Devarim: Facing the material world

The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb [Sinai], [and] said: ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and journey forth (…)’.” (Deuteronomy 1:6-7).

These two sentences comprise one essential aspect of the relationship between Israel and the Creator. We indeed are always connected to Him as our forefathers were in the desert of Sinai during forty years after their Exodus from Egypt. Actually, they initiated this connection with Him that we still have as long as we want to be aware of it. We are long enough with Him in our Torah study, in which we realize the identity He shaped for us, and in our full awareness of it we must go out into the world and take on our journey by the hand of this identity.

The key of this awareness is to constantly live God’s will for us in every aspect of consciousness. As we have mentioned many times, His will is His commandments which we perform with His attributes of compassion, grace and loving kindness, for these qualities are our common bond with His love. In this awareness we realize that love’s ways and attributes are the material manifestation of God’s love that must constantly direct our discernment, thoughts, emotions, feelings, passions and instincts, speech and action. This is a practical process in which love is the light that dissipates the darkness of indifference, fear, apprehension, doubt, uncertainty, lack, helplessness, despair and the potentially negative aspects in human consciousness.


As long as we confront the fantasies and illusions of a materialistic approach to life with love’s attributes, we secure our connection with God’s love. This confrontation is symbolized by the children of Israel and their wars against the corrupted nations settled in the Promised Land. We must be in full awareness of our unity with God’s love to be able to subjugate the lower aspects of consciousness and redirect them toward positive and constructive ends.

If we doubt God’s love for us, as wells as love’s attributes as the means for our individual and collective redemption, we will live under the dominion of egotism, separation, indifference, cruelty, lust, envy, indolence and all that keeps us apart from the embracing unity that love is and implies. This is one of the meanings of the verse: “The Lord your God who goes before you, He shall fight for you, according to all that He did for you in Egypt before your eyes (…).” (1:30).

Sometimes we are extremely overwhelmed and subdued by negative fantasies and illusions, and seem incapable to overcome them. It feels like an addiction to a potent drug from which we are completely dominated. At this critical point we must trust Love as our way out, as our redeemer and deliverer, because love fights and wins our wars against the negative choices we make and their consequences: “Do not fear them, for it is the Lord, your God, who is fighting for you.”(3:22). Let’s refer back to the two sentences pointed out above, because in our connection with the Creator we become aware of the power we experience when we walk in His ways. We need to know His ways in order to fully assimilate the power of loving kindness, compassion and grace as some of the main attributes of love as the material manifestation of God’s love.

Life is our journey and we must live it embracing the goodness of love’s ways and attributes. We are born to be loved, nurtured, cared for and protected in order to be able to love, nurture, care and protect others as well. That’s the reason we are in this material world. Love is its own cause and effect. As long as we realize this truth we are ready to live life regardless negative, violent and hostile illusions that many people experience in this world. However, most of us prefer to live in the goodness of life trying to overlook wickedness, and avoiding negativity and evil by separating ourselves from their influence and predicament.


This seems the best way to keep our “cool” and protect ourselves from danger and potential harm. But this is not what the Creator wants from us. That’s the meaning of the the two lines mentioned above. It was meant to be that way back then in the desert and also now. The idea is not only to enjoy God’s love and His goodness for us in love’s ways and attributes, but to manifest them where we don’t find them. In other words, the purpose of love – as well as light – it to dissipate darkness and create a space and time where their attributes can be fully manifest.

In the desert God’s love provided for all that our forefathers needed and in that place and time nothing made them different among each other, because they all lived under God’s care and protection. Likewise, when we all live in love’s ways and attributes nothing makes us different from each other because we all share the same approach and the same attitude towards each other. Nothing makes us better or superior to each other because we share the same identity.

The challenge begins when we go out into a world filled with materialistic fantasies and illusions that separate us from love as our common essence and approach to each other. At this point we are compelled to confront such illusions with the strength and power of the awareness of who we truly are. Love’s righteousness, justice, compassion, fairness, kindness and goodness are our references among its attributes to confront their opposite traits. If there is no justice and fairness, we make them prevail; if there is wickedness, we make righteousness and goodness prevail, and so on.

Love makes us better because love is better than anything different from its ways and attributes. These shape the way we live, in the same way that God’s love shapes and sustains His Creation. In the freedom that love gives us, because Love is our freedom, we love our Creator and His will for us. Only in total freedom we can truly love God and His ways. This is why we must free ourselves from materialistic fantasies and illusions that keep us captive in the lower aspects of consciousness, and love is the key to our freedom in order to live in its freedom.


This task or mission begins with us individually, and we do it by learning God’s ways and attributes as stated in His Torah, and how He relates to His Creation. Once we acquire this knowledge, we integrate it into all levels and dimensions of consciousness in order to manifest it in what we discern, believe, think, feel, speak and do. This is how we redeem ourselves and those around us: by making love’s ways our ways. When we do this individually and collectively redemption comes.

We have mentioned many times that some of our Sages say that the Final Redemption comes when we start to love each other without preconditions or hidden agendas, what they refer to as “uncalled for love”. We do this as the way to clear the darkness of all that opposes love’s ways. For some this sounds like an impossible task. They can’t imagine that evil can be completely eradicated by love’s attributes. In other words, they don’t believe that love is more powerful than evil, and rather choose to be indifferent and separate from whatever they consider negative.

This endeavor does not mean that we have to force everybody to abandon their wicked ways and instantly embrace love’s ways. Love does not force itself on anything or anybody. Love does not need promoters or advocates because it presents itself as a choice, not as a weapon. In the same way that evil seems to be something we choose, love is also a choice. The idea is to consider evil not as a choice but as a reference to be ruled out, and make love the one and only choice to live happily ever after. In order to live happily ever after we must subjugate ego’s drives and desires into love’s ways to secure goodness, peace and harmony in the decisions we make every moment.

This is the task of love and as we engage on it, God’s love is also on our side helping us fight the wars against the potential negative aspects of consciousness represented by the nations that occupied the Promised Land. This Land is also the time and space where and when love conducts and guides all dimensions of life for us to live happily ever after. Let’s accept and execute the Creator’s commandment to engage ourselves in the journey to confront the fantasies and illusions of the material world in the awareness of His ways. Let’s transform our consciousness through love’s ways, means, qualities and attributes in order to settle permanently in the Promised Land we also call redemption.

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Zefat.
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