Updated: Nov 5, 2019
We are accompanied now by the first figure - Abraham. which contain in its figure a great deal of secrets that clarify us much about our soul – Neshama and the Jewish psyche, both nationally and personally.
As we are entering the stories of the founding fathers and mothers of the Jewish nation, we must comprehend something very important. Each of the fathers and mothers - Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah are displayed in the scriptures, not only as human figures or characters in a story, but as actual landmarks that were created within creation for the sake of our education. These figures or characters are there to teach us of how to be more inclined with our inmost deepest soul, and in its diverse layers of existence.
We should consider each one of these figures - starting in the book of roots – but also onward as we travel the entire story of the Torah, as forces within ourselves. Each of these forces enter in a different part of the story by means of educating us in regards to our abilities, or about the suggested behaviors one must have or follow as humans in this world.
Not only as humans but also in a profound way - as humans that are educated by the divine, walking the path of Torah. So we can look at Lech Lecha Portion as a starting point of a great journey of consciousness, the Jewish consciousness. And we are accompanied now by the first figure - Abraham. which contain in its figure a great deal of secrets that clarify us much about our soul – Neshama and the Jewish psyche, both nationally and personally.
As so we are entering the beginning of this very personal, and yet again also very much collective journey, we can unwrap Abraham's story or recognizing in it few layers:
The first, would be a simple way of understanding the story (the Pshat), the second, will be in a deeper level of understanding - we will look at the story and of Abraham’s character as an allegory to our soul. The third would be to dive into an even deeper understanding, as we would recognize in this story and in Abraham’s character parts of ourselves. Each of us and his / hers very personal journey.
So let us start that with the first. with the simple version of the story, where Abraham is been asked by G-d to 'Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you.’
From your land, from your birthplace - from Haran, where Abraham was living with the rest of his family. From the house of your father – we know that Abraham’s father, Terach was an idol manufacturer, and so the command that has being given to Abraham to go from Terach house, would be a command to go from a place of idol worshiping and impurity to a land which HaShem will show him – out of idol worshiping, and out of impurity.
Now let’s unwrap it and move towards the deeper level of the story and reavek how Abraham's figure is an allegory to our soul. The Zohar in this portion of Lech Lecha unfolds the hiding layers of the evolution of the soul. If before in we had the evolution of creation and then the evolution of humanity, now, using Abraham as a prototype figure, we are to be revealed with the evolution of our soul. Abraham story teaches us about the true meaning of believe, as well as about our true nature as people with a spiritual foundation, and also it teaches us about our soul journey into this world.
This Zohar’s portion uses the commandment G-d gave to Abraham in means of educating and teaching us about the process of the human as it leaves the spiritual upper realms and enter the physical lower realms of our material existence. so in a way Lech Lecha signifies a celestial genetic DNA of the nation of Israel. Abraham signifies the high Neshama, and therefore - go forth from you land - MEARTZECHA, from the dwelling place of the soul, of where it was produced - which is in the upper realms. MEMOLADETCHA – from the soul’s initial place – the birthplace of the soul - the chair of honor, which is located up in the skies
MIBAIT AVICHA – from the sky, from the divine territories, located in the upper realms up in heaven. So here in Lech Lecha we are given a glimpse into the Journey of the high neshama, as it goes from its initial birthplace, up in the heavens and down to earth.
After the Neshama - the soul, has passed through this journey out of the divine territories in heaven and into the earth, after it evolved from its metaphysical state to the physical, we then can have a completely different understanding of the verse: ‘Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you.’The soul, the high Neshama - Having descended from all its lofty ranks and dressed in a physical body, gains now the power to walk also in lower realms, knowing though its high spiritual origin and forces. To the land I will show you – a land that will reveal to you something new – A land in which you would be able to get to ultimate elevations, an ascent by doing the divine commands. Using this world as a corridor as we know to the next life.
Now let unwrap it even further and touch the third layer of understanding of this verse:
From your land, meaning - from your will - a land in the Zohar is always will.
From your land, from your human will or desire.
From your birthplace from all assumptions, you may have which are influenced by and are aligned with the human perception or the mortal mind
From your father's house, from things that are rooted in causes and reasons of education and habit, things you have learned from other human figures in your life.
This portion teaches us that we are to step out from these, and go into the land, which G-d will show us.
Meaning, we are to willingly choose to consciously leave any wills or desires we have, or any knowledge we acquired in regards to the desires he have, under human assumptions and habits lay within our mortal mindset, and even to leave whatever we learned in regards to the human perspective, in terms of human education.
‘To the land I will show you’ – to try and reach beyond human perceptions, acknowledgments, understandings or perception. or as sages like to pronounce it - למעלה מטעם ודעת - above and beyond our knowledge. But this is not all, there is more to this layer.
According to Abrahams journey in Lech Lecha portion, we are also to reach out beyond the borders of our very human mindset also when it comes to our human perception of the divine, and of what we think the divine wants from us. We are to reach out beyond the divine observations we think we might hold. We are to step-out from whatever we possessed under any perception of human assumptions, in regards to the divine will, when it comes to our matter. Or in other words, we are to erase everything we presume to know and start again.
This is LECH LECHA.
Lech Lecha from the land means also the steeping outwards from any human perception one may have in regards to the divine will. From your birthplace, from our thoughts when it comes to believe, in terms of whatever you think believe is. And from your father’s house, from what you think, even under the divine perception you think you reckon.
So we see, we have here the first and simple way of looking at the story, Abraham as a man leaving his land, birthplace and father’s house. But also we need to read the story under the layer of the celestial genetic DNA of the soul – the journey of the high Neshama, and then also in the advanced layer – which asks us to leave every earthly wills, perception and the mortal education we received, to then later even to leave our thoughts and perception in regards to the divine, or what we think we know of the divine.
There is another interpretation. Lech Lecha can be interprets to - “Go to yourself”. Abraham’s movement towards the fulfillment of his task. “Going” has the connotation of moving forward and moving towards one’s ultimate purpose. “Go to yourself” Meaning, go towards your soul’s essence and your ultimate purpose, that for which you were created to begin with. This is the command of G-d from Abraham, this is our command in this portion.
As we can see, Abraham which signifies our high Neshama in the primal stage of its creation, was given a complicated task and we are to follow him and fulfill this task in the coming week. This command given to Abraham, as the chosen figure in his generation to start the notion of the monotheistic believe, is enormous. Abraham started a journey that was about to move him progressively towards an ever increasing degree of holiness, that will eventually manifest itself in all nations at large but also in our life’s journey as well.
Than after we erased our perception and acknowledgement in regards to our wills and ourselves, than naturally we will suddenly find an empty place, space vacuum “And there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt.” Why this sudden reversal of abraham’s spiritual journey, of our continual progress towards a fulfillment? The answer is simple, we must understand that Abraham’s mission as well as the entire Jewish nation, is not simply a personal one but a global one - his task, as well as ours, is to spread G‑d’s name and gather adherents to His faith in all nations. Egypt back then was the ultimate haven to idol worshiping and therefor the lowest place on earth to influence a monotheistic believe. And this was exactly where G-d Sent him.
That is to show us that every one of us has the capacity to leave a temporarily insignificant position or even a high significant position, and to go to a land that G-d will show us. To be in a complete surrender with the divine will. This week portion enables us to recognize that we can, and must, leave our present position and by sheer effort cause HaShem to show us the real land, the promised land – our true actual goal. We will learn more of this together as we travel in the portions, but for now, let us move forward in this portion and in our understandings when it comes to our soul and to the right way of conducting ourselves in means of believe.
Abraham had two sons, Issac and Ishmael, those two can be looked at as two human figures in the Pshat, in the simple way of observing the story, but also here we can reach beyond and travel onward to see two types of believe, out of which off-course, we would be directed to preferred one above the other.
The lubavitcher rebbe teaches us that Ishmael and Isaac differed in two significant aspects:
1. Ishmael came into the world by natural means, while Isaac’s birth was a supernatural event.
2. Ishmael was circumcised at the age of thirteen, in age of personal awareness, whereas Isaac entered into the covenant of circumcision as an eight-day-old infant. An age at which a person is not even aware of what is taking place, much less of this act’s significance. Looking at it, we can come to conclusion that Ishmael represents a rational relationship with G‑d, one that is based upon a person’s nature and mortal awareness, while Isaac represents a supernatural and irrational bond between the divine and us.
Abraham saw many positive qualities in Ishmael, and was prepared, and even desired, to see him as his heir. Yet G‑d insisted that his covenant be perpetuated specifically through Isaac and Isaac’s descendants - whose commitment to G‑d will transcend the natural and the rational. Ishmael grew up in Abraham's home and his upbringing brought him under his father way of education to the intellectual understanding regarding the relationship between man and G-d. However, when something comes out of a mental understanding alone, there isn’t any certainty to it, and therefore, any change in perception eventually can bring doubt to this understanding and prevent its continuation. In other words, Ishmael had a rational understanding of believe, and this understanding would be limited and adjusted only as long as the mind will accept it under laws of mortal understanding. Whereas, the position of Isaac and his descendant generations (Israel) has no dependency to natural causes or human mindset or understandings.
Israel's existence and essence is due to be supernatural, miraculous and irrespective of the limitations of nature. And there for it will not be limited according to one’s mind and opinion but will be infused with devotion. To sum it up, when it comes to Jewish beliefs in regards to the attachment needed between man and God, one should not rely on the relationship by virtue of the human mind, but by the devotion of the soul. The high Neshama, which we have just learn of its first steps in this world, in the story of Abraham, that has received the command of Lech Lecha. It has nothing to do with human calculations, understandings or assumptions and therefore cannot and must not be based on them.
Our soul is uplifted, and it is not to be limited by measurements and calculations of the human mind. We are connected with the divine in an unbreakable bond of the covenant.
Abraham opened the pipe of devotion in mind, body, spirit and soul. But just as Abraham we are too obliged to continue a very unhuman or better to say spiritual journey while we are dressed in a human figure.
So this week's task or spiritual request from us is to feel Abraham and Sarah existence in your heart, acknowledge the divine request for you. Leave all your past assumptions – what you think, what you want, what you think that you want, and let G-d take you to wherever you are truly supposed to go.
To find out more about this week's portion watch the Torah lesson.