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November 23, 2017

Chayei Sarah (The Life of Sarah) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Chayei Sarah2

Genesis, 23:1-25:18
This Week’s Torah Portion | 28 Oct – 3 Nov, 2018 – 19 Cheshvan – 25 Cheshvan, 5779

In A Nutshell

In the portion, The Life of Sarah, Abraham gives a eulogy after Sarah’s death at the age of 127. He buys a lot for the grave from Ephron the Hittite for four hundred shekels of silver and buries her in the Cave of Machpelah, in Hebron.

Abraham objects to Isaac marrying a woman from the Canaanites, and sends Eliezer, his servant, to Aram Naharaim to find a wife for his son. When Eliezer approaches a well, he meets Rebecca and asks her to give him water. She gives him water, and offers water to his camels, as well. Eliezer takes her offer as a sign that she is the right woman for Isaac, and so he brings her to Canaan.

After the death of Sarah, Abraham marries Keturah, who bears six children, which Abraham sends eastward. Abraham died at the age of 175, and inherits all that he has to Isaac.

The end of the portion elaborates on the generations of Ishmael and on his passing at the age of 175.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

We need to remember that the Torah speaks of what happens within, as one reveals one’s soul, the innermost part. The revelation of the soul is gradual, and manifests in the stories of the Torah. Abraham is the initial force with which a person reveals the soul and opens the internality to discover the upper world. He is the first force of overcoming, the force of bestowal, along with that force’s female, Sarah, which is suitable for the degree of Abraham.

To know with which desires we can work and with which we cannot, we must sort out our self-centered desires, leaving the degrees with which we still cannot work for the next degrees, for states where the desire is stronger. To scrutinize the desire called Isaac, we must first remove the desire with which we cannot work, and sort it with another female, with Hagar, from whom comes Ishmael, the Klipa (shell/peel) of the right.

The Isaac degree within us emerges only afterward, and is an extension of the Abraham degree. It is written about Isaac, “For in Isaac will your seed be named” (Genesis, 21:12), meaning that Abraham’s rise to a higher degree is named Isaac. At the Isaac degree, one should reexamine one’s desires, and sort out with which desires it is possible to work, and with which it is impossible.

A person cannot scrutinize alone, as that person (Abraham) comes from only one force, one side, from the force of Hesed (mercy). Abraham is still without Gevura, and must first acquire the degree of Isaac, which is the foundation of Gevura. This is the point where the force of Eliezer comes to the aid. Eliezer is like the upper light—scrutinizing the desires for a person, bringing one to the degree where one can sort the next stage of correction out of all of one’s desires. That stage is called Rebecca.

Judging by superficial signs, such as the incident with the camels, it seems that Rebecca has the force of Bina. Her force is not only Kelim (vessels) of Galgalta Eynaim, but is also Kelim of AHP, vessels of reception, so she can water the camels. This means that it is possible to keep progressing with her and to continue the correction of the soul—the opening up of the soul. This is why it is said that through the force of Eliezer, Abraham could find the appropriate force of overcoming for Isaac, and that force is the force of reception called Rebecca. She is the one from whom the next stage, the next degree, will be built.

Following Abraham and Sarah, the next stage is Isaac and Rebecca. Isaac, too, takes Rebecca to the land of Canaan and does not leave her in Aram Naharaim.

Following Isaac, Abraham makes additional scrutinies with Keturah and the six children, which he sends to the land of the east.

Each time we scrutinize desires, the scrutiny takes place on several degrees. We can use some of the desires in order to bestow, achieve love of others. Other desires are “put on hold” and we avoid using them. Instead, we use another part of the desires in such a way that their correction will precede the actual corrections. Such are the children of the concubines.

At the end of days, meaning these days, we can see that everything is coming back to that force called Abraham, which is reawakening in us. We are correcting in humanity the Kelim that were broken off from the children of Israel, and the Kelim from the nations of the world, among which are the ten tribes (which also have their influence) and the children of the concubines. We will also see that throughout history, the world has been going through a process of corrections.

A person notices that the desires awakening for correction in the soul are but a seed that was sown in previous generations, in previous states, and which are now being corrected. We experience events in life, which remind us of past states, and which help us understand the novelty and the uniqueness of the current time, and how we should relate to it.

The degree of Abraham lives in the desire known as Sarah (after whom the portion is named) and scrutinizes it. Once the Abraham degree is sorted comes the end of the degree—Abraham’s death, Sarah’s death, and the Cave of Machpelah.

These are the most important elements because all our corrections until the end of correction are included in a special correction known as Tzimtzum Bet (second restriction). There are two restrictions over our will to receive, preventing us from using it in order to receive for ourselves, but only in order to bestow upon others.

We must live in such a manner that we will lead a normal life and at the same time see beyond. Today people live differently. A hundred or two hundred years ago, people worked and earned their living in proportion to their work. This is why few were wealthy.

However, today, in the age of technological developments, we produce and earn far more than is necessary for our sustenance. This is why so many things, such as tourism and leisure activities are developed. Man keeps purchasing, wasting what has been earned on what is not necessary for sustenance.

There are two restrictions on the will to receive, which is why we are currently experiencing the shattering, the ruin of the previous life. We call it, the “global financial and economic crisis.” First, we need to understand that we must settle for what we earn, and leave for ourselves only what is necessary for our sustenance, giving the rest to the common treasury, to the nation, to the correction of the entire world. This is how every person will achieve Tzimtzum Bet (second restriction).

Thus, man must first avoid taking for oneself. Instead, one must settle for little and give the rest to the rest of the world. The current crisis will compel us to understand it and progress, and in this way, we will go through the crisis easily, pleasantly, and quickly. If we do not wish to understand it, we will feel the transition to the next degree as painful, as we are beginning to feel it in the current crisis, with all that it is causing us.

The Cave of Machpelah symbolizes the approach of connecting Malchut with Bina. The whole of Malchut, the entirety of the will to receive is included in Bina, in the desire to bestow, which works only in this manner. Malchut receives from Bina only what it needs in order to exist and work like it, meaning in bestowal. This is the correction we will have to carry out in the whole of humanity—reaching the quality of the Cave of Machpelah.

What is a cave and what is the meaning of the word Machpelah (multiplication)?

A cave is a hole in the ground, in the earth. The word Eretz (earth) comes from the word Ratzon (desire). Initially, our desire is as it is written, “The inclination in a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis, 8:21) because “I have created the evil inclination” (Jerusalem Talmud, Masechet Berachot, 27b), while the corrections are made through the spice of Torah, through the light that reforms. If we feel a corruption, an ill will, a state where each wants only for oneself, and is careless of others, it is opposite from the initial goal—to achieve bestowal upon others. This truly buries us, so we feel compelled to correct ourselves.

The correction is done through the proper study of the wisdom of Kabbalah. Through Kabbalists’ counsels we draw the light that reforms out of the study, which is why the wisdom of Kabbalah is called the “law of light,” as well as the “internality of the Torah,” and the “Torah of truth.”

Through the proper study of the wisdom of Kabbalah, a force awakens in a person and begins to help sort out one’s desires, one’s internality. We take everything we can out of all the desires, passions, and qualities with which we are born, in order to build a soul, a Kli (vessel) for the sensation of the upper world. That drop of semen exists in each of us, and we can open it, nurture it, and rear our own souls out of it, the part of God above that is within us. However, it is buried under all the desires, thoughts, and problems we are in because of our egos.

The Cave of Machpelah means that we are making two major corrections in the transition from not receiving for ourselves into receiving only for the benefit of others. In other words, one’s entire life must be in a state of “love your neighbor as yourself.”

It is called Machpelah because the process of correction is done in two stages. First, we correct Malchut, since first I receive for myself only what I need in order to survive. Subsequently, I receive everything else only in order to bestow. Essentially, this is the entire correction, until we conclude the opening up of our souls and building them. Abraham performed the first correction, which brought him to the degree of Adam HaRishon. This is why he is called the “father of the nation.”

Can people who are not studying Kabbalah settle for nothing but basic sustenance?

No, it would only spoil them because it would make them think that they are righteous and do not need to study. The problem is that we think we understand how to perform the corrections. But to correct, we need the light that reforms, which is what sorts our desires and directs us as to what we should do.

The light is what teaches us and leads us on the way. If we do not evoke the inner force called Torah, namely the instruction what to do with ourselves, we will not know how to advance. Thus, we have no choice but to study the wisdom of Kabbalah, through which we will advance favorably. This is the reason why it was hidden for centuries and why it is being revealed specifically now.

Will I ever actually discover these forces, Sarah, Abraham, and Eliezer?

Of course, you will discover all these forces within you. The right Nukva (female), the most corrected, is Sarah.

What is a burial, and does it matter where we bury the desire?

I bury the desire and I stop using it by elevating it to the degree of Bina. It is written, “These are the righteous, who in their death were called ‘living’” (Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Berachot, 18a). That is, when you bury a desire, you bury its intention to receive, and you use it in order to bestow. You raise it to the degree of the Cave of Machpelah, which is a very high degree.

Even when this desire is in the ground, as in a cave, you use it in order to bestow. These are very big corrections because the desire is not dead, but alive. The intentions are the ones that die, but the desire itself never dies. Therefore, burial does not refer to the desires themselves, but to the way they are used.

When Abraham reaches a degree where he knows how to correct all of his desire, his Nukva, called Sarah, he achieves the degree of “associating Rachamim (mercy) with Din (judgment).” In that state he enters the Cave of Machpelah. The Machpelah (multiplication) means that the level of this world ascends to the level of the next world.

It is said that Sarah lived 127 years, and that Abraham lived 175 years; what is the meaning of age?

The numbers are not referring to age, but to degrees. These are degrees where we can correct our souls in this manner.

Is Abraham’s degree, 175?

Yes, but we do not know how to count those degrees, such as the story of Methuselah or of Adam, who lived so and so many years. We also do not know what means that Abraham purchased the cave for four hundred shekels of silver. Kesef (silver/money) means Masach (screen), and the four hundred shekels are a full number that Abraham paid for the field he bought from Ephron.

Abraham insisted on purchasing instead of receiving; what is the meaning of purchasing? Did he purchase a desire?

Purchasing is expressed in payment. Abraham paid with his money. He paid with his labor so he could acquire the will to receive so as to make it work in order to bestow. Labor is the only way to open up the will to receive and use it to receive the revelation of the upper one.

In our entire universe, we are using only one percent of our will to receive. This is why we perceive only this world. We will perceive the upper world only if we open up the will to receive by two percent, then three, and so forth up to 100 percent. The more you open the desire, the more of reality you can perceive.

There is a hidden reality, and as our desires grow from day to day and from year to year, we uncover the world and discover more phenomena and more revelations in the world. Each day we make new discoveries, science develops, and so do we. However, it is all very narrow and quite insignificant.

We do not perceive the world itself, but only what is in our interest, since this is our nature. If we wish to acquire the great desire, we must pay with great labor. That desire contains still, vegetative, animate, and human, meaning speaking. These are four stages, and each of them is at a level of one hundred, which add up to 400 (shekels of silver). Kesef (silver/money), means labor.

We will have to purchase the entire desire for four hundred shekels of silver. In other words, first we will need to acquire Masachim (screens), to work with what manifests only in order to bestow. This is why we have grown up to a certain level, to a certain satiation in our development, and have reached a crisis. We will not develop beyond that; we will stop here until we understand that we can either descend or continue to develop ourselves in a new Kli toward the upper world, which is aiming entirely toward bestowal upon others.

Is there a difference in the level of the ego between a person who, for instance, craves power, and leaders such as the Prime Minister?

No, because that ego is on the same human level. Here, however, we are speaking of a completely different ego, one that needs to be a ruler and to understand what happens above this life, above life and death. This is an ego we do not understand; it is the left line, Klipot (shells/peels), which are actually against Godliness.

The two forces begin to manifest in you. The upper force, the Creator, appears on the right side, and the opposite force appears on the left, with you in between, containing both of them. This is why it is called the Cave of Machpelah (multiplication), since you are connecting the two forces, the good, as well as the bad.

Is the will to receive eternal?

It is as eternal as the Creator; it is never cancelled. Without it, there would be no creature. The Hebrew word Nivra (creature) comes from the word Bar (outside), meaning outside of the degree. The desire is what separates you from the Creator. But when you use it with the intention to bestow, you resemble yourself to the Creator and you achieve Dvekut (adhesion) with Him, which is the purpose of creation.

Some people are said to be from the children of Keturah, and some are said to be from the children of Abraham; is there truth to these sayings?

Yes, there is. The whole world came from the Babylonians who did not want to receive Abraham’s teaching through Nimrod because they were going through corrections that made them reject it, which is a correction, too. A person who rejects something has a certain view; it goes through a certain “filter.” Therefore, a person who moves from Babylon through the wars in Canaan, Egypt, and in other places, is either from the children of Keturah or from the ten tribes that have scattered throughout the world and are doing our work there, although we do not know how it is done.

If we conduct DNA tests we will see that everyone has mingled with everyone, and each of us contains a bit of everyone else. This is why now that we have reached the end of the mingling, when each of us has the ability to belong to the correction, at one’s own level, we are moving into a crisis by which we are beginning to scrutinize our spiritual situation. This is the current degree of humanity.

On the one hand, it is said that everything is happening within us. On the other hand, we are living in this world, and it is what we perceive. Is there a formula by which we can act in our everyday incidents?

Yes, if you feel that you are living this way in your daily life in this world. Some people feel that they are living in a movie that is being “projected” within them. They relate to the world outside of them, but feel it from within. It is like watching a movie and entering it, living in it like the rest of the characters, unable to pass judgment on it.

I can even tell myself that it is a film being projected before me, that I am in it, and I can watch myself from above and see how I am dealing with everything that is happening. I can also tell that the picture I see is really unfolding within me, and that I need to react to it. This is when I ascend from the degree of the film to the degree of understanding the film, to understanding the one who is projecting the film within me, according to my reactions to it. In other words, it depends on how I relate to the world, and it is best to relate to it as realistically as possible.

From The Zohar: Four Hundred Shekels of Silver

“When Abraham entered the cave … he saw a light there, the dust was thrown before him, and two graves were revealed to him. Then a man of his form stood up from his grave, and saw Abraham and laughed. With that, Abraham knew that he was destined to be buried there.

…Adam told him, ‘The Creator hid me here, and I have been hiding since.’ Until Abraham came, Adam and the world were incomplete. This is why he needed to hide himself, so the Klipot would not grip him. But when Abraham came to the world, he corrected him and the world, and he no longer needed to hide himself.”

Zohar for All, The Life of Sarah, items 105-106

Read the Original Portion Here »

  

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