Ariel Ben Avraham
Ariel Ben Avraham

Parshat Ki Teitzei: Ethics of love’s ways and attributes

“When you go out to war on your enemies, the Lord your God shall deliver them into your hands.” (Deuteronomy 21:10)

This verse contains the assurance that when love’s ways and attributes confront ego’s materialistic illusions, love as the attitude and altitude from which we approach the pain, and suffering as their result, God delivers them in our hands.

In our hands, because in the same way that our negative behavior takes our hands to do and experience harmful thoughts, hurtful emotions and destructive passions, also with our hands we rectify and enhance our deeds and actions under the guidance of love’s attributes.

As we mention often, love is the catalyst to transform and refine the negative traits, conceptions and habits when we live under ego’s rule.

This transformation starts when we are able to see the potential goodness, righteousness and virtues of our thoughts, emotions, feelings, passions and instincts; the beauty we can embrace when we live in love’s ways.

“If you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire her (…)” (21:11)

The same emotions, feelings, passions and instincts we experience negatively such as depression, sadness, anger, greed, indolence, etc. we also can experience the opposite when love fills them all.

We start doing it with our own life, and once we are strengthened with the complete awareness of God’s love in our consciousness, we help those in our immediate surroundings, our loved ones including our fellow Jews.

“You shall not see your brother’s ox or sheep straying, and ignore them. [Rather,] You shall return them to your brother.” (22:1)

We must not be indifferent to our brother’s ego’s lower desires and passions (their strayed “ox” and “sheep”).

Regarding the issue of gender identity, we are by birth endowed with two polarities, male and female, that we are summoned to develop and direct under God’s will in His Torah, the commandments of God’s love for Israel.

These two polarities must coexist in a working and purposeful harmony. We know that we all strive to balance them the best way we can in order to live individually as well as collectively in harmony. Both polarities, as well as the rest of our levels and dimensions of consciousness, must be guided and directed by love’s ways and attributes and not to be led strayed by ego’s fantasies and illusions.

Masculine and feminine are the two fundamental principles of material creation, and we have to “dress” them with their own respective inherent traits and qualities, in order to cultivate them as the enhancing complementing energies that keep the balance of our material existence.

“A man’s attire shall not be on a woman, nor may a man wear a woman’s garment because whoever does these [things] is detestable to the Lord, your God.” (22:5)

The ethical lessons continue in this portion, and compassion among them as one of the essential ways and attributes of love.

“You shall send away the mother, and [then] you may take the young for yourself, in order that it should be good for you, and you should lengthen your days.” (22:7)

Also to remark that the commandments (the rational and the supra-rational as well) are given for us to refine and enhance our individual and collective lives, as ethical and moral principles that ensure a life dedicated to justice, peace, and happiness for all, and not simply to please the Creator. We are reminded of this.

“If you sin, how have you affected Him? If your transgressions multiply, what do you do to Him? If you are righteous, what do you give Him? What can He possible receive from your hand? (Job 35:6-7)

Our sages say that even if (God forbid!) He is not with us, we have to live by the truth of justice and righteousness for our own individual and collective sake. In this sense, life is a matter of ethics in order to coexist and survive as loving human beings and not as wild beasts.

We are talking about the ethics of love’s ways and attributes, that we must preserve and protect by being and manifesting love as our identity.

“When you build a new house, you shall make a guardrail for your roof, so that you shall not cause blood [to be spilled] in your house, that the one who falls should fall from it [the roof].” (Deuteronomy 22:8)

In the process of building love’s values in our consciousness (the house) we have to make them prevail in every aspect of what we are, have and do, thus we guard and protect ourselves from falling down into negative illusions that end up destroying the foundations of love’s ways and attributes by letting illusions take over our consciousness, and bringing disgrace to what we consider the most cherished and sacred asset of all.

We must walk in the ways of the blessings of love, God’s love in our consciousness, and separate from the curses of a loveless life represented by Canaanite nations.

“But the Lord, your God, did not want to listen to Balaam. So the Lord, your God, transformed the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord, your God, loves you.” (23:6)

As we already know, His love is with us as long as we allow Him in all aspects of consciousness.

“For the Lord, your God, goes along in the midst of your camp, to rescue you and to deliver your enemies before you. [Therefore,] Your camp shall be holy, so that He should not see anything unseemly among you and would turn away from you.”(23:15)

Hence selling our awareness of love to materialistic illusions is how we separate from the Creator.

This portion with its many commandments ends reminding us to destroy the memory, the thought, the feeling and the emotion of doubt, uncertainty and hesitation regarding the only true choice of all that is living in love’s ways and attributes.

“[Therefore,] it will be, when the Lord your God grants you respite from all your enemies around [you] in the land which the Lord, your God, gives to you as an inheritance to possess, that you shall obliterate the remembrance of Amalek from beneath the heavens. You shall not forget!” (25:19)

Let’s be aware always that God is our Creator, and His love is our essence and identity for which we have to live every moment. Love is what we are made of, love is who we are, and love is what we have to manifest.

Ego’s fantasies are ephemeral and they abandon us in their illusion, while love’s ways always remain and are waiting for us to return to them.

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.
Related Topics
Related Posts