Parshat Behar: Serving the Love of God

The Torah defines the Jewish identity as the people who are destined to serve the Creator. The entire Torah is about our individual and collective service to Him, and the messages in Behar make a special emphasis in the practical aspects of this service, because we honor God by serving Him the way He wants. We have said many times and will continue reiterating that the service of God is the service of Love. We serve Him by being and doing His ways and attributes which emanate from His Love, the source of our true Essence and identity.

By, through, and with Love we fulfill God’s will for us, and we do it in the ways and means of His ways and attributes. This is how we care and protect each other, and the way to love each other: “And you shall not wrong, one man his fellow Jew, and you shall revere your God, for I am the Lord, your God.” (Leviticus 25:17), because God loves us in the same way.

We learn to love each other as the way to build, elevate and enhance all aspects and dimensions of consciousness in order to expand the goodness of Love in what we are, have and do. Again we repeat that Love is its cause and effect, for the only purpose of Love is Love. Hence Love does not cohabit with anything different form its ways and attributes. We are not supposed to do wrong to each other because the Creator doesn’t do wrong to us.

In this context we are responsible to each other, accountable to each other, and liable for each other. We are entitled to protect each other and dignify each other. This is our obligation and the reason to fight anything that attempts against our individual and collective dignity and integrity. For the sake of Love, and in the name of Love as our Essence and identity, we must honor its ways, means and attributes and repel and defeat their opposites.1

We have to stop totalitarian, despotic, denigrating, exploiting and oppressing beliefs and ideologies from our midst, because this is our responsibility, duty and obligation, not God’s. We can’t blame Him for what we create and inflict in our material reality. If we have cruelty, wickedness, negativity, et al, is because we adopted them, not God. This is the price to pay after creating the wrong thoughts, emotions, feelings and passions, and putting them into action.

We already know that evil and negativity are only references for us to exercise free will, and they are not choices. Hence we are obligated to avoid them in all levels of consciousness and choose Love’s ways and attributes as the right choices. We are obligated to eradicate evil from human consciousness, and that includes fascism, racism, totalitarianism and fundamentalism in all their forms and ways.

Eradicating negativity as a choice is the beginning to truly love ourselves, and by extension to love others. Let’s be loving enough and mindful enough to realize that ego’s fantasies and materialistic desires trigger our separation from Love as our true Essence, and also from our individual and collective well being. We live secured and protected in Love’s ways and attributes, because they comprise the Land, with is also the higher consciousness that God’s Love gives us to reveal His Presence in the world, as He says: “You shall perform My statutes, keep My ordinances and perform them, then you will live on the Land securely.” (25:18) and as long as we do it, “(…) the Land will then yield its fruit and you will eat to satiety, and live upon it securely.” (25:19).

Trading or replacing our higher consciousness with something different is inconceivable because this awareness emanates from the Creator, and is sustained by Him: “The Land shall not be sold permanently, for the Land belongs to Me, for you are strangers and residents with Me.” (25:23). Indeed we are passers-by in the material world. Nothing belongs to us, including Love as the Essence and identity that God gives us to know Him and to reveal Him in who we are.

This is the context in which we understand this verse: “Therefore, throughout the Land of your possession, you shall give redemption for the Land.” (25:24), because through Love’s qualities and traits as the Land that God gives us, we redeem ourselves from the fantasies and illusions of the material world, that which ego wants to make real (only in ego’s dreams!), and we also must redeem the goodness of Love from the burdens of the material world.

The following verses indicate the dynamics and practicality of Love in our consciousness as the means to make Love prevail in our midst: “If your brother becomes destitute and his hand falters beside you, you shall support him [whether] a convert or a resident, so that he can live with you. (…) and you shall revere Your God, and let your brother live with you.” (25:35-36). We honor and revere our God when we share our individual lot of Love with those whose awareness of Love is diminished, in order to help them increase their lot.

The Love that God gives us as our higher consciousness is destined to be manifest in all aspects, levels and dimensions of our lives. As we said, this is the way He wants us to serve Him and this is why He chose us from among the nations: “I am the Lord your God, who took you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, to be a God to you.” (25:38). In other words, He redeemed us from the house of slavery in order for us to dwell in His ways and attributes; and, as long as we do that, He is our God.

The Creator is God to us because He delivered us from the land of Egypt to give us the Land of Israel. Only in this context we can understand that we are His servants: “For the children of Israel are servants to Me; they are My servants, whom I took out of the land of Egypt. [For] I am the Lord, your God.” (25:55).

In this awareness there is no room for ego’s fantasies and illusions as negative addictions and attachments in our consciousness: “You shall not make idols for yourselves, nor shall you set up a statue or a monument for yourselves. And in your Land you shall not place a pavement stone on which to prostrate yourselves, for I am the Lord, your God.” (26:1).

As we have repeated, Love does not coexist with anything different from its ways and attributes. The principle of this awareness is reaffirmed in the last verse of Behar, in which the unity with the Creator in His Shabbat and His Temple is the premise to fully experience the meaning of living in His ways and attributes, as the source of our true Essence and identity: “You shall keep My Shabbats and revere My Sanctuary. [For] I am the Lord.” (26:2).

The service of God is our identity and destiny, and in this awareness we settle in our country because such is our Land: “And You gave them this Land which You swore to their fathers to give them, a Land flowing with milk and honey.” (Jeremiah 32:22) and this Land is the sweetness of God’s 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.
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