gevura—left—is Isaac, while the forces of the angels are Michael on the right, and Gabriel on the left.

We need to sort the depth of the desires with which we can work because we cannot work with all our desires in order to bestow. Although each Mitzva (commandment) along the way aims toward “love your neighbor as yourself,” I still need to sort out all my desires and see whether I can achieve love of others with them. If I cannot, I avoid using them until the next, better state.

This is why Abraham had to cut—some to the right and some to the left—as in the case of the strife between the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle and the herdsmen of his cattle, where it was quite clear who was to the right and who was to the left. In a state of Sodom, there is a mixture once again, which behooves a similar scrutiny.

On the one hand, Lot must be taken out of there. On the other hand, Lot’s “female” desire must be removed. A male is the force of bestowal, while a female is the force of reception. Therefore, following the scrutiny, since it was not possible to work with Lot’s desire, his wife became a pillar of salt. We use salt to add flavor to our feed. Without it, our food would be tasteless; but we use it only on condition that it’s lifeless. Water is a state of semi-dead, semi-living. Salt, which is essentially one mineral, is extracted from the ground when it is completely lifeless; it is neither a vegetable nor an animal.

This is the way one scrutinizes more and more degrees. In the tying of Isaac we scrutinize how to tie up the left line, how to prevent it from using its powers to the fullest. Abraham, the force of the right, holds the left line and binds it, preventing it from being used. He does it by cutting out his own animal part, but leaving his speaking part. The rest can be sacrificed as an offering.

Another form of scrutiny is through deportation of the part of the right that cannot join the left. This manifests in the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael. Through serious inner work, a person scrutinizes with which forces of the soul it is possible to work and to advance from portion to portion, from degree to degree.

Concerning our time, the Sodom and Gomorrah issue resembles the American approach, which says, “let mine be mine; let yours be yours.” In other words, there is democracy, and there is freedom of the individual, and each one is to oneself. Clearly and unequivocally, we do not come into a connection where I am for you and you are for me. There is no emotional commitment, help, or bonding. It is just as it was in Sodom and Gomorrah.

Right from the start we are told that if we want to advance on the path of correction of the soul, we need to change how we relate to one another. The relationship must be oriented toward connection. “Let mine be mine; let yours be yours” is Sodomite rule. Even if it seems to us that it is a respectable attitude when no one messes with one’s neighbors business, that attitude contradicts the purpose of creation, which is to be “as one man with one heart” (RASHI, Exodus, 19b), to unite into a single system. This is why today Nature is presenting us with an integral, circular system where we are all inevitably connected, the complete opposite of Sodomite rule.

The portion, VaYera, teaches us what we can elicit from the quality of Sodom, even if Lot’s wife, her two daughters, and Lot himself stand in our way. It does not matter that we will have to continue to correct them in relation to their sins in the cave. What matters is that right at the start of our correction we must abandon the rule, “let mine be mine; let yours be yours.”

Today the world is in precisely the same situation. This is why we must determine to destroy the previous relations between us, which were based on money, on the egotistical connection of give and take. Instead, we must fashion a system that is similar to the integral system that is currently appearing worldwide, a system where we are interdependent. Our dependence is similar to that of a family, where there are no monetary calculations, but rather emotional ones, where we draw closer to each other and become “as one man with one heart.”

Today, Sodomite rule, “let mine be mine; let yours be yours,” characterizes the fall of both communism and capitalism. We are not in a state of “Give what you can and take what you need,” as the communist proclaimed.

We are in a process where we must exit Sodom without destroying it altogether. Rather, we must overturn and rebuild it from the previous discernments, since no redundancy was created in the world. Even what seems to us as the worst possible thing can turn to good, depending on how we use it. For example, a poisonous snake is the symbol of medicine. We use the venom to produce many medicines. It is written in The Book of Zohar that when the dear wants to give birth to the soul, the serpent comes and bites her, and only then does she deliver. It is impossible to give birth to anything—neither to a new degree nor to a new soul—without the serpent’s bite.

Today we are in a very special situation, a tipping point, an inversion we must go through. It is just as there is an inversion in childbirth from a position where the head of the fetus turns upward to a position where its head turns downward. This is how we emerge from world to world. That inversion symbolizes our attitude toward the world, to people; everything becomes inverted.

This is also the inversion of Sodom and Gomorrah, which we must go through, in our relationships—from “let mine be mine; let yours be yours.” If we recognize it and willingly understand it, we will go through it easily. Otherwise, we will experience it as affliction by Nature’s forces.

Currently, the Torah is compelling us to relate to others by the rule, “that which you hate, do not do to your neighbor” (Masechet Shabbat, 31a). We must be very clear about this attitude, and not mistakenly compare it to Sodomite rule, “let mine be mine; let yours be yours.”

“That which you hate, do not do to your neighbor” does not mean that you only avoid harming others. Rather, it means you must relate to the other, so that you cannot harm another despite your ego and your will to receive. This attitude is called “desiring mercy.” Yet, this is still not an attitude of love. Rather, it is as old Hillel said to the gentile—one who wishes to draw nearer to the truth—this is only the first part, said on one leg. In the next stage, as Rabbi Akiva says, we treat others in a manner of “love your neighbor as yourself” (Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim, Chapter 9, 30b). These are the two stages, out of which we must now execute at least the first.

It is therefore clear that the world is beginning the path of correction coercively, feeling the shattering, the crisis, and the problems. These are the days of the Messiah, in which a new world is being born before us.

The state of Sodom and Gomorrah, of “let mine be mine; let yours be yours,” seems better than our current situation. At least in Sodom people did not steal from one another. Are we really in a worse situation than in Sodom?

Our situation is far worse than in Sodom and Gomorrah. The western ideology of “let mine be mine; let yours be yours,” which says, “Do not interfere with others’ businesses—stressing the privacy and freedom of the individual—is what created this truly adverse situation. We need to get passed it and move on. Our progress toward the new world is mandatory, behooved by Nature.

Do we need to feel others in order to advance to the new world?

It is the very reason why we passed through the stage of the desert. The entire forty years in the desert were stages where we ascended above our egos, trying not to be bad to one another. This manifested in all the sins that the children of Israel committed in the desert. Each sin had its own correction, repeatedly and ceaselessly.

In this process, the disclosure of the big and corrupt desires—above which the children of Israel ascend, “that which you hate, do not do to your neighbor”—is the beginning of everything. This is how we must deal with the rest of the world. It is a very difficult task because we must rise above our desires, above our nature.

Why did the Creator command Abraham to slaughter his son?

Slaughtering refers to slaughtering one’s approach to life, which is to enjoy the world. To enjoy it means to enjoy exploiting the world.

Do you mean enjoyment at the expense of others?

I always compare myself to others, everything that I will have to ruin inside of me, and what I will build as a completely new attitude toward others.

And God Tested Abraham

“It certainly should have said Abraham, for he needed to be included in the Din because previously, there was no Din in Abraham and he was all Hesed. But now water became mingled with fire, Hesed with Din. Thus far, Abraham was incomplete, and he was crowned to pass judgment and correct the Din in its place, since there is illumination of Hochma only in the left line. Hence, before Abraham was included in Isaac, left line, he was incomplete, meaning he lacked illumination of Hochma. And through the tying, Isaac was mingled and was thus crowned with illumination of Hochma and was completed. This is why it writes that in the tying, he was crowned to pass judgment, and thus the Din was corrected, meaning the illumination of the left in its place, when he was included in Abraham’s place, in Hesed.”

Zohar for All, VaYera (The Lord Appeared), item 490

It seems that there is a problem here from the perspective of creation in relation the Creator. On the one hand, the Creator needs to create something outside of Him, a Nivra (creature), from the word Bar (outside) of the degree. On the other hand, to do good to the creature, the Creator must elevate it to a degree where the creature is exactly like the Creator, in every way. How then can these opposites merge into one in a person who is similar to the Creator, though not identical?

To do that, there is a need to create in man all the desires whose nature is opposite from that of the Creator. The 613 desires in man are then built through the 613 lights of the Torah, which are called “613 ways of the Torah.” When one begins to work with those desires, to receive in them in order to bestow upon the Creator, this is when one corrects oneself and receives in order to bestow, which is actual bestowal.

It follows that we must undergo extensive corrections once we rise above those desires we refrain from using. This is the beginning of Abraham’s correction in relation to Isaac. The scrutiny is done by the middle line—how much it is possible to receive from it, and how much it is not possible. In other words, as we ascend on the ladder of degrees we constantly scrutinize our use of the will to receive, as much as possible, in order to bestow.

Yet, it is clear to us that we have desires called “Lot’s wife,” which we must “put on hold.” Salt does not become spoiled; it can be used after a long time. This is also how we use all the discernments in us, all of our desires.

Along the way, we perform a kind of covenant—circumcision, exposing, and the drop of blood.” We do not use the biggest desires in the soul, the foreskin, but leave them for the end of correction, when we will have the strength to use them correctly—so as to do good to others. If we use them now we will only harm others. Therefore, we make all the corrections in between, called “Lot’s wife.”

A woman is the will to receive, the ego in a person. It is poised toward the desire to bestow, which can be connected to the will to receive, called “Lot and his wife.” Lot is the desire to bestow. However, the will to receive cannot work with it, which is why a person must temporarily “freeze” it, and the desire to bestow seemingly “rides over it” until the next degrees when it wakes up.

This Week’s Torah Portion | October 22 – October 28, 2017 – 2 Cheshvan – 8 Cheshvan, 5778

Lech Lecha (Go Forth) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

LECH LECHA
TORAH : GENESIS 12:1-17:27
PROPHETS : ISAIAH 40:27-41:16
GOSPEL : MATTHEW 1:1-17

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 22-28 October 2017 are called Lekh Lekha—“Go Forth, Yourself”:

Torah:

This week’s portion begins with a hearkening-back to the call of Abram in Ur, and ends with the promise of Isaac, and with Abram (his name now changed to “Abraham”) entering into the Covenant of Circumcision with his household. In the course of these chapters he will travel from Ur and Haran (12:4) to Canaan, passing through the land to Shechem, Bethel, the Negev (dry southland), Egypt, back to the Negev, back to Bethel, walking the land “northward, southward, eastward, and westward (13:14), to Hebron, to war north of Damascus, back to Hebron. We cannot hope here to discuss all that takes place in the course of these travels; but ask the LORD to attend you as you travel through these pages with the Father of our Faith,

“‘Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were hewn and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain; When he was but one I called him, then I blessed him and multiplied him.’ Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places…”

(Isaiah 51:1-3a).


*Genesis 12:1- “Now the LORD said to Abram: ‘Go you forth out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great. Be a Blessing! I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

a. “Now the LORD said to Abram: ‘Go you forth out of your country…”

Some rabbinic traditions hold that this command was given in Haran (in modern-day S/E Turkey) where Abram’s father Terah had taken Abram, his wife Sarai and Terah’s grandson Lot (Genesis 11:31). But at least one passage in the New Covenant asserts that this is not true:

Acts 7:2-4: Stephen is preaching to Jewish leaders in Jerusalem: “Brothers and sisters, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia [the city of Ur was in this region], before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living.” There is nothing in the account to suggest that the religious Jewish leaders to whom Stephen was preaching, were in disagreement with this.

*From this passage we see that God appeared to Abraham, and again in Genesis 12:7 below. One of the difficulties for many Jews in believing in the deity of Yeshua/Jesus is the insistence of their teachers that God would never take on a human form and be seen. Yet these passages show us that God is capable of taking on just such a form—he “appeared to” Abraham. We will see this “appearing” occurring again at the beginning of next week’s Parashah, and indeed throughout the Torah.

*He appeared while Abraham was still in Ur and commanded him to leave his family and follow Him. This was a new experience for Abraham. There were many ‘gods’ worshiped in Ur. Now he, like all of us today, would have to learn to know and trust this new God. He would make mistakes, but he would nevertheless exercise faith in trusting through the light he had. We have no way of knowing for certain if he erred in telling his father what God had commanded, rather than just obeying and going, But evidently he did tell his father—who then decided to go along. Terah in fact took control—and led them as far as Haran. In doing so, Terah probably took along his own house-hold gods. As we shall see, these would reappear years later (Genesis 31:19), creating big problems for Abraham’s descendants. For now, God allowed Terah to go along, though not to the ultimate destination. And so they waited in Haran until Abraham’s father died—then God moved Abram, his wife and Lot on to Canaan.

*Genesis 12:2a. “I will make you a great nation…and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Hebrew for “nation” is goy; “great nation” is goy gadol. In Modern Hebrew slang, goy and goyim (plural) are often used in reference to individuals or peoples who are non-Jews (Gentiles). Scripture most often uses goyim to refer to nations other than Israel. However, here God is speaking to an individual human being drawn from one of the nations, who in his descendants would become a great nation in which families throughout the earth would be blessed. It may be significant that “earth” here is adamah—soil. Adam was formed from adamah. Today, all his descendants are in Hebrew called bnei-adam—“children of Adam”. God saw and continues to see the physical seed of Abraham (Israel) as an individual nation before him …and his blessing through them is on behalf of all of Adam’s children.

*Genesis 12:2. “I will make a great nation of you and will give-you-blessing and will make your name great. Be a blessing!” (Everett Fox translation; emphases ours). In the Hebrew, the last three words are clearly a command/imperative form of the verb. God isn’t saying here that Abraham and his seed “will be” or “become” a blessing; rather, he is speaking a command into that seed, “BE!” A blessing to all the children of Adam through that seed would indeed be released in the person of the Saviour, Yeshua Messiah. But this holy command has never been annulled! The workings of God for all humankind continue to be mirrored in his workings in this People. For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, Israel continues to “Be a Blessing”. And as Israel, through recognizing and receiving her Messiah, returns to her fullness, her acceptance will be “life from the dead”! (Romans 11:15).

*Genesis 12:7-8. “Then YHVH (The LORD) appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your seed I will give this land.’ And there he built [there in Shechem] an altar to YHVH, who had appeared to him. And he moved/shifted from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent…where he built an altar to YHVH and called on the name of YHVH.”

Wonderful things happened in Shechem (modern-day Nablus). The God of Glory, Who had appeared to him while still in Ur, now, after a long and arduous journey, appeared to Abram again! Look once more at the verse 7. Shechem certainly appeared to be:

A legitimate destination of God’s leading.
A place of God’s revealed Presence.
A place of the releasing of God’s prophetic Word.
A place of established worship to “the One who reveals Himself.”

The ideal place to settle down!

Yet one verse later Abraham moves to Bethel. The word translated “moved” also means to “take a shift” (Robert Alter translates it “pulled up his stakes”). As we saw during the recent Sukkot festival, God “makes everything beautiful in its time or season (Ecclesiastes 3:11). But, he is under no obligation to beautify if, after the season for our being in a certain place has passed, we insist on staying there. Abram took his “shift,” and a much greater blessing awaited him at Bethel, a place he would return to time and time again…and to which his grandson Jacob many years later would return to find an open heavens with the angels still ascending and descending.

*Genesis 14:5. “In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him came and attacked the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim, and the Horites in their mountain of seir, as far as El Paran, which is by the wilderness…And the king of Sodom went out to meet him [i.e. Abraham] after his striking down Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him…”.

Abraham pursued and struck down this king who himself had defeated the Rephaim, Zuzim, Emim, and the Horites. It is fascinating to discover how almost 500 years later, descendants of each of these peoples (Deuteronomy 2:10, 12, 20, 22; 3:11), whose height and cruel renown had paralyzed with fear their parents 40 years previously, are dispatched quickly by the young new generation of Israelis shortly before their advancement into Canaan.

Perhaps Joshua and Caleb had been taught from childhood how the God of their father Abraham had given him easy victory over a Chedorlaomer, who had himself subdued all of these feared peoples. In faith, after being sent in to spy out the land, they brought back a good report.

*Genesis 14:19. “Then Melchizedek king of Shalem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of El Elyon (God Most-High).” Just as English god comes from an old Anglo-Saxon expression for deity, the Canaanites word for god was el, and they had many elelim. Soon after Abram entered Canaan, the One who had appeared to him in Ur and Shechem began to reveal aspects of His nature which made clear how this “El” differed from all the other “el’s” crowding the land. His attributes are reflected in a number of descriptive names which began to be used by Abraham and his descendants…El Elyon is the El (or God) who is “most High”—El Roii (16:13) is El who “Sees”—El Shaddai (17:1) is El who is “Almighty and sustains all life”. By verse 22, Abram realizes that the God who had appeared to him as YHVH in Ur and Shechem (12:1; 12:7-8) and this El Elyon are One and the same, “I raise my hand to YHVH El Elyon, the possessor of Heaven and earth…”

*Genesis 15:6. “And he believed in YHVH, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.”

*Genesis 15:12. “Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram: and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him. God said to Abram, ‘Know for ce4rtain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.’ It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold—a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces. On that day YHVH made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates…’”

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God—all these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed, if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:8—16).

*Genesis 16:4b-5a. “And when she [Hagar] saw that she had conceived, her mistress [Sarai] became despised in her eyes. Then Sarai said to Abram, ‘May the wrong done me be upon you!”
We must realize that the struggle reflected in Hagar’s actions and Sarai’s response is over an issue of far greater magnitude than either of these women could have been aware. Far from being merely a domestic squabble (although, so it may have seemed to them), a cosmic spiritual battle was raging over God’s covenant on behalf not only of Abraham’s descendants but of the whole Human Race! When Sarai speaks wildly to Abram of the “wrong” being done her, she uses the word hamas—a word used other places in the Hebrew Bible for “cruel violence” (Genesis 49:5; Psalm 25:19; 27:12). A great Enemy was seeking to divert the line of Covenant which God had determined to come through Sarai’s womb (Genesis 17:21); this covenant-hating Power of “cruel violence” was trying to tear her apart. This same battle is still raging! The Muslim religion teaches that a divine covenant went through Ishmael, not Isaac. The power behind this falsehood hates Life, and the God of Life, and rules those presently under its dominion through cruel violence, hamas (a word which coincidentally is spelled and pronounced the same as the acronym for the present-day terrorist Islamic Resistant Movement). PLEASE PRAY: That Muslims will be freed from a power of violence which has sought to keep them outside the covenant of God Most High. Pray for dreams and visions…for a powerful working of the Holy Spirit of God, to shed abroad in hearts the Love that the Father has for them. Pray that perfect love from the Most High God will be discovered to come through knowledge of Jesus…and that that perfect Love will cast out fear.

Genesis 17:4-12. “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations…I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your seed after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God…This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations….”

It is significant that the first two locations where God promised to give “this land” to Abraham’s seed Shechem (modern day Nablus), Genesis 12:7; Bethel, Genesis 13:14-15 (and probably Hebron, Genesis 15:18, 17:1-14) are located in the area of the “Mountains of Israel”, currently known to much of the world as the “West Bank”. It is this same area which Israel is being constantly pressured to surrender for establishment of a permanent Muslim Palestinian state. We also find it significant that in recent years, circumcision has come under fire in a number of places in the west—including certain areas of the United States and Europe. It must be remembered that although these efforts to ban circumcision are being made under the guise of protecting the rights of children, the ritual was given by God to the Hebrews as sign of a covenant, eternally binding the physical seed of Abraham to the land once called “Canaan” (including, of course, the furiously contested modern-day areas of Judea, Samaria and all of Jerusalem).

Genesis 17:18-22. “And Abraham said to God, ‘Oh that Ishmael might live before You!’ Then God said, But Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.’ Then he finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.”

After Abraham asks God that Ishmael may “live before Him”, God does not answer “No” (as many English versions translate), nor “Yes” (as the NIV translates). The Hebrew simply says, “But, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son…” Ishmael will indeed live before Him, becoming a nation with “twelve princes” (a prophecy which is shown fulfilled in Genesis 25:16). But the important word here is “covenant” (vs. 19, 21). God’s covenants are covenants of life for all humankind—and this one must come through Isaac. Here we see a parting of ways between Judaism and Christianity and Islam. As mentioned above, Islam teaches that Ishmael was the chosen vessel, not Isaac—that it was he who yielded himself to sacrifice. Any covenant which is in opposition to God’s covenant cannot be a covenant of Life. Please Pray for revelation among Muslims, that God’s covenant through Isaac led to the birth of Yeshua (Arabic: Yasua) who is the Way, the Truth and the Life for all children of Adam!

Haftarah:

*Isaiah 41:8-13. “But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, Descendant of Abraham My beloved…You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its remotest parts and said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you. Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonoured; Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish. You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent. For I am the YHVH your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’”

[The readings for next week (29 October—4 November 2017) are called VaYera—“And [The LORD] Appeared to Him”. TORAH: Genesis 18:1—22:24; HAFTARAH: II Kings 4:1-37.]

In A Nutshell

The portion, Go Forth, begins with Abraham being commanded to go to the land of Canaan. When Abraham reaches the land of Canaan, the hunger forces him to go down to Egypt, where Pharaoh’s servants take Sarai, his wife. In Pharaoh’s house, Abraham presents her as his sister, fearing for his life. The Creator punishes Pharaoh with infections and diseases, and he is forced to give Sarai back to Abraham.

When Abraham returns to the Canaan, a fight breaks out between the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle and the herdsmen of Abraham’s cattle, after which they part ways.

A war breaks out between four kings from among the rulers of Babylon, and five kings from the land of Canaan, Lot is taken captive, and Abraham sets out to save him.

The Creator makes a covenant with Abraham, “the covenant of the pieces” (or “covenant between the parts”), which is the promise of the continuation of his descendants and the promise of the land.

Sarai cannot have children, so she offers Abraham her maid, Hagar, and they have a child named Ishmael.

Abraham makes the covenant of the circumcision with the Creator and is commanded to circumcise himself and all the males in his household. His name changes from Abram to Abraham, and his wife’s name changes from Sarai to Sarah.

At the end of the portion, the Creator promises Sarah that she would have a son whose name will be Isaac.

Commentary
All the stories of the portion before us happen within us. In the correct perception of reality, this world does not exist, and neither do history or geography, nor the story of the portion. All of them are occurrences that take place within us.

The wisdom of Kabbalah explains that perception of reality is a profound matter, relating to our innermost psychology, to our senses and to our physical structure.

The Torah speaks the truth about the way we developed, and all the people and events that it describes are our mental forces. Abraham, for instance, is the tendency to develop toward spirituality, the desire to approach and discover the Creator.

The story of Abraham in Babylon is really the revelation that only one force exists and manages the world, and the desire to discover that force. Anyone who feels the desire to discover who is managing one’s fate and why, or is asking, “What is the meaning of my life?” is at the same starting point of Abraham, and the force of Abraham is working within that person.

By thinking what he must do, Abraham felt that he had to advance to the next state. He actually felt Nature prodding him forward, telling him, “Go forth from your land and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.” Where? To where I will show you, where you will find the balance, where you can realize yourself.

Maimonides and other Kabbalists wrote that this is how Abraham moved to the land of Canaan with his entire household, and thousands of the people who left Babylon along with him, and which he established as the “house of Abraham.” When Abraham reached the land of Canaan, he reached a new desire, called “Canaan.”

The word Eretz (land) comes from the word Ratzon (desire). Abraham discovers that that desire does not sufficiently promote him; he felt hunger and did not know what would sustain him and keep him at this point of the land of Canaan. Because the land of Canaan is a land of bestowal, while he was still not in a state where he could achieve bestowal, a new situation formed, which compelled him to be attached to the will to receive. This is what made him go down to Egypt.

A big, new desire appeared here, where one feels that more steps with the intensifying ego are required because the ego is shifting from a state of “Babylon is not enough.” As the ego grows, it demands satisfaction. But this arouses fear that if one should work with the ego with the intentions to bestow called “Abraham,” it will not be enough to keep oneself and thus one might ruin the intention.

This is why a person is unwilling to work with the ego, the obstruction that is growing within. The little desire within tells that person, “This is my sister, not my wife.” A person becomes ready to completely abstain from the whole of the desire, called Sarah, and remain solely in the intention to bestow called Abraham.

Because of the growing ego within us, we lack the sensation of fulfillment. On the contrary, we feel increasingly deficient and empty. Pharaoh is the state imprinted within us that asks, “What do I get out of it?” It seems that the current state is worse than the one that I had before, which is why Pharaoh tells Abraham to take back the desire called Sarah because he could not handle it. Pharaoh wanted to remain in corporeality, as he was, while that desire, Sarah, extended from spirituality.

These two parts within us are in a constant struggle. They alternate—Abraham grows and falls, and then Pharaoh grows and falls. It resembles walking, stepping with the right foot, then the left foot, and it makes little difference what we call them because they acquire different names on different degrees.

When Abraham and his entourage return to the land of Canaan, a problem arises between the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle and the herdsmen of Abraham’s cattle. The word Lot means curse. A question arises—“Which way should one go, in the direction of the aim to receive, or in the direction of the aim to bestow?” Once again, one becomes perplexed and does not know what to do. This is the quarrel over the place and the wells. In spite of everything, one chooses to distinguish between the two forces—reception and bestowal.

This teaches us that during our development there are many events where we must look into our egos and see how it is cresting in us. And yet, we must disagree with the direction of the evil, but we must also refrain from ruining it. Rather, we should abstain from it, as Abraham abstained from Lot, who later saved him from Sodom.

These are the bilateral changes that happen within us. We use our bad Kelim (vessels), as well as our good ones, our good qualities and our bad qualities, and all the thoughts we need, because we learn from that.

When Abraham concludes the quarrel with the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle, he wages war on the four kings that live in the country. Once again we see that as one develops, one is in a constant struggle. Although the kings, the great forces, the persons’ big desires, do not allow one to enter the land of Canaan and encircle Canaan, a person wishes to achieve a certain spiritual degree in which one begins to feel the Creator, the common force of Nature, the eternity and perfection in Nature. However, it is impossible because those Malchuts, those kings, are standing in the way, blocking it.

Following this war the Creator appears to Abraham and says to him that he is making a covenant with him, and this land will truly belong to the quality of Abraham that is growing and developing atop the quality of Pharaoh, atop the wars and on top of Lot. Now that quality is big and strong enough; it is sufficiently established to enter with it into the land of Canaan. This is the quality that allows one to achieve the purpose of creation, the revelation of the Creator, and to achieve Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator.

In order to actually attain the next degree, the contact with the Creator, we need a force that will “beget” the next degree. It is we who beget the new states, but the will to receive, which is Sarah, still cannot be the force that is giving birth under the quality of Abraham. The quality of Abraham is still weak in its intention to bestow, and cannot deliver from the will to receive called Sarah. However, it can do it with the right line, the force of the right, but only with that part of it called Hagar. The offshoot of that is Ishmael—a force that belongs to the right of Bina, which is called the Klipa (shell/peel) of the right.

In the end, following the covenant and the numerous corrections, Abraham comes to a state where he can also work with the general will to receive, called Sarah. This is when Sarah gives birth, hence the great joy in the portion.

Abraham is told to go from Babylon to Canaan. What does it mean to move from one desire to the next, and what does it feel like in the land of Canaan?

We are in a process of constant changes, except we are not aware of it. The Torah speaks of the changes we go through consciously, having decided that we really want to change our desires. The will to receive is our entire substance. We shift from one desire to the next, from land to land. There is a maxim that says, “change of place, change of luck.” A “place” is the desire from which we observe the world. The desire is everything; it is the foundation from which we embark on every action.

Each name or word that is mentioned actually denotes a desire. In the wisdom of Kabbalah we speak of Aviut (thickness), Masach (screen), and Reshimot (recollections) that determine the state of the Neshama (soul). Here, too, we are speaking of the same changes we go through, except the terminology is different.

“Go forth” means that a person should always feel that the beginning of the path is Yesod (foundation), and one advances precisely when shifting from state to state. One must carry out those instructions and move from state to state until one arrives at the end of one’s correction. Therefore, “go forth” is the act that the Creator expects us to perform.

This means that we can move only if we understand that change can happen only through unity. The whole difference between spiritual degrees is that one becomes increasingly connected, and connects all the elements within one to the attainment of the goal. Nothing is created without a reason. We need all of our mental powers: Pharaoh, Lot, the Abraham’s cattle, Lot’s cattle, the kings that are in the land, Balaam, Balak, Haman, the wicked, as well as the righteous. In the end, the Torah teaches us how to connect all our mental powers and become a complete individual.

What is the meaning of the land of Canaan with regard to the desires?

Canaan is a land that precedes the land of Israel. It is one of the degrees, the one before the land of Israel.

Is a person already on the way to spirituality if the point in his or her heart has awakened?

Yes. Once the point awakens in a person’s heart, he or she cannot stay in “Babylon.” Such a person must leave Babylon and ascend to the degree of the land of Canaan. One progresses along with those who join in—those desires that one can work with—and rises to another degree, where one thinks in the direction of bestowal and Hesed (mercy), in the direction that Abraham symbolizes.

Go Forth, to Correct Yourself

Since the Creator saw his awakening and his desire, He immediately revealed Himself to him and told him, “Go forth,” to know yourself and to correct yourself. Meaning, he should stop weighing the upper forces but raise MAN and extend a high Zivug on the Masach that appeared to him, by which he will be rewarded with extending Daat for himself and correct himself.

Zohar for All, Lech Lecha (Go Forth), item 28

Attaining a higher degree is done by the Aviut (thickness) of the new desire, and through the intention over that desire. If a person performs a Zivug de Hakaa (coupling of striking), he or she achieves the revelation of the upper light at the degree in which the Zivug was made.

What does it mean that the Creator saw his awakening?

A person receives the awakening from the overall plan of creation. Each of us has a time in which we begin to awaken. The general “engine” of all the souls turns like a counter and issues orders to each one. All of a sudden, you wake up, you want, you are being led. You are given an awakening to spirituality once, or twice, or thrice in life, and you must respond; you must take initiative and begin to advance on your own.

What happens when a person discovers that he or she cannot advance any longer?

When you suddenly begin to discover that you cannot advance in spirituality, it means you are once again falling into the egotistical desire, into Pharaoh. You are descending to Egypt once again.

It is fine, and it is what should happen. You need to intensify your ego in order to advance, as this is all your matter. It is all the substance of creation—the great will to receive. Without Pharaoh, you will not be able to reach Mount Sinai.

You have to have a “mountain” of evil, hatred, which you took from Pharaoh. The whole of the desire that appeared in you became a mountain, around which you feel your hatred of others. At that point you tell yourself, “I have to have the Torah; I have no choice; I have to have the force that will correct me, which is called ‘the light that reforms.’” The progress is always done from two directions: on one side is the growing egotistical desire; on the other side, one must see that one has the intention to bestow.

What is the Klipa of the right, and how come Abraham, the quality of Hesed, begot a Klipa?

The quality of Abraham is only just beginning; it is not entirely corrected. That is, it is the initial desire of a person, which is clear, lacking Aviut. When one connects to oneself Aviut, in order to advance, the right and left connect through the scrutinies of the desire. A person must cut and scrutinize with which desires one can work, and with which desires one still cannot, although later one will correct them in more advanced degrees.

Moreover, by begetting his son with his partial desire called Hagar, the conditions change. Sarai becomes Sarah, and Abram becomes Abraham. These are not just different names. Through these corrections we arrive at a state where we work with a new, different desire known as Sarah, and a new, different intention known as Abraham, who begets the beginning of the nation.

Is Isaac the beginning of the nation?

Not only Isaac. There are three lines altogether: the left, right, and middle line, which is Israel. Additionally, there are two Klipot (shells/peels): Ishmael on the right, and Esau on the left. It does not mean that they are completely flawed, but only that in time they, too, will be corrected.

The Klipa of the right, Ishmael, is still fighting against everyone, even today.

It will remain so until the end of correction, until we all mingle together and unite.

Does circumcision mean the “cutting” into the desire?

Yes, but the circumcision is more than just the cutting; it is also the Klipot, which are desires that you cannot work with. For now, they are Klipot, until they become Kedusha (holiness). The problem is in you; you cannot work with such intense desires with the aim to bestow, since if you receive pleasures you will take them to yourself instead of bestowing them to others.

What does it mean to make a covenant with the Creator?

Making a covenant with the Creator means that a person makes whatever pledge is required. The covenant is a special, inner reorganization that allows one—along with one’s forces—to position oneself in a situation where one will never make mistakes, through all the future degrees, provided one maintains a certain principle.

Is the Creator going to help me because of the covenant?

The covenant means that the Creator is helping you. It is Nature, the Creator = Nature. “I the Lord do not change” means that from now on you recognize a certain principle. If you stick to it, you are guaranteed to avoid any mistakes, any deviations, and any sins. The spiritual advancement is always toward a degree that you still do not know. Therefore, you must be certain that when you advance, you will not fail. The covenant is the force that takes you over safely from one degree to the next.

There are two covenants: the covenant of the pieces and the circumcision. The circumcision has become a Jewish conduct in the corporeal world, and it is a commandment to this day. Some even say it is a cruel tradition. What is the spiritual root of the circumcision?

The root lies in the need to be rid of the will to receive that one cannot correct. It is what we do all the time, including with Sarah, Hagar, and so forth. Each time, we scrutinize the will to receive, which, on the one hand, is growing, and on the other hand, we need to “cut out” some of it, similar to the end of the Partzuf (face). We need to decide, “I cannot deal with this part for the time being.” This is also what the positive and negative (“do” and “do not do”) Mitzvot (commandments) speak of. Why “do not do”? Because there is a will to receive that I cannot use.

Therefore, in every situation we must distinguish between the desire we use and the desire we do not use. The place of the scrutiny is called the “Rosh (head) of the Partzuf,” and this is the primary scrutiny that we must always make preceding every decision.

Is the foreskin the desire that we cannot use?

Yes, the foreskin, the exposing, and the drop of blood. These are all the corrections that engage in the intensity of the desire and its nature, with which we cannot currently work in favor of others, nor also in our own favor, since we are in spirituality and we do not use them. The decision to refrain from using them is called “circumcision.”

It is mentioned that Lot is taken captive. Who captured him and what is captivity?

He was taken captive by the egotistical desire of Sodom. Sodom, compared to the state we are in, is a state of great righteousness, and we even dare to say “Sodomite rule.”

Do you mean that we are worse than Sodomite rule?

Yes. Sodomite rule is “let mine be mine and let yours be yours,” I do not touch you, and you do not touch me. Even if I can steal something from you, I won’t. Or even if I can use you, I will avoid it. I do not sell you something bad or manipulate you through advertisement. In short, I do not exploit you.

Sodomite rule does not sound so bad then.

Of course. If we were in Sodomite rule today it would be a step forward for us. It is with good reason that Lot was included in it. After all he is close to Abraham; these qualities are not so far. Abraham came to save him because the quality of Sodom is required in order to elicit anything for correction. This is why when Abraham came to Sodom, he scrutinized the desires that could be salvaged out of them, while the rest, which could not be scrutinized, had to go through the upheaval of Sodom.

The Message of the Portion:

The key message of the portion is truly, “go forth.” We move from state to state only through the changes in our desires. Each moment we examine and scrutinize our desires in order to decide which desires we can use, and which ones we still cannot, which desires we should “kill,” and which ones we should “cut off” from ourselves.

I always scrutinize with what I can advance through love of others, and toward the love of the Creator. “Go forth” is the way that guides me, and it is the only one that I walk.

This Week’s Torah Portion | October 15 – October 21, 2017 – 25 Tishrei – 1 Cheshvan, 5778

Noah Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

This Week’s Torah Portion | October 15 – October 21, 2017 – 25 Tishrei – 1 Cheshvan, 5778

TORAH : GENESIS 6:9-11:32
PROPHETS : ISAIAH 66:1-24
GOSPEL : LUKE 1:5-80

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. An illustration of this practice appears to have been recorded in Luke 4:16 where Yeshua (Jesus) arrived in the synagogue in Nazareth and was asked to read the portion (Isaiah 61) from the Prophets. 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 illumine specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel. All texts are those of English translations of the Scriptures.

Eighth Month

This Friday/Saturday (October 20-21) will be Rosh Chodesh—the “head” of the Eighth Hebrew month. Today, Hebrew calendars use the Babylonian name Cheshvan. In ancient times the Canaanite name Bul was used, as in I Kings 6:38 where, after seven years, Solomon completed the House of the LORD in Jerusalem.

Let us ask God for grace over this new month—for vision, instruction, courage and love and attentiveness to His ways! To bring to completion all those tasks whose time of fulfillment is come.

NOACH

The reading for this week October 15-21, 2017 is called No’ach (the “ch” pronounced in the throat, as with “Bach”—“Noah”.

*Shabbat Rosh Chodesh—Because this Shabbat falls on Rosh Chodesh for the eighth month (Cheshvan/Bul), in many synagogues a special Haftarah reading will be substituted: Isaiah 66:1-24, 23.

Torah:

*Genesis 6:9. “Noah was a just man, perfect (or, “blameless”) in his generations; Noah walked with God.”
“Perfect” or “blameless” are translations of the Hebrew word tome, which may, as in Psalm 25:21, also be rendered “integrity”: “Let integrity and uprightness guard me for I wait for you” (NKJV). In Psalm 101 David uses this word three times regarding his every-day walk within his house, “I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house. I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away, it shall not cling to me…My eyes shall be upon the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me” (Psalm 101:2-4, 6).

Even as Noah, living in a perverse and exceedingly sinful world, was through his “walk with God” enabled to govern his personal walk and that of his house with integrity, it is of paramount importance that those of us living in a time which is rapidly becoming “as it was in the days of Noah” hold close to our “walk with God”; that we in integrity ponder the way we walk, the things we allow access into our dwellings (and thence into our eyes and those of our families!), and with whom we associate and allow ourselves to be influenced.

*Genesis 6:11-13. “Now the earth had gone to ruin before God, the earth was filled with wrongdoing. God saw the earth, and here: it had gone to ruin, for all flesh had ruined its way upon the earth. God said to Noah: An end of all flesh has come before me, for the earth is filled with wrongdoing through them: here, I am about to bring ruin upon them, along with the earth” (Everett Fox translation; emphases ours).

Flesh, given its lead, brings ruin and destruction. As alluded to above, in the New Covenant, Yeshua prophesied that in latter days it will again be “as it was in the days of Noah”. Zechariah 2:11-13 instructs us regarding those days—as the LORD is “aroused from His holy habitation,” as Messiah draws near to “again take possession of Judah and to choose Jerusalem” —it will be imperative that we as Believers say “Hush!” (Hebrew: Hass! vs 13)to our flesh. Either we, in the power of the Holy Spirit, crucify it, or, as in the days of Noah, it will be our ruin.

*Genesis 6:14. “Make yourself an ark of gopher wood; make rooms [or nests] in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.” The English word “ark” is used here for Hebrew teva which means a box or case (the word is used for ‘mailbox’ in Israel today). It is the same as that used to shelter the baby Moses in Exodus 2:3 (The “Ark of the Covenant” uses a different Hebrew word).

There is much redemption pictured here. The very Hebrew word translated “cover” and “pitch” (kopher) is identical with the word for atonement. In I Peter 3:18-22 the apostle Peter pictures the ark as a type of our salvation in Yeshua, our consciences being baptized through His death and resurrection!

*Genesis 7:15. “They (the animals) came to Noah into the ark…of all flesh in which is the spirit of life”.

*Genesis 9:4a. “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs“. (NKJV). God is the One who has now “given” humankind meat to eat, as well as plants. We are to honour each man’s conscience before God with regard to personal decisions to eat or not eat meat (Romans 14). However, it is difficult to reconcile with this Scripture the teachings of some who hold that God’s ideal for humankind today is the meatless sustenance afforded them in Eden and before the Flood. That was a season which has been taken away and may not, we suspect, be returned until the final “revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19-25).

*Genesis 9:4b. “But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.”

The word usually translated “life” in Hebrew is chaim. Yet here, the word nephesh—“soul” is used—“But you shall not eat flesh with its soul, that is, its blood.”

This will be reiterated in Leviticus 17:13-14, “Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust; for it is the soul of all flesh. Its blood sustains its soul. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the soul of all flesh is its blood.”

In Genesis 2:7, “The LORD God formed man of the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life [i.e. chaim], and man became a living soul [i.e. nephesh]”. The animals also were called nephesh-chayah—“living souls” (1:24); they also were “formed by God” from the earth (2:19); but God did not release into them a creative act making them into His image as He did to the Man (1:26-27). So “soul” relates to a life-factor in the blood of living creatures—yet different in man from that in animals. We are not implying that the individual spirit of a human being is present in every drop of his blood. But blood carries life throughout the body, it is precious to the God of Life, and was not to be consumed as a nourishment-source for man. This is not just a prohibition under the Mosaic “Law” (Leviticus passage above); it was prohibited here to Noah and his descendants by God long before that Law, and it was prohibited for the Believing Body of Messiah (both Jew and Gentile) after the Lord’s return to heaven (Acts 15:20).

When Cain murdered Abel, the “voice of [his] brothers blood cried out” to God from the ground.

The soul that sins must die. All have sinned, so death reigns in the very blood-line of all children of Adam—Except for One. The Blood of the virgin-born Saviour, the “Second Adam”, Yeshua, was pure and without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Thus, it could “sprinkle many nations” (Isaiah 52:15) with a “sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel” (Hebrews 12:24). God made “His soul an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10)—and with the shedding of His blood, “He poured out His soul (nephesh) unto death” and “bore the sin of many” (53:12).

*Genesis 10:25. “To Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided…” The word may mean “split apart”, “broken away into sections.” Some have suggested that this may actually allude to a period in which certain of the continental shiftings discernible on modern-day maps took place. Which might explain why, for instance, the four rivers branching out from the large one coming out of Eden (Genesis 2:10-14) no longer appear to be in that same relation to each other. Some even suggest that before this shifting, Eden was itself located where Jerusalem is today…making the place where the “First Adam” sinned the place where that sin was atoned for in the death of the “Second Adam” Yeshua. It is interesting that Jewish tradition teaches that Adam and Eve are both buried in Hebron, only 30 km south of Jerusalem on the plot of land purchased by Abraham (Genesis 23) as a burial place for Sarah, and which eventually held Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah.

Haftarah:

This week’s reading from the prophet Isaiah is filled with God’s heart and merciful plan for His people Israel. Ask God to use these verses to help in your prayers. Pray that the souls of those who hear them read in synagogues this weekend will be quickened with divine revelation! Pray that Israel will know that she is loved, that she will be convicted of her sin and need for a Redeemer, that she will understand that the LORD Himself is her only Redeemer and that her righteousness comes from Him!

*Isaiah 54:5. “For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.” The God of all the earth has sovereignly chosen to identify Himself with the name He gave to his servant Jacob—Israel. Nations or religions which will not humble themselves to acknowledge this “identification” will find themselves standing against the very God of all nations and the universe itself.

*Isaiah 54:7-10. “‘For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,’ says the LORD, your Redeemer. ‘For this is like the waters of Noah to Me, For as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of shalom be removed,’ says the LORD who has mercy on you”.

*Isaiah 54:13-15. “All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me, whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.”

*Isaiah 54:17. “‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,’ says the LORD.”

*Isaiah 55:1-3. “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you—the sure mercies of David.”

[The readings for next week (22-28 October) are called Lekh Lekha—“Go Forth, Yourself!”. TORAH: Genesis 12:1—17:27; HAFTARAH: Isaiah 40:27—41:16.]

In A Nutshell

The portion, Noah, speaks of sinful people and the Creator, who brings a flood on the world. “Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generations” (Genesis, 6:9). This is why he was the one chosen to survive the flood.

But he did not survive alone. Rather, he was commanded to build an ark and move into it along with his kin, and pairs of all the animals, and to remain in the ark for forty days and forty nights until the flood stopped.

The Creator made a covenant with Noah and his family that the flood would never return. As a token of the covenant, He placed the rainbow in the sky.

The end of the portion speaks of the tower of Babel, about the people who decided to build a tower whose head reaches the heaven. The Creator decided to confuse their language so they would not understand one another, and then He dispersed them throughout the country.

Commentary

The portion, Noah, is long, intense, and contains many details and many events compared to other portions. As this portion takes place in the beginning of the Torah, it also marks the beginning of the spiritual path, the most important time in a person’s development.

These initial stages unfold quite quickly, unlike subsequent events, when one begins the actual corrections and corrects one’s qualities meticulously. Later on, the events are far more detailed, as we will see in the future events unfolding in the Torah.

Our development takes place entirely over our egotistical will to receive, which we must turn into bestowal. Today we are still in the midst of a process where the whole of humanity is to begin to work with its ego in the right connection between people. The work against the ego is always a big problem, and appears as waves of a great sea, called Malchut of Ein Sof (Malchut of infinity).

Each time, the ego surfaces more and more, and at first, a person does not know what to do, so the only option is to hide in a box, an ark. It is not merely an escape; it is a correction. A person builds a kind of bubble, the quality of bestowal, and hides in it from all of one’s terrible egotistical qualities, and this is how one advances.

All along the manifestation of the ego, in each and every detail, the person walks into the ark in which one adjusts one’s corrections in order to rise above one’s ego and to avoid using it. In the ark, the person disconnects from the surrounding world, where terrible things are happening, and the self-centered desires ferociously bang on the ark’s hull, attempting to pull a person into all sorts of places and directions, into the depths of the sea. And yet, the person remains in the ark, focused on the desire to remain in the quality of bestowal.

The stay in the ark lasts forty days and forty nights. This is the difference between Malchut and Bina, because the whole of Malchut, all the desires, are included in Bina. A person checks oneself using the crow, but the crow does not return an answer. The dove, however, does return an answer because it is from the side of Rachamim (mercy), from the right, from the side of peace.

When a person receives the answer that all of one’s desires are controlled by the quality of bestowal, it is a sign that one has passed the flood. It is an indication that all of one’s desires and qualities, which are called “one’s kin,” the family that is in the ark, have passed the first stage of correction, and are now able to continue with the corrections. The purpose of the whole process, this flow, is for a person to correct one’s egotistical, broken soul, into a state where it is in complete equivalence of form, in Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator, in pure bestowal.

When a person goes out to the air, to the dry land, the Creator says that He will make a covenant with the person, pertaining to everything that one is about to undergo. The covenant is for the future, when similar events might occur, so that one will know that one can use the forces one has used in the past.

The covenant testifies that we cannot correct ourselves and that we are compelled to use the same forces from the past. This is why we do not like the token of the rainbow in the sky. Let us assume that we are in a quarrel, and we remember that we used to be friends. Then, for the sake of the past relationship, we make peace again. Thus, the rainbow—the covenant—is not a good sign; it marks our entrance into a time of weakness, where further troubles are ahead, for which we will need it, because we will have to advance with it in any case.

Noah’s time is the beginning of the development of new times. There are ten generations from Adam to Noah, which are ten Sefirot, and there are ten generations (Sefirot) from Noah to Abraham. There are many qualities in a person that grow and come out until one recognizes one’s own egotistical qualities once more. It seems as though one forgets the qualities of bestowal that one was in while in the ark, and one can no longer cover them with Hassadim, the quality of Hesed (mercy) and with love of others, to be as one family as it was with Noah in the ark, when the whole world was as a family. At that time everyone was under the canopy of Hassadim, under a canopy of love, collaborating in mutual guarantee.

Now the egotistical desires are growing once more within a person and lead one back to Babel—a state where one sees one’s ego soaring, attempting to have everything and to control everything. The great egoist who controls the person is Nimrod, who is willing to do anything. Nimrod wants to know only the present and the future, and does not mind bowing to idols. He needs to control the person’s life; he does not want to be above, in the quality of bestowal, but only in the quality of reception, as we can see in our world today.

Everything that happened at that time had to happen because of the rule, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice” (Kidushin, 30b), because “the light in it reforms them.” In other words, we need to discover the evil in us, and from that revelation of evil we will discover its antidote, since we will not want to remain in the evil. This is why we need to obtain the light that reforms, the special light that the wisdom of Kabbalah tells us how to obtain so we may correct ourselves with it.

All the stories of the Torah prior to Noah’s time, such as that of Cain and Abel, describe the intensification of the ego. We learn about it from The Zohar, which tells us about the true meaning of the stories of the Torah. The Zohar tells us openly about what is implied in the Torah. It reveals to us what hides behind every human story, and what the Torah actually narrates. It is with good reason that the wisdom of Kabbalah is called the “wisdom of truth.”

The Torah speaks of our souls, about how we must bring it out of hiding. We must discover the soul on all the degrees of its Aviut, at every stage of its shattering, and we must correct it. Within the corrected soul, we must feel our spiritual lives and remain in them, as it is written, “You will see your world in your life” (Berachot, 17a). We must discover the spiritual world, the Creator, the “me” that is found in the spiritual world, and we must do it here and now, while we are in this world.

However, to enter the next world we must first discover our broken soul. In this process, the soul grows on the left line. This means that over the ten generations from Adam to Noah, great desires of the will to receive develop in it. At the stage in which we finish with the left line—following the Creator’s decision—the right line comes along and begins to correct the left. The left line is the corrupted, broken Malchut, while the right line is the quality of Bina, the qualities of bestowal, qualities of love, giving, and mercy.

Subsequently, ten new generations arrive, the ten Sefirot from Noah to Abraham—intended to correct the previous generations from Adam to Noah—meaning ten Sefirot of Ohr Yashar and ten Sefirot of Ohr Hozer. Abraham comes after those twenty generations and receives the beginning of the soul at a level where he can already understand and recognize the purpose. This is why he breaks the statues and begins to fight against his own big ego, which appears to him as Nimrod, as Babylon. With Nimrod on the left, and Abraham on the right, a person begins to fight for the correction of the soul.

All these names and incidents describe what happens to the soul of each of us. The Torah speaks of what each one should go through, and we gradually discover how we actually go through those stages.

Is a flood a bad thing? Today, words such as “tsunami” and “flood” arouse terror.

It is bad in spirituality, too. A flood implies “evil waters,” Gevurot. Water is essentially Hassadim, but when connected to an ego that controls it, it becomes dangerous water.

In this story, as well as in the story of the tower of Babel, we learn that the Creator decided to confuse the people; He caused them to sin, and then seemingly punished them.

Of course, nothing happens without Him, “there is none else besides Him.” What matters is how one reacts, accepts, and partakes in what is happening. In each situation, we must be His partners, and understand His works. It is like a mother playing with her baby. The mother wants the baby to understand her and play with her as she is playing with her baby. Therefore, of course the Creator is behind the whole process, but the question is whether a person knows how to react to it correctly at each moment.

Can we react like that baby?

If we look at babies, we will see that they are never at rest. They are constantly striving to grasp the world, examining and learning from it. Childhood is the time of building the man, the time of man’s corrections. After age twenty, everyone begins to grow old and dwindle.

The phases one goes through—the evil water, Noah, and Abraham—put one in terrible restlessness. But in the end everyone will have to go through it.

We go through all those stages in order to correct the soul within us. The whole Torah, from “In the beginning” to “Israel,” is written for us, so that we will experience it in our inner work. When we correct the soul, we enter the next world.

What is Noah’s Ark, and how does one enter it?

The ark is the quality of Bina. We are told how Bina is built, what are her qualities, how the Sefirot, GAR of Bina and ZAT of Bina, connect—meaning the first three Sefirot, Keter, Hochma, and Bina, and then the seven lower Sefirot, Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod, and Malchut. We are also told about the three parts of Bina—the one that belongs to the upper one, the one that belongs to Bina herself, and the one that belongs to the lower ones. Bina is a quality that receives from above, and builds herself in order to pass on downward, like a mother who receives from the father and turns what she received into something suitable for the baby.

What does being in Bina mean?

Being in Bina means receiving the upper illumination. Everything comes from the influence of the upper light, and we cannot find it by ourselves or within ourselves. A person who receives this illumination from within feels that he is inside a special force, that the ego cannot harm or deflect one from the path. The person is completely protected there, as though one is in a bubble, in a box. It is still not attainment, since the person is inside the box like a baby in the womb, but then it opens the womb and the person is born.

Once a person is born, he or she discovers that the ego has grown tremendously. This is already the time of Babylon. In the state of Babylon, Nimrod and Abraham grow within.

Initially, Abraham is controlled by Nimrod. But when he sees that his ego is working against him and he must break free, Abraham exits Nimrod’s authority and tries to establish his quality of Hesed as the ruler of the ego. Although he cannot currently do it, since he must disconnect himself from it, he escapes and turns toward the land of Canaan.

What does the tower of Babylon stand for then and now?

The tower of Babel is the ego that appears in us, smothering us and not allowing us live. On the one hand there is Nimrod, who wants to grow as high as the sky; on the other hand there is Abraham, who sees it is impossible.

In that state, they part ways: the majority of the qualities follow the ego, with Nimrod, and the qualities that can be cut off from the “cake” of the tower of Babel—and be corrected by Abraham—are Abraham’s qualities, which a person begins to correct. These qualities join the journey toward the land of Canaan, in the partial correction of the soul.

Today, nearly 4,000 years later, we—the “descendants of Abraham” and the “descendents of Nimrod”—are reassembling to create a joint connection. We have built the tower of Babel once again, being the global financial and economic empire, and while on the one hand everything is falling apart, on the other, we, the “descendants of Abraham,” are trying to do something to correct it. So far, however, no one is listening.

Today we have no choice because we are past the whole process that The Book of Zohar details. We must complete the correction, and now Abraham must govern Babylon, the ego.

Today the world’s powers do not think about changing man, only about changing the economic and financial systems in a way that will only satisfy the ego even more. They do not think beyond it, not even as it was at the time of Noah—entering a bubble of mutual bestowal and avoiding contact with the ego. They do not think of ceasing the wars and the competition because their only interest is to profit out of it. To date, none of them are ready to listen, since the financial system is a projection of our egotistical connections, hence all the crises along the way. All we can do is learn a great deal from it.

The current crisis is the last one because it describes the totality of the egotistical connections between us, which are about to break down. The message of unity can be circulated when many people talk about the crisis and its cause. It is possible that this period will end well, but it is also possible that it will decline into a war; it depends on the people on Abraham’s side.

So we are the “addition” to the tower of Babel?

We belong to Abraham’s group, the one that left Babylon and moved with Abraham to the land of Canaan. The others, the egoists, belong to the group that came from Nimrod, from Babylon. We must go through this period of the last recognition of evil, which is the war of Gog and Magog, after which we will achieve the final correction of the common soul.

Does the confusion of the languages mark the collapse of the financial system?

The confusion of the languages has been here since Babylon and until now because the singular, great ego shattered into myriad pieces, to all its inclinations, and each part leans and pulls to itself. The external manifestation of it is the confusion of the languages.

And the Lord Smelled the Sweet Savor

“After the flood, ‘I will not again,’ since now the revelation of the evil has been completed, for I no longer need to add fire to disclose the Din (judgment), for the evil has been revealed sufficiently. ‘For the inclination in a man’s heart is evil from his youth,’ and he must not be scolded, and all of the Creator’s punishments are but corrections.”

Zohar for All, Noah, item 243

“And all of the Creator’s punishments are but corrections.” If a person truly relates to life this way, and wishes to discover that everything happens for the purpose of correction, one should only know how to take part, how to make oneself part of this flow, even if just a little, in order to suddenly discover a spiritual life, filled with abundance.

‏This Week’s Torah Portion | October 08 – October 14, 2017 – 18 Tishrei – 24 Tishrei, 5778

Beresheet (In The Beginning) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

TORAH : GENESIS 1:1-6:8

PROPHETS : ISAIAH 42:5-43:10

GOSPEL : JOHN 1:1-18

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 NEW CYCLE BEGINS!

This weekend the cycle through the Torah begins anew. This first reading is called Beresheet—“In the Beginning”.

TORAH:

*Genesis 1:1-5.  “In the beginning Elohim (English: God) created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then Elohim said, “Let there be light; and there was light. And Elohim saw the light, that it was good; and Elohim divided the light from the darkness. Elohim called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.”

As we open to the first chapter of this divinely–breathed (II Timothy 3:16) book, ELOHIM—GOD is simply there–creating. The SPIRIT of God is there (vs 2).. And as God speaks, His living WORD is there (Vs 3; John 1:1). Elohim is a Hebrew word translated into English God. It is a plural word, which could be translated “gods” or “exalted beings”—yet, when referring to the Hebrew God Who is over all, it is always accompanied with a singular verb.

*Genesis 1:3. “God said: ‘Let there be light!’ And there was light.” The Scriptures do not say that God “created” light (God Himself is light, I John 1:5). Rather, He spoke it forth—“Be light!”—and it was released into His creation! John 1:1-9 speaks of Yeshua as being God’s Word, in whom was life “which is the light for men”.

There are a number of words used for God’s actions during these early “beginnings” chapters: creating (from nothing that is seen, Hebrews 11:3); making; building; fashioning or shaping (out of something already created); working (Interestingly, for bringing into being the “adam” (man) in His image, both the acts of creating and fashioning are used (Genesis 1:2, 2:7)..

*Genesis 1:5. “And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” Today, in Israel all days for religious observance (such as the Sabbath or feast days) are reckoned from sundown the evening before rather than sunrise.

*Genesis 2:3. “And on the seventh day Elohim ended His creative work which He had done, and He ceased on the seventh day from all His creative work which He had done. Then Elohim blessed the seventh day and sanctified it (Hebrew: “made it holy”), because in it He ceased from all His creative work which Elohim had created and made”. It is significant that the first place in Scripture in which we see God making something “holy” or “set apart” is here in relation to the seventh day of the week when He shabbat—“ceased working”.

*Genesis 1:27. “So God created man in His image, in the image of Elohim He created him; masculine and feminine He created them.” “Man” in Hebrew is adam. In Genesis 2:7, we are shown that Elohim formed the adam out of adamah—“earth” (which, in turn, is adomah—“reddish in color”). The modern-day Hebrew term for “human being” is still benei-adam—“son (or child) of adam.” From this passage it is clear that God, although always referred to in the masculine gender, bears, nevertheless, within His nature both the masculine and feminine which is transferred into the nature of those created “in His image”.

By the end of Chapter 3 that image is marred and what had received the breath of life is, because of sin, already dying. In 4:1 the man and woman have begun to reproduce, and realize that their Creator and the One through whom this new life comes has a name, YHVH (Yehovah, “The LORD”). Their sons bring offerings to this YHVH (4:3). Yet it will be many generations before Humankind comes to know and use that Name in a personal and intimate sense (Exodus 3:15b; 6:2-3).

In Genesis 4:8 murder is committed, and Abel, a good man whose sacrifice pleased God, becomes the first man to die. It is notable that Abel’s name in the Hebrew is spelled the same as the Hebrew word for “vapor” or “vanity” (This word both begins and permeates the book of Ecclesiastes which we have been reading during the feast of Succot.). Life is but a vapour which is here and passes away; the lives of Abel the good and that of Cain the wicked are both temporary.

*Genesis 2:24. “Therefore a man (Hebrew: ish) shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his woman (Hebrew: isha), and they shall become one flesh” (NKJV).

Here the Creator lays out clearly right at the beginning and for all time His ordained order for his human creatures’ being joined together in what we call marriage (His Son, the Messiah Yeshua, would corroborate it in Matthew 19:4-6). Attempting to become ‘one flesh’ in any other kind of relationship besides “man and woman” steps outside of this ordained order, and is strictly forbidden for all humankind (Leviticus 18:22-23; 20:13,15; Romans 1:26-27). The holy alternative “for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven” is celibacy (Matthew 19:12).

*Genesis 4:26. “And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Ehnosh.”

It was perhaps with an awareness of the death of his brother Abel, as well as of the sin-sickness obviously at work in his eldest brother Cain that Seth chose to name his first son Ehnosh. Ehnosh is often translated into English “man” (Psalm 8:4, “What is man (ehnosh) that You are mindful of him, and the son of man (ben-adam) that you visit him?”). The most-used word for “people” is anashim—a plural of enosh. But at its root, the word more literally means “mortal”. Just as English “mortal” has to do with that within man which dies (“mortuary” is related to that word), so ehnosh has within it a reference to the fallen effect of sin in the children of Adam. Ehnush, a word using the same Hebrew letters, appears in Jeremiah 17:9 where it says that the heart is deceitful above all things and “desperately wicked” (NJKV), “desperately sick” (ESV and NAS), “beyond cure” (NIV).

By Genesis 6 the earth is corrupted through sinful man in conjunction with rebellious angelic beings. “Then YHVH saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…So YHVH said, ‘I will destroy the man (Hebrew: the adam) whom I have created from the face of the earth’ (Hebrew: the adamah).

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD!”

(6:5,7a, 8)

To “find grace in the eyes of” is an expression which is still common in Modern Hebrew, meaning “to bring pleasure to.”

PLEASE PRAY: that today, when “as it was in the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37), we are faced with a rapidly rising darkness of evil on the earth, there will also arise, not one, but a multitude of latter-day “Noah’s”—who will bring pleasure to their LORD, who will “walk with God”, who will “find grace in His eyes.” The English translation of a popular Hebrew worship song, written some years ago by an Israeli Messianic teenager reads:

Come Spirit, Come Spirit, Come today

The Desire of my heart is to find grace in your eyes

The desire of my soul is to be more like you

Come God, Dwell within me, Make me pure

Focus my eyes on what pleases You that I may be devoted to You

HAFTARAH:

*Isaiah 42:5-7. “Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it: ‘I, YHVH, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house.’”

*Isaiah 43:1-3b. “But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk throu8gh the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.”

*Isaiah 43:5-7. “Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west; I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’ Bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.’”

*Isaiah 43:10. “‘You are my witnesses,’ says the LORD, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me.’”

[The readings for next week (15-21 October) are called Noach—“Noah”. TORAH: Genesis 6:9—11:32; HAFTARAH: Isaiah 54:1—55:5. Since 21 October is Rosh Hodesh–the beginning of the Eighth Month (Cheshvan), some Synagogues will close with a reading from Isaiah 66:1-24.]

In A Nutshell

Beresheet (In the Beginning) is the first portion in the Torah (Pentateuch). It tells the story of the creation of the world in six days, and the rest on the seventh day. It talks about the creation of the man, his arrival at the Garden of Eden, and the creation of the woman. The portion also narrates the story of the sin of the tree of knowledge, Cain and Abel, the generations from Cain to Lamech, the ten generations from Adam to Noah, the corruption that engulfed their generations, and the renewed hope that emerged with the birth of Noah.

 Commentary

Beresheet contains more stories than any other portion in the Torah. In many ways it is also the deepest of the portions, as it discusses the basis of our being—the creation of the soul.

The common soul was created out of the will to receive delight and pleasure, or simply, “the will to receive.” That will is the soul’s core, and it’s affected by six qualities: HesedGevuraTifferetNetzahHod, and Yesod. These qualities penetrated the substance—the will to receive—and designed it in synchrony with the upper force, the Creator. The reason why man is called Adam is that the word Adam comes from the word Adamah, from the verse, Adameh la Elyon (“I will be like the most high,” Isaiah, 14:14), since he is similar to the Creator, the sublime bestowal, sublime love, to that upper force that gave birth to it.

Adam is the structure of the soul that is equal in form to the Creator and is in Dvekut [adhesion] with Him in the Garden of Eden. A garden means “desire.” The garden is the part of the creature, Adam’s substance—the will to receive. Eden marks the degree of bestowal, degree of Bina. Adam, who is on the degree of Bina, is in the Garden of Eden.

This does not pertain to our world or to the universe we know, but rather to the common soul that the Creator created. From the very beginning, the common soul undergoes a special preparation, the sin, because at its inception it was adhered to the upper force, which means that it had no authority of its own, nothing to its name, or any sense of independent existence. In a sense it is like an embryo in its mother’s womb—on the one hand it exists, on the other hand it is part of its mother, and each of its actions is ruled by its superior.

Such is the structure of the soul. While it is in the Garden of Eden, the place itself does not permit independence. Independence means that a person is beyond someone’s control, a state of being ready to assume self-control. The structure of the soul is the creature, the created being. The word Nivrah (creature) comes from the word Bar (outside). In order to allow the structure of the soul to actually become a creature, it must be taken out, removed from the Creator. Put differently, it must be made opposite from the Creator, and this oppositeness is obtained through the sin.

Explaining the Sin

The soul consists of two forces—Cain and Abel. Abel wants to exist by raising the Hevel (breath/vapor), meaning the Reflected Light, or bestowal. Cain is the opposite, wanting to draw all the pleasures, all the lights, inward, into the soul. Cain—the quality that draws the pleasure, the light to itself and not for the sake of the Creator—draws it until Abel, the desire to bestow, disappears. This act is called “Cain’s killing of Abel.”

The Kli (vessel) of the soul that receives light not for the sake of the Creator shatters into pieces—bits of self-centered desires. Each such desire is an individual soul that becomes enveloped in a wrapping that is similar to a Klipa (shell/peel). During the formation process of the broken souls, additional falls and descents occur along the spiritual degrees to the point where we are here in this world, each of us having a part of the single, common soul that was created.

It is precisely because we are detached from one another by our egos, immersed in the will to receive instead of in the will to bestow, that we now have an opportunity to correct. Because in the past we were already corrected, today we can begin to correct the ruin and sin that took place in the past. Although we aren’t the ones who committed the sin, within us, in our souls, is a preparation for a state that enables us to carry out the correction.

This correction is called “repentance,” constituting a return to precisely the state in which we were in the Garden of Eden. We must hurry and achieve that state because the whole world is already moving toward connection. This process that the world is going through is moving us toward unity, connection, and the perception of ourselves as a single soul. Thus, when we are all in bestowal and mutual love, we will succeed in returning to the structure, the state we maintained prior to the sin.

This Week Torah Portion – Sukkot

D’varim/Deuteronomy 16:15   … for the L-rd your G-d will bless you in all your produce and the work of your hands and you will be nothing but joyful.

The great feast of Sukkot, known in the Jewish tradition simply as “the feast” comes at the end of the autumn holy days, a seven day semi-holiday with a full shabbat at each end and immediately followed by Shemini Atzeret, the Eighth Day Assembly and Simchat Torah, the Rejoicing with the Torah, when we wind the scrolls back and symbolically read the first verses of B’resheet while dancing round the synagogue and taking it in turns to carry the scrolls. That’s the most fun the Torah scrolls get each year! During Sukkot we live, as much as we can allowing for geographic variation, in the sukkah that each family build, eating our meals there and rejoicing at

The Name …

HaShem: literally, Hebrew for ‘The Name‘ – an allusion used to avoid pronouncing the Tetragrammaton, the so-called ‘ineffable’ name of G–d

HaShem’s goodness and blessings to us. What with seven days of singing, telling stories, eating the special harvest food, drinking and dancing, we have a blast! In between studying the Torah and visiting our neighbours’ sukkot, we even find time for a few drinks! The festival to end all festivals, this is a time of such great joy that the ancient rabbis gave it the name Z’man Simchateynu, the time of our rejoicing. Gunther Plaut points out that the first phrase of verse 14 and the last phrase of verse 15 (and our text) have been joined together to make a traditional Israeli folk song: “And you shall rejoice in your feast and be nothing but joyful”.

So if we are surrounded by the bounty of the harvest and HaShem’s many blessings, why does our text tell us to be “nothing but joyful”? In true rabbinic fashion, there is disagreement over whether this is a command or a promise; are we being commanded to be joyful, or are we promised that we shall be joyful?

Who Is …

Rashi: Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105 CE), French rabbi who wrote commentaries on the Torah, the Prophets and the Talmud, lived in Troyes where he founded a yeshiva in 1067; focuses on the plain meaning (p’shat) of the text, although sometimes quite cryptic in his brevity

Rashi starts the ball rolling, with his assertion that “according to its simple meaning, this is not an expression of a command, but rather, the expression of a promise.” Avigdor Bonchek, a modern interpreter and apologist for Rashi1 asks, “How does Rashi know this is a promise and not a command? How do we know it is ‘you will be joyful’ and not ‘you shall be joyful’?” He offers two answers; firstly that whenever the Torah says , the Qal affix 2ms form of the root , to be, with a leading vav-reversive prefix to make it future tense, it is always a promise. He cites a number of proof-texts, “You shall be the father of a multitude of nations” (B’resheet 17:4, JPS), “May El Shaddai bless you, make you fertile and numerous, so that you become an assembly of peoples” (28:3, JPS) and “You will be driven mad by the sights you will see” (D’varim 28:34, NJB).

Bonchek’s second answer starts with question: “How can we be commanded to be joyful?” Joy is an emotion, he reasons, and emotions cannot be commanded. But two of the earlier verses in this same block of text – “You shall rejoice before the L-RD your G-d” (16:11, JPS) and “You shall rejoice in your festival” (16:14, JPS) – do seem to do exactly that, telling us where and when to rejoice. They specify “before HaShem” and “on your holiday/festival”, so Bonchek proposes that these are commands to behave joyfully, before HaShem in Jerusalem at the feast of Sukkot. So the promise of the emotion follows the commanded behaviour. Rashi and Bonchek agree: it is a promise of joy.

Who Is …

Abraham Ibn Ezra: (1089-1167 CE), born in Tudela, Spain; died in the South of France after wandering all around the shores of the Mediterranean and England; a philosopher, astronomer, doctor, poet and linguist; wrote a Hebrew grammar and a commentary on the Bible

Ibn Ezra disagrees. He says that, “It is in fact a commandment to have joy on the Feast of Sukkot. The meaning of the word is that you should do nothing else but rejoice.” Then, almost as an afterthought, he concedes, “but some suggest that the verb is simply a future tense, marking another result of the L-rd’s blessing – that you will always have nothing but joy.”

Ovadiah

Who Is …

Sforno: Rabbi Ovadiah Sforno (1470-1550 CE), Italian rabbi, philosopher and physician; born in Cesena, he went to Rome to study medicine; left in 1525 and after some years of travel, settled in Bologna where he founded a yeshiva which he conducted until his death

Sforno also picks up on the word : “you will have a bountiful harvest and the needy will have many gifts – you will be only joyful and no sorrow will intermingle with your joy.” The note explains that the word denotes a limitation and asks, “What is the Torah limiting? HaShem assures us that the festival will be limited to joy exclusively, without any intermingling of grief or sorrow.” It is sorrow or other things that would detract from our joy that are to be limited. Jeffrey Tigay seems to echo that, pointing to the “the sweep of the promise: all your crops … all your undertakings … nothing but joy. The totality of the blessing explains why the celebrating is to last a full seven days.”

Rabbi Moshe Hefetz2 is worried that too much rejoicing without a good measure of Torah study will lead to idleness and sin: “Idleness is a source of evil-doing and sin. But these festivals were given to Israel for the express purpose of being devoted to the study of the Torah. But this can only be well done in an atmosphere of rejoicing, not in one of sadness and depression. This mixture of work and study is the type of rejoicing in which there is no sin. This is the meaning of the phrase ‘for the L-rd your G-d shall bless you … in all the work of your hands and you shall be altogether joyful’, implying that you should indeed work and not be idle and then you will be really joyful, with a true joy and inspired by the right purpose.”

Rabbi

Who Is …

Hirsch: Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888 CE), German rabbi, author and educator; staunch opponent of the Reform movement in Germany and one of the fathers of Orthodox Judaism

Hirsch draws a distinction between being joyful and simply rejoicing: “‘Being joyful’ is of a higher order than ‘rejoicing’. The latter is temporary, a moment of experience; the former is a trait of character, a permanent nature of existence and extends beyond the festival into ordinary life. One can certainly have harvest festivals among the barns and wine-presses, but joy is to be found only when leaving the barn and wine-presses and gathering around HaShem and His Torah. This is the true real joy of living which accompanies you through your life.” By this measure, joy should be in our hearts throughout the year, not just at times of the festivals and their rejoicing. We are given shabbat each week and the festivals around the calendar to “top up” our joy, but joy is to be found in the presence of the L-rd and He is available twenty four hours of every day of the year.

The Greek Scriptures also use the word ‘joy’ quite frequently. The choir of angels announced Yeshua’s birth to the shepherds on the hills outside Bethlehem with “good news of great joy” (Luke 2:10, ESV) and when the magi saw the star over the house where Yeshua was, “they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (Matthew 2:10, ESV). Yeshua emphasised that keeping His commandments was the way for the disciples to remain in relationship with Him, reminding them that He told them this “that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11, ESV). They would have times of sorrow but, their “sorrow will turn into joy” (16:20, ESV); “your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (v. 22, ESV).

Notice, however, how Rav Sha’ul compares the physical with the spiritual: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17, ESV). Important though keeping the feast of Sukkot is, with its eating and drinking, its dancing and studying, its remembering the past and blessing G-d for the way He has preserved our people until this day – and that is important – the kingdom of G-d is found in the indwelling of the Ruach, the Spirit of Messiah within us. As human beings we must eat and drink, and mealtimes are a hugely important venue for spreading and sharing the kingdom; nevertheless, people will neither enter nor grow in the kingdom of G-d simply by eating and drinking. They will not find true joy, lasting peace or real righteousness in food or drink, no matter how lavish and plentiful. The meals and the festivals simply provide a context and an opportunity for sharing the good news to which the festivals point. It is the good news that brings joy!

We know that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23, ESV), placing joy second in the list after love. Joy needs to grow in us as, by the power and grace of the Spirit, we engage in the presence of G-d and the activities of the kingdom. One of those activities is most certainly rejoicing – that is, “rejoicing before the L-rd” and “rejoicing on your festival” – during the festival of Sukkot, fully entering in to the various mitzvot of dwelling in the sukkah, taking the lulav and etrog (the four species mentioned in Vayikra 23:40), but the lasting joy that wells up inside us, the fountains of living water, come from knowing Yeshua and trusting in Him. He alone can bring fruit to bear in our lives as His Spirit guides and directs us.

Hag Sukkot Sameach b’Yeshua!

1. – Avigdor Bonchek, “What’s Bothering Rashi“, Volume 5, Devarim, New York, Feldheim, 2002

2. – Rabbi Moshe Hefetz (1663-1711) was an Italian rabbi and commentator who worked as a private tutor in Venice. Wrote a Torah commentary called Melekhet Machshevet, which engages with philosophy and science.

Further Study: Habakkuk 3:17-18; Isaiah 5:12-13; Romans 5:2-5

Application: Do you sometimes get lost in the rejoicing so that you lose sight of Yeshua? Or do you worry that Yeshua wouldn’t approve of so much rejoicing? Ask the Spirit to strike a new balance for you this year and show you His real joy in the midst of the rejoicing!

Originally published and all credits are given to :

http://www.messianictrust.org.uk/parashiyot/sk-14.php