Ariel Ben Avraham

Lech lecha: The blessings of our true identity

“Go for [to] yourself from [out of] your land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you [make you see it]. And I will make you into a great Nation, and I will bless you, and I will aggrandize your name, and [so that you shall] be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the Earth shall be blessed in you.” (Genesis 12:1-3). A

These verses are about one single commandment containing several blessings that bear more blessings. All in regard to the knowledge of something in particular: the awareness of being and doing who we truly are. This awareness is the result of a process by which we have to see (or being shown) in order to know. Our Sages say that hearing relates to understanding, and seeing to knowing. We can understand what we are told, but we know it when we see it. Hence, the key of the process is for us to be shown or to make us see about who we really are.


We can be mistaken if we are not previously taught how to see in order to properly know what we have before our eyes. We need references to acquire knowledge in the proper context. In this sense, our references are contained in the Torah in contrast to the references in the non-Jewish world. In the narrative of these verses, the land that the Creator will make Abraham see is the Promised Land that the Torah reveals to us. This land is the place and time combined where the Creator’s blessings are completely manifest as a purpose, as a destiny, and as an end. 


The commandment to Abraham sounds conditional as if he complies with it, he will be rewarded with such blessings. Not quite. This commandment is about the individual challenge to know who we truly are amid a myriad of illusions and mirages we have created as references to understand and to know what we suppose to be in the material world. These illusions exist as the result of ego’s desires and fantasies that we turn into references as idols that dictate who we suppose to be and what we suppose to do.


This fantasy island is the place that Abraham had to abandon in order to go to his true self, as the land that is our true individual and collective identity. The commandment was given to him as the chosen seed of the Jewish people whose destiny is to possess that land and dwell in it: “To your seed I will give this Land, (…) for all the Land that you see I will give to you and to your seed to eternity.” (12:7, 12:15).


This commandment is also given to every Jew as well, so that we may choose to be the blessing, as Abraham did. Our Sages say that while the nations prefer to be blessed by the Creator, Israel prefers to be His blessing.


We have to abandon the idolatry of ego’s illusions through understanding and knowing what the Torah tells us, in order to partake of the blessing of being the great nation destined to be the light for the peoples. In these verses Abraham’s name shall become enlarged as he becomes the blessing that is receiving, and consequently a blessing for those who bless him.


Cursing carries back its own curse, and blessing carries its own goodness. By being in that blessing, everyone who chooses to receive it is therefore blessed with what it represents. If we want to partake in these blessings, we have to go to who we truly are, instead of what ego’s illusions tell us to be and do. We get the awareness and knowledge when we listen to the Source that created us, which is God’s love. It is also the Land that He shows us when we choose to hear and follow His ways, and manifest His attributes.


As we mentioned, this awareness requires a process in which we must confront the material illusions that blur all levels and dimensions of consciousness, as a result of misconceptions created by those illusions. As a state of consciousness, this Promised Land needs to be cleared from the nations that represent such misconceptions. They are regarded as the Canaanite nations that Israel has to subjugate in order to dwell in this Land.


We, as our forefathers did, must confront and defeat kingdoms that deny the moral freedom that only God’s love, as our essence, can redeem and preserve. The commandment to Abraham carries the blessings when we fulfill it. Through love, as the material manifestation of God’s love in human consciousness, we clear thoughts, emotions, feelings, passions and instincts from their negative misconceptions. Love is its own cause and effect, and also the catalyst to dissipate ego’s illusions, and direct our consciousness to partake in the blessings of God’s love.


Abraham listened to God’s voice and commandment and he chose back to His ways and attributes, which are His blessings: “I chose you and I did not despise you. Do not fear for I am with you; be not discouraged for I am your God: I encouraged you, I also helped you, I also supported you with My righteous hand.” (Isaiah 41:9-10), because God’s blessing is His love.

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 Kochav Yaakov.