Sunday, October 31, 2010

Parshas Toldos — different paths in the service of Hashem

[a re-post]
(our goal is to dig beneath the surface)

I don't have much time, so I will write briefly (to the extent possible):

Two brothers

Path of Eisav: focused on physical, uses spiritual to find inspiration for the physical. G-d is an ATM machine. Torah is a Divine wisdom that helps us how live our lives (be more successful physically, more inspired spiritually, have a nicer community). Sounds familiar?

Path of Yakov: focused on spiritual, on G-d. Uses physical to enhance his relationship with G-d by "uncovering" the truth of Divine concealed in the physical. The physical is only for the purpose of spiritual.

* * *

Argument between Rivka and Itzchok

The latter saw a great potential in Eisav, "a man of the fields". If only he could be made into a mentsch, Eisav would draw greater Light from Above ("where ba'al teshuva stands, a tzaddik cannot stand"). Rivka: mother, home, identity, rejuvenation. Itzchok: father, work, going out into the world, transforming it. Normally, "father" aspect is more important — we came into this world to transform it. Can't sit and learn Torah all day long. Furthermore, in order to support "home", one needs to dedicate time to "work". In order to reach G-d's Essence, we can't stay in the Higher Worlds; need to come down here and do "work" (avoida).

But — whenever "home" is in danger, whenever "work" threatens to swallow us whole and take us away from home, whenever this physical world threatens to conceal G-d to the point we completely forget about him, "mother" wins. Don't forget why you go to "work" — for the "home".

and shov. A soul wants to go up to G-d, but then remembers that G-d wants it to be here (and, indeed, here is where G-d is found). Then, it returns into the world. But a point may come when you are too engrossed in the world, when you forget about G-d, or even if you don't forget, you treat G-d and Torah as your servants — you need them to be successful in this world, you derive inspiration from them during your life in this world. Then, you must go back up for rejuvination of your soul. Practically speaking: go to a Shabbos dinner in your local Chabad House. :)

* * *

Most converts to Judaism were descendants of Esav. The sparks of holiness that existed in his service were eventually elevated in later generations. "The head of Esav is next to Yakov".

Almost no descendants of Yishmoel converted to Judaism. Instead, they created a culture of death worship.

* * *

All of the above and more can be discovered in Kehos edition of Chabad-Chassidic commentary on Parshas Toldos.

* * *

A message from my rabbi:
In this week's Torah portion, we read about the first anti-semite — Esau. Jacob, the third of our patriarchs, was forced to flee his home, because of the threat of murder from his brother, who wished to kill him

Our Rabbis saw Esau as the archetype of the antisemite, who, for whatever reason, has a murderous hatred to Israel, wishes to annihilate him.

As Jacob leaves his home in Be'er Sheva, and is forced to flee, he could be justified in being downhearted. Charged with the mission of carrying forward the legacy of his father and grandfather, he could see his task as impossible, considering the murderous hatred that he is destined to face, forever.

But, Jacob's response is not despair. Instead, Jacob faces the challenge head-on, and decides to build a Jewish home and family. He has 12 sons, and finally returns to Israel, and even triumphs over the challenges of his brother's hatred.

This response is the eternal Jewish response to the hatred that we have faced throughout our history. We will continue to build, to grow, to teach and to live according to the traditions that we have received from our Patriarchs. And, eventually, we will triumph over the hatred of our enemies, and we will usher in the era of Moshiach.

May it happen, very soon!

Rabbi Gavriel, left, and Rivkah Holtzberg were killed in one of the worst terrorist attacks in Indian history. Here, they're seen attending to the wedding of a local Jewish couple.

Gavriel and Rivka Holzberg were Lubavitcher Rebbe's shluchim in Mumbai. They joined ranks of millions of Jewish souls that performed acts of mesirus nefesh throughout our history. Their goal was to bring Mashiach in our time, as soon as possible, by spreading the teachings of Chabad Chassidus and performing acts of ahavas Yisroel, unconditional love of a fellow Jew. We can help them — and all the other Chabad shluchim — in their goal through our actions. Today. Right now.


Menashe said...

Correction: They are the Rebbe's shluchim. Such a position is not temporary.

Menashe said...

Wow that was bizarre. I clicked here to see the comments and see myself from two years ago.