“Show me you love me. Show me that you care. Go into your kitchen. Pull out a butcher knife. Slit your son’s throat.”
No, this is not yet another slasher movie from Hollywood! In effect, this is what God, our Creator, asked the great patriarch Abraham to do to his beloved son Isaac in this upcoming Torah reading on Saturday. God told Abraham to slaughter his son, to sacrifice him as a demonstration of Abraham’s unwavering commitment to the Master of the Universe.
What happened to God’s commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill?”
How do we — logical, rational, thinking people — reconcile God’s order to kill Isaac with His precept, “Thou Shall Not Kill”?
The fact is, we don’t reconcile it. Can’t be done. We cannot make any sense out of this contradiction. At least not on the surface level. There’s no reason to sweat this dilemma, however. Those ancient sages of Kabbalah disentangled this puzzling event for us. They revealed a profound message, a secret that will help you to deeply understand your own nature and, in turn, find the keys to true happiness and sanity in this unhappy and insane world. Without Kabbalah’s insights, there can be no practical benefit gained by readers of this biblical passage. Which might explain why 95% of the world doesn’t read it anymore.
DECODING THE BINDING OF ISAAC
In the traditional biblical story, Abraham follows God’s order. Abraham binds Isaac to an altar out in the woods. Just as he is about to lower the knife to the throat of his son, an angel arrives on the scene with an urgent message: “Don’t do it! It was just a test from God.”
Whew! Close call.
But why would an all-loving, all-merciful God put a man through such an agonizing test just to demonstrate his loyalty, love, and allegiance? Let’s now the get the Kabbalistic skinny on this story…
1, 2, 3, STOP!
The world is composed of three primary forces, according to Kabbalah:
1. A positive force (+)
2. A negative froce (-)
3. A neutral force (o)
These three forces express themselves spiritually and physically.
Physically, they are:
1. The proton.
2. The electron.
3. The neutron.
Spiritually, they are:
1. The soul’s desire to share (Positive)
2. The ego’s selfish desire to receive (Negative)
3. Free will to choose either of the two (Transformation)
These three forces are what distinguish man from animal. A predatory beast in hot pursuit of a newborn deer will not suddenly stop in its tracks to consider the moral implications of slaughtering the poor little creature. Dinner time is dinner time. This “stopping” option when it comes to hurting another human being, emotionally or physically, is called “Free Will,” and it’s an exclusive feature of the human race.
The ancient Zohar says that these three spiritual forces are the secret meaning behind Abraham, his son Isaac, and Isaac’s son Jacob. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are the three great biblical patriarchs.They are the template for these three principles. They are the well-spring from which these three forces emerge into human consciousness and this world.
Does that sound a bit too esoteric? Okay, here it is simple lingo:
• Abraham is the positive force of sharing — your soul. The True You.
• Isaac signifies the negative force of receiving — your ego. Not You.
• Jacob signifies the neutral force of balance — your free will to find the True You by not listening to the “Not You” that is your ego.
Let’s now “reexamine the story” and unlock the secrets inside:
God “commanded” Abraham to bind and slaughter Isaac upon the altar, as a sacrifice.
THE TRUE INNER MEANING:
A man (that means you) must constantly utilize the power of his soul (Abraham) to bind his own ego (the binding of Isaac) and eliminate all his selfish, self-destructive traits from his nature (the slaughtering of Isaac). This entails giving up (the sacrifice) short-term material pleasures in lieu of eternal spiritual pleasures.
What do we categorize as selfish traits?
The need to out-do our friends.
The compulsion to impress people.
The urge to bad-mouth our friends.
Let’s now decipher another concept:
The angel came and stopped Abraham just as he was about to lose his beloved son.
THE INNER MEANING:
We must be prepared and willing to give up the short-term pleasures of materialism for the eternal fulfillment of true spiritual treasures. Does that mean no more cars, stereos, houses, clothes, cell phones, or home computers, iPads and iPhones?
Just as Abraham did not have to actually go through with the slaughtering of his son, we do not actually divorce ourselves from the physical world.
Follow this carefully….
If the above physical items, which are craved by the ego, make us happy, then we are enslaved to them. We must bind and slaughter these desires and be willing to give them all up. This means that we are no longer under their control. They are no longer dictating the terms of our happiness. Once this addictive aspect of our nature is gone, the angel comes and says, Okay, keep the car. Keep the house. Keep the clothes. Keep the five giant screen TVs — well, maybe not all five. Once we appreciate true spiritual freedom and pleasure…
• Our kids.
• Our spouse.
• Our friends.
• Our mountains.
• Our rivers.
• Our flowers.
• Our neighbors.
• Our neighbor’s flowers.
…then, we can have it all. The only thing to give up in the physical world are the excesses. The indulgences. No one really needs 150 pairs of shoes. Or 3 BMWs. If those extra indulgences are what make us happy for the moment, then there is something lacking deep within us. When, however, we inject a little spiritual Light into our lives, suddenly there is a calming and warm feeling of contentment, joy, and appreciation of life’s true treasures.
Our happiness is created from within. The more negative traits that we “slaughter” from our make-up, the more open we become to receive the lasting Light of fulfillment.
HOW TO HAVE IT ALL
A Kabbalist wants it all. So make no mistake, Kabbalah never asks us to trade down in life. When we give up our ego — and the indulgent items that gratify our ego — we might, initially, feel that we are giving something up. Rubbish. You are exchanging hamburger for steak. Actually, that was too kind. We are exchanging Spam for Filet Mignon. We are trading up. Always. Otherwise, who needs the wisdom of Kabbalah?
You are being given something that will make you far happier than you ever dreamed or imagined. Each time we indulge our ego, we trade away a true spiritual treasure —— all those things that money cannot buy like: health, happy kids, inner peace of mind, freedom from anxiety, true prosperity, freedom from fear, self-esteem and a deep sense of inner security, true friends instead of hangers-on. You get the drift. Each time we resist and deny our ego, we receive a priceless spiritual treasure in return.
However, because of free will, grasping this profound truth and living by it is “easier said than done”. The ego is designed to be the dominant voice inside our head. And the pleasures that fulfill our are powerfully tempting and ultra-seductive. But the pleasure never lasts. Never. It always wears off. And it leaves a black hole and space for chaos to appear.
So smarten up already.
Stop getting the short end of the stick.
Stop settling for less.
Stop buying swamp land in Florida
Instead, become a shrewd investor in this Game called Life and start acquiring spiritual assets.
“Slaughter” your negative egocentric traits and unleash the power of your soul!
My suggestion is to start this transformation (or accelerate it and deepen it if you are already on the path of Kabbalah) by (re)taking the Kabbalah One Course at a Kabbalah Centre near you. Scan or study the Zohar nightly. Read the book Power of Kabbalah. Share. Then share some more. And enjoy those moments where you are prepared to quit the path because of—whatever. The ego will always give you a brilliant, clever, justified and rational reason for quitting.
If you want it all, you have to resist it all — all the tricks and deceptions of the human ego.
The Torah reading that speaks of the Binding of Isaac will infuse you with the power, strength and might to bind and sacrifice the ego for good. This year we can achieve it all. This year we will achieve it all. We bind our ego for good. And then the ego goes down.
Before the Torah reading, take a moment to identify as many of your embarrassing ego traits as possible. Then allow the Light of the Torah reading to do the rest.
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