By Ariel Ben Avraham. In previous commentaries in our blog
about this portion (Parshat Bechukotai: “Following Love’s Ways” on May 2, 2010 and “Choosing Love” on May 15, 2011) we underscored that we are an emanation of God’s Love and, such as, Love is our common bond with the Creator. Through this bond we relate to Him and His Creation which is also an emanation of His Love.
The Creator makes this principle clear to Israel in this portion and in other chapters of His Torah, when He tells us “If you walk in My statutes and keep My Commandments and perform them (…)” (Leviticus 26:3)
The first ten verses that follow up in Bechukotai (26:4-14) contain some of the blessings that we enjoy when Love’s ways and attributes guide and direct all aspects of our consciousness: “I will give your rains in their time, the Land will yield its produce, and the tree of the field will give forth its fruit.” and we understand “our” rains also as God’s Love manifest in the potential goodness that we can express in our thoughts, emotions, feelings, passions and instincts, including speech and actions as the means to convey Love as our Essence and bond with God. The natural consequence of this is the goodness that life, which is also the Land, yields as its produce. We have a fruitful and productive life when we work and play in the fields of God’s Love. Our Sages refer to trees as metaphors for knowledge, and the Torah as the most important tree of all with which we sweeten the bitter waters (the negative aspects of material reality as a reflection of the negative aspects of consciousness). Trees also represent beliefs that, if conceived and manifest in Love’s ways and attributes, always bear good outcomes.
“Your threshing will last until the vintage, and the vintage will last until the sowing; you will eat your food to satiety, and you will live in security in your Land.” This explains the transcendence of Love as its own cause and effect, as long as we make it prevail in what we are, have and do. In this permanent awareness we experience and trust Love’s attributes as the ways and means to live in goodness as our intended destiny. We experience and enjoy the greatest security ever in this destiny as God’s purpose for us in the material world.
We have said many times that peace, abundance, prosperity, happiness, and all positive traits and qualities are the ways, means, attributes and effects of Love. As we live by, in, with and for them there is nothing that can be against us, because in them there is no room for opposite attributes. In this broader sense we understand the principle that Love does not coexist with anything different from its ways and attributes, because these are directed by their inherent ethics: “And I will grant peace in the Land, and you will lie down with no one to frighten [you]; I will remove wild beasts from the Land, and no army will pass through your Land (…)” because the righteousness of Love does not allow anything negative as the effect of its ways and attributes. Wickedness and negative traits are the wild beasts that threaten Love’s qualities and, no matter how harmful they might be, Love always prevails and transcends as our true Essence and identity. This is why we call here “fantasies and illusions” ego’s negative desires, because that is what they are. They all are temporary and never transcend in our lives, but let’s be mindful about negativity as a reference and not a choice for us.
Some people experience sadness, depression, frustration, anger, rage, greed, lust, cruelty, indolence and other negative traits as permanent residents in all levels of their consciousness, and indeed they make them “transcend” in their lives by becoming addicted to them. They truly are part of their lives and are mainly their references and choices to relate with others and their surroundings. This is what the daily news refer to as wars, crimes, conflicts, robberies, assaults, rapes, kidnapings, scams, embezzlement, fraud, cheating, intimidation, racism, xenophobia, and even things that may sound positive as rebellions, revolutions and uprisings. These are not positive as long as they are driven by negative motivations. What would be positive in the so called “Arab spring” if behind it there are the nefarious purposes of Islamic fundamentalism? As long as they are motivated by their hatred and total disrespect for human dignity and integrity, they remain puppets of the delusional nature of ego’s negative fantasies. Love does not coexists with such a thing!
The purpose and destiny of Love as our true identity is to protect us from the potential harm of the negative aspects of consciousness. As long as Love guides and directs all dimensions of consciousness, nothing can harm us because Love is our strength and armor: “You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. Five of you will pursue a hundred, and a hundred of you will pursue ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.” and we experienced these words in our wars in 1967 and 1973, when the small army of Israel defeated the combined armies of five Arab nations. We prevailed and will prevail because we honor the destiny that the Creator wants for Israel, and the first eleven verses of this Torah portion clearly illustrates our destiny, because it is the cause and effect of our Covenant with God: “I will turn towards you, and I will make you fruitful and increase you, and I will set up My Covenant with you.”, and He reminds us again that His Love, from which our Love is nurtured, sustains us in the goodness we harvest when we walk in His ways.
This previous verses are the premise for God’s permanent Presence in our lives: “And I will place My dwelling in your midst, and My Spirit will not reject you (…)” and, as we have said many times, His dwelling is the Sanctuary (the Temple of Jerusalem) which is also built by Him in the highest levels of our consciousness, and from it we realize the full and complete awareness of our connection with Him. In this awareness we indeed know that He dwells in us: “I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people.” And we must understand that this connection is the purpose and destiny that He wants for us as His people, and the ultimate reason of our freedom from the materialistic aspects of human consciousness: “I am the Lord, your God, who took you out of the land of Egypt from being slaves to them; and I broke the pegs of your yoke and led you upright.” and only the greatest Love of all, God’s Love, liberates us from what does not allow us to live and enjoy Love’s ways and attributes as the means to remove the burdens of ego’s fantasies and illusions, and walk upright in the endless freedom and happiness that God’s Love gives us as our true Essence, identity and destiny.
The rest of the portion are the negative outcomes that we suffer after choosing ego’s fantasies and illusions instead of Love’s ways and attributes. As we separate from our true Essence, we enter the realm of the negative aspects of consciousness. The Torah reminds us constantly about the blessings and the curses for us to choose, and the choice is ours. Let’s choose the blessings.
- Ariel Ben Avraham
- Haifa, Southern Galilee, Israel
- Ariel Ben Avraham (f. Zapata) was born in Cartagena, Colombia in 1958. After studying Cultural Anthropology in Bogotá moved to Chicago in 1984 where he worked as a television writer, reporter and producer for 18 years. In the 1990′s he produced video documentaries related to art, music, history and culture such as “Latin American Trails: Guatemala” distributed by Facets.org. Most of his life he studied ancient spiritual traditions and mysticism of major religions, understanding the mystic experience as the individual means to connect with Divinity. Since 2004 he studies and writes about Jewish mysticism and spirituality mainly derived from the Chassidic tradition, and the practical philosophy of the teachings of Jewish mystic Sages. The book “God as Love” is the compilation of his last years studying and learning Jewish mysticism, and the messages of the book are part of the content, exercises and processes of a series of seminars, lectures and retreats that he facilitates in Israel.