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July 20, 2024

What Is Today’s Significance of the Story of Abraham’s Conflict with Nimrod?

Pyramid of Desires

The Pyramid of Desires
The top of the pyramid is also the part that governs it,
and hence the part that has free choice in how to do it,
and the responsibility to do it right.

Mesopotamia, the Cradle of Civilization, was also the birthplace of Abraham, the harbinger of Kabbalah. The conflict between Abraham and Nimrod, ruler of Babylon, stands for much more than a conflict between a ruler and a defiant subject. It is a conflict of perceptions. To Nimrod, reality is a “federation” of forces that he must please, serve, and appease by sacrifice. To Abraham, there is only one force, and worshiping it means living by its law—the law of giving, as simple and as straightforward as that. Considering this contrast of views, it is no wonder that Nimrod had to either destroy Abraham or expel him.

But Abraham’s departure from Babylon did not quiet the polis. The trends that had prompted Abraham’s search for life’s secret continued to intensify and to spread through the bustling city, fueled by the same forces that power the process of evolution. Yet, in Babylon, these trends began to manifest a conduct that is uniquely human—egoism.

Baal HaSulam explains that egoism is a natural trait for humans. He declares that it is human nature, and that Kabbalah offers a way to turn its evident detrimental consequences into positive ones. In “Peace in the World,” he writes, “In simple words we shall say, that the nature of each and every person is to exploit the lives of all other people in the world for his own benefit. And all that he gives to another is only out of necessity; and even then there is exploitation of others in it, but it is done cunningly, so that his neighbor will not notice it and concede willingly.”


The Need to Learn How to Govern & Nurture the Pyramid of Desires

But before we delve into the solution that Kabbalah offers to human egoism, we need to understand how the desire to receive, initially created by the desire to give—the Creator—has become egoism. “The reason for it,” continues Ashlag, “is that … man’s soul [desire] extends from the Creator, who is one and unique. … Hence, man, too … feels that all the people in the world should be under his governance,” just as the whole of nature is governed by the law of bestowal, the Creator.

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