Parshat Matot: Love as the foundation of life

The previous three biblical portions (parshiot) are related because every event is the consequence of the preceding.

In Balak, the transgression of harlotry with the daughters of Moab had negative consequences which led the children of Israel to realize that the zeal of the permanent awareness of our closeness to God’s love must be present always.

As we mentioned in our commentary on Pinchas, this zeal is fundamental to embrace God’s ways and attributes as the means to free our consciousness from ego’s materialistic desires, fantasies and illusions. This zeal is also the foundation of our loyalty, faithfulness and devotion as the vows we make in order to approach the material world with the truthfulness that love is.

Vows are the main subject presented in Matot to the people of Israel.

“Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes (matot) of the children of Israel (…)” (Numbers 30:2)

Again, the heads of the tribes are pointed out as the most refined traits and qualities that enable us to conduct all dimensions of consciousness. Refinement is acquired through experience, by trial and error, by discerning true from false, good from evil. The following section of Matot precedes a crucial commandment.

“Take revenge for the children of Israel against the Midianites (…), afterwards you will be gathered to your people.” (31:2)

It is given to Moses as the highest awareness of the Creator, because in this knowledge we can gather all our levels of consciousness in order to lead them in God’s ways with which we dissipate the negative traits and trends that curse life. And this knowledge must be directed by Pinchas, the zeal of God’s love.

“And Moses sent them (…) Pinchas the son of Elazar the priest (…)” (31:6)

We have said that Midian means strife, dispute as the result of poor clarity in our individual awareness of God’s love in our life. In this sense strife is the antagonist of our zeal of love’s attributes in our consciousness.

Our Sages also define strife as the root of separation and division, and in this sense both are ego’s typical expressions to reaffirm its “independence” from the oneness that God’s love is.

The war against Midian means to re-direct our thoughts, ideas, beliefs, conceptions, emotions, feelings, and passions into the unifying and harmonizing ways of God’s love as our true essence and identity.

After we win this war led by our highest awareness and zeal of the greatest love of all, the entire Israel is gathered together with their natural leader, which is our individual and collective knowledge that God’s love encompasses and pervades all His creation.

Our awareness of God is the one and only leader that takes us back to our true identity.

“Moses said to them, ‘If you do this thing, if you arm yourselves for battle before the Lord, and your armed force crosses the Jordan before the Lord until He has driven out His enemies before Him” (32:20-21)

The message is clear, and the “if” means that it is up to us to battle the dark side of our consciousness with love as the “armed force” that we have before the Lord, because it comes from His love.

“And the [promised] land will be conquered before the Lord, (…) and this land will become your heritage before the Lord.” (32:22)

Hence when life is led by love’s ways and attributes, it becomes our promised land.

If we act against our true essence and identity, we are simply acting against He who created us and sustains us.

“But, if you do not do so, behold, you will have sinned against the Lord, and be aware of your sin which will find you.” (32:23)

Again, the choice is only ours. God’s love is unconditional because He gave us free will to make up to us the choice between Love’s ways and ego’s illusions. Love is the choice of Israel as the chosen people to reveal the presence of the Creator in the world.

Our mission is to be light for the nations, as the ones who live with, from and by the love of God. This Love is mutual, as it is reminded by the prophet in the haftarah for this portion.

“Israel is holy to the Lord, the first of His grain; all who eat him shall be guilty, evil shall befall them, says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 2:3)

God’s love is the foundation to build on, to enhance and to elevate live for His sake, as the cause and effect of all that is.

If we don’t see or experience this fundamental principle in our individual and collective consciousness, then our duty is to reinstate it by clearing the darkness that became cause and effect of all our miseries in the material world.

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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