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June 26, 2019

VaYishlach (And Jacob Sent) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

VaYishlach2

Genesis, 32:4-36:43
This Week’s Torah Portion |Jun 23 – Jun 29, 2019 – 20 Sivan – 26 Sivan, 5779

In A Nutshell

In the portion, VaYishlach (And Jacob Sent), Jacob wants to make peace with Esau after running away from him and being with Laban for many years. Esau sends angels to Jacob, and they inform him that Esau is headed toward him with four hundred men.

Jacob is alarmed by the looming encounter, and at night, an angel appears before him. Jacob struggles with it and defeats it, but is hurt in the thigh sinew. The angels alert Jacob that his name has changed as of that moment from Jacob to Israel. When Esau comes, they embrace and make peace, and Jacob moves to the area of Shechem.

Later, the portion speaks of Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, who is abducted by Shechem—the son of Hamor, the Hivite—who wants to marry her. Jacob’s sons allow the marriage on condition that all the men in the city perform circumcision. Once they perform the circumcision, Jacob’s sons kill all the men, bring Dinah back, and loot the city.

The Creator instructs Jacob to move to Beit El, where the Creator blesses Jacob with many descendants and the inheritance of the land. At the end of the portion Rachel dies when she delivers her second son, Benjamin. Isaac also dies and is buried by his sons, Esau and Jacob.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

This portion deals with very deep scrutinies that one makes within the soul in order to correct it from the intention to receive, from its egotistical form. We need these scrutinies for the soul because it was broken in a process known as “the breaking of the vessels,” the ruin.

Once a person achieves the degree of Jacob, which is still a degree of Katnut (infancy), a person discovers that it is impossible to move forward. Having risen above the ego, above the will to receive, and having reached a state of Katnut, called Galgalta and Eynaim, leaves one nothing with which to advance. In order to advance, one must find within oneself additional inclinations, additional broken Kelim (vessels). Upon their correction, the person will be able to rise along with them. In other words, whenever we are in a certain state, we must first descend, mingle with the negative, and only then rise to the positive.

The portion speaks of precisely that state. That is, a person who reaches Jacob’s state and cannot advance further must reconnect with the Esau within—the evil inclination that is still not corrected. Such a person heads toward it despite fearing that the egotistical desire might suddenly overpower, that perhaps he or she will not be able to come out of that state.

This calls for a special preparation. The text narrates that Jacob divides everything, the women, the children, and all the people with him. In other words, one sets one’s desires straight, arranging all of one’s qualities in an internal preparation for the disclosure of the flaws within, in order to properly cope with them.

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BeHa’alotcha (When You Raise the Candles) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

BeHaalotcha

Numbers 8:1-12:16

This Week’s Torah Portion | Jun 16 – Jun 22, 2019 – 13 Sivan – 19 Sivan, 5779

In A Nutshell

The portion, BeHa’alotcha (When You Raise the Candles), takes place a year after the reception of the Torah. The people of Israel is getting ready to journey and holds a special ceremony for the inauguration of the altar. The portion details the laws concerning making the offering of Second Passover for those who were far and could take part in Passover.

The portion speaks of the tabernacle, on which there was constantly a cloud. It is an indication to the children of Israel when they must rise and journey, and when they must settle down. The portion also tells of the two silver trumpets that were used to assemble the people at times of war, when making an offerings, on Sabbaths, festivals, and special occasions.

Toward the end of the portion, several events take place that point to the heightening of the ego. The wicked in the nation complain about Moses and the Creator, and a consuming fire is sent to the wicked at the camp’s edge. The rabble, who is a group of proselytes that joined the children of Israel upon their exit from Egypt, complains about their condition, and the Creator showers quails on the camp. Anyone who jumps on the quails voluptuously is put to death. This is why the place is called “the graves of voluptuousness.”

The end of the portion talks about Miriam—Moses’ and Aaron’s sister—slandering Moses. She says to Aaron, “The Creator appeared to me, as well as to you, so why is Moses the leader? Why are we listening only to him?” She is punished for it with leprosy, and the nation waits for seven days until she returns.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

All the events are spiritual states within us. Each person needs to correct him or her self and achieve equivalence of form with the Creator, as it is written, “Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God” (Hosea 14:2). The text speaks only about correction. It is not about having to cross the desert and reach the Jordan River, cross it, and reach the land of Israel. Rather, it is about ascending, as in BeHaalotcha (When You Raise).

Ascending refers to building the soul. Each of us builds his or her soul. We gradually build the soul—called “a portion of God from above” (Job 31:2). One begins the spiritual work, wanting to build oneself and achieve bestowal and love of others, connection with everyone, because by these acts one becomes similar to the Creator, as it is written, “From the love of man to the love of God,”[1] from loving of people to loving the Creator.

We achieve the love in stages, although we hate it because we are the complete opposite of it. These are the stages described in all the portions. To begin with, the Torah speaks only about a person receiving the spark called the “point in the heart.” With that spark we begin to correct ourselves. The Torah describes the way we go until the end of correction, through what is called “in the sight of all Israel” (Deuteronomy 34:12), through the end of the Torah (Pentateuch).

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Nasso (Take) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Naso

Numbers 4:21-7:89

This Week’s Torah Portion | Jun 9 – Jun 15, 2019 – 6 Sivan – 12 Sivan, 5779

In A Nutshell

The portion describes the children of Israel’s preparations to set out on a journey from Mount Sinai to the land of Israel. The bulk of the work revolves around the tabernacle. The census in the tribe of Levi continues, and there is a description of the distribution of duties between the families of Levi, Gershon, Kohat, and Merari. The Creator gives an order to send the impure people outside the camp as preparation for the inauguration of the tabernacle.

Afterward the portion narrates different situations in which the people need the help of the priests and the tabernacle. The incidents are connected to negative acts such as stealing, a person swearing in the name of the Creator in vain and must offer a sacrifice, and a woman who strayed and is suspected of committing adultery and is therefore brought to the priest. There are also positive incidents, such as the story of the hermit, detailing the laws that a person who makes a vow takes upon himself, and the blessing of the priests, the blessing that the priests bless the people.

The end of the portion discusses the gifts of the presidents and the great celebration—the inauguration of the tabernacle. The portion ends with the conclusion of the preparations, when the people of Israel can set out to the land of Israel.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The Torah speaks only about our soul and how we should correct it. We do not correct the body because the body is an animal and acts according to its nature. We must reinstate the “portion of God from above” (Job 31:2); this is the soul.

We do it as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice”[1] because “the light in it reforms.”[2] When we begin to connect to others under the condition, “love your neighbor as yourself,”[3] we find how repelling we find this act. We do not want to see anyone, only use them for our own benefit.

This is our nature, as the Creator said, “I have created the evil inclination.” However, the more we study and try to draw closer to each other, and discover how utterly impossible it is, the more we feel our nature as bad, as ill will, evil inclination. Then we need a means to correct it, and this is the light that reforms.

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BaMidbar (In the Desert) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

BAmitbar

Numbers,  1:1-4:20

This Week’s Torah Portion | Jun 2 – Jun 8, 2019 – 28 Lyar – 5 Sivan, 5779

In A Nutshell

The portion, BaMidbar (In the Desert), begins with the Creator commanding the children of Israel by tribes to bring men who had served in the army and were at least twenty years old, and appoint them as heads of tribes and presidents. Following the nomination, Moses is requested to explain to them where each tribe should be during the journey and while stopping in the desert, how to arrange themselves by tribes and banners according to the four directions, with the tabernacle in the middle.

The portion reiterates the role of the Levites, who are to serve in the tabernacle. The tribe of Levi is special because it has no place or lot of its own; it is to serve everyone and help everyone, especially the priests in the tabernacle. The role of the Levites is to assemble and disassemble the tabernacle at each stop during the journey of the children of Israel. They must follow strict rules that explain what to do with each part of the tabernacle and how to keep the vessels of the tabernacle.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The Torah is divided into two parts: external and internal. The external Torah is the one we read and know. It is the Torah that our fathers (ourselves in previous incarnations, since our souls reincarnate from generation to generation) observed in the past. However, there are things to sort in it. The Torah describes the journey of the children of Israel in the desert and how they should conduct themselves there. It details how to build the tabernacle, divide into priests, Levites, and tribes, how to set up the camp, and how to continue the journey where each one moves from place to place under the tribe’s banner up to the boundaries of the land of Israel and the onset of its conquest.

The inner Torah is actually the main thing. Through it we correct and adjust ourselves internally in order to discover that upper force from which we receive the Torah in actual fact. That is, it is about revealing the Creator to the creatures. Here we are talking about man as a small world, where all that is described in the Torah—priests, Levites, Israel, and the twelve tribes—is within us as replications. The inner Torah touches each of us and instructs us what we must do in order to discover the upper force here and now.

One who has not corrected him or herself is certainly immersed in the ego, the evil inclination, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice.”[1] That state is called a “desert.” The sensation of the desert is the place of the Klipot (shells/peels), meaning uncorrected desires. While in that feeling we have nothing to revive us, to give us spiritual life. Even if we have material abundance we still feel that we are in the desert.

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BeHukotai (In My Statutes) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

BeHukotai

Leviticus, 26:3-27:34

This Week’s Torah Portion | May 26 – Jun 1, 2019 – 21 Lyar – 27 Lyar, 5779

In A Nutshell

The portion, BeHukotai (In My Statutes), deals primarily with the topic of reward and punishment for the children of Israel according to their behavior—whether they follow the ways of the Creator. It is written, “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and do them” (Leviticus, 26:3). The portion begins with presenting the reward: “Then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit” (Leviticus, 26:4). Opposite that is the presentation of the punishment: “But if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments” (Leviticus, 26:14), “I will appoint terror over you: the tuberculosis and the malaria,” (Leviticus, 26:16), and the worst punishment of all—exile.

If the people of Israel repent, the Creator promises to remember the covenant He has made with them and forgive them. It is written, “Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God” (Leviticus, 26:44). The portion ends with additional laws concerning vows, ostracism, tithing, and others.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The issue of reward and punishment was not presented at the beginning of the Torah because it is impossible to understand it unless you are able to make free choice. Without this ability it is pointless to instructions on this issue. First you must learn the laws and judgments. Then, if you keep them you will be rewarded, and if not, you will be punished. You cannot punish in advance. First one needs to reach the spiritual degree of shifting from unfounded hatred to brotherly love, to “love your neighbor as yourself,”[1] which is the whole Torah. This is the way we must walk: we must correct our evil inclination and turn it into a good inclination through the light that reforms[2], by studying the wisdom of Kabbalah, the wisdom of light.

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