Parshat Ki Teitzei: God’s love in our consciousness
“If you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God, will deliver them into your hands (…)” (Deuteronomy 21:10) contains two statements. The first one is when we go out to confront our enemies, and the second tells us that God is who defeats them. Indeed we exit the peace and balance of our consciousness in order to “go out” to face issues, situations and people that in one way or another disturb our peace and balance. This seems to be the predicament of our lives on a daily basis amid ego’s fantasies and illusions in the material world.
We experience separation and isolation from a reality that seems to exist on the grounds of culture, ideology, fashion, and social patterns that demand from us everything we can be, have and do, but not from who we really are. It’s called consumer society in which we live to think, feel, speak and act based on its trends and not on our true essence and identity. The more you have, the more you are respected; the more you act out of fashion’s trends, the more you are emulated; the more unreal you are, the more admired you are. These fantasies and illusions, derived from ego’s materialistic desires, are the inner and outer enemies that we must to fight as we go out into the world. In this process the only reality that exists, God’s love as our true essence, fights our wars against the illusions we deal with every moment, day in and day out. God delivers our enemies as long as He dwells with us, within our consciousness, and the only way to have Him with us is by creating a space for Him.
This place is named Jerusalem and its Temple, as the highest awareness of our connection with God. This is why we pray daily asking Him to rebuild Jerusalem because in this awareness lies our Redemption from the negativity we have been trapped for a long, long time. Our Sages say that “God doesn’t dwell with the proud because he is full of himself”, and he is not willing to make room for God neither in his consciousness or his heart. This means that when one doesn’t want to embrace His ways and attributes, he rather lives in ego’s illusions.
God is sacred and He wants us to be sacred to Him, so He may dwell in us to fight our enemies: “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). Let’s be mindful that God is not separated from us, we separate from Him; and it’s up to us to be the sacred people He wants us to be. Let’s also be aware that our choice benefits us, not Him. God is the blessing in the “camp” of our life, and defeats the curse we find in the negative aspects of consciousness as well as in the material reality.
Our mystic Sages say that we are in the field of life to reveal the concealed Divine Presence in the world. This means that first we have to reveal Him in our own consciousness. There is no other way. We find our Creator in what is sacred for Him in us, because in His ways and attributes we are able to embrace the awareness of His love as our essence and identity. We learn to know Him through His Torah, which “its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace.” (Proverbs 3:17) and Torah’s paths are God’s paths. The Torah shows us how He relates with us and His Creation, and we learn that through our daily Torah study in order to be able to confront the darkness of material illusions.
We already know that love does not coexist with anything different from its ways and attributes, and this is the same context when we said above that God does not dwell with the proud. First we must remove what is useless in terms of beliefs, thoughts, desires, emotions, feelings, passion and instinct, including what makes us doubt and feel weak in our true purpose in life.
There are times in which we give more credit to what separates us and isolates us than the opposite. We rather trust and bend to lack in ego’s fantasies and illusions than embracing the abundance of love’s attributes as our real fulfillment and true happiness: “[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!” (Deuteronomy 25:19).
Amalek represents not only doubt, uncertainty and hesitation regarding choosing what is good and right for us. He also represents all that is contrary to what is good and right. This is why we are strongly commanded to erase him completely from the world, by remembering every day what he did to our ancestors in their way out of Egypt. In other words, we have to keep on guard constantly against all that opposes love’s ways and attributes.
Amalek represents cruelty, abuse, humiliation, mockery and oppression against the weak: “How he fell upon you on the way and massacred your stragglers, all those who trailed after you when you were faint and spent, and he did not fear God” (25:18), and we have to take this commandment one step further by applying it to our own consciousness, because these negative and destructive traits are latent in our discernment, thought, emotions, feelings, passions and instincts.
Ego’s selfishness can be ruthless with our compassion, destructive with our kindness, indifferent with our good values and principles, and indolence can eliminate positive endeavors. In this Commandment the Creator reminds us to be strong in who we truly are, and protect ourselves with the blessing of love and goodness which are our common bond with His love and goodness.
Thus He will be with us fighting our enemies to settle us permanently in His Promised Land, in the ways of pleasantness and peace: “For your Master is your Maker, the Lord of Hosts is His Name, and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, shall be called the God of all the Earth. (…) ‘For the mountains shall depart and the hills totter, but My loving kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the Covenant of My peace totter,’ says the Lord who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:5, 10).