Ariel Ben Avraham
Ariel Ben Avraham

Parshat Va’etchanan: Our bond with God’s love

Loving our Creator is the essential commandment to fully understand our relationship with Him, and our oneness with Him, as we realize the most important statement for Israel in the Torah.

“Hear [understand] Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

The realization of this statement is our heritage, our identity and the source of all our blessings. We have to reaffirm again this truth as the primordial message of our blog every moment of our lives and we do it by constantly loving Him.

Love is our common bond with the Creator, and this is why we have to be aware of love always.

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” (6:6)

This is not an entirely mystic or spiritual bonding with the Creator, but a very real and concrete experience in the material world, for being and manifesting our true essence and identity are the ways to reveal His presence in us and around us.

The first verses of this portion are an invitation to live such experience.

And I implored (va’etchanan) the Lord at that time, saying, ‘O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand, for who is [like] God in Heaven or on Earth who can do as Your deeds and Your might?” (3:23-24)

Our true reason to exist in this world is to experience our Creator and His love for all His creation. This happens when we, as part of His oneness, approach Him. Thus in that awareness we realize that we are truly alive.

“And you who cleave to the Lord your God are alive, all of you, today.” (4:4)

Today is the permanent time and space of the knowledge that His love is what creates and sustains of our life and everything that exists.

In this awareness we see and experience the blessings of love in who we are, and how we approach life and the material world. Hence, we have to be vigilant against ego’s fantasies and illusions as the idols that deny the preeminence of love.

“And you shall watch yourselves very well, for you did not see any image on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb [Sinai] from the midst of the fire.” (4:15)

Love does not cohabit with fantasies or illusions, and is the material manifestation of the divine fire that transmutes them, for us to see and live in God’s ways and attributes completely free from ego’s materialistic approach to life.

This vigilance must be permanent.

“Beware, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image, the likeness of anything, which the Lord your God has forbidden you.” (4:23)

In this context, we have to reiterate the inherent exclusivity of God’s love.

“For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a zealous [exclusive] God.” (4:24)

Thus is as the fire that consumes not only materialistic illusions but their negative expressions. Our mystic sages say that instead of fighting darkness we rather bring light to it, because with it we turn darkness into light.

This statement is deeper than we think. Darkness indeed is the necessary condition in order to make the light prevail. If there is no darkness, then what is it to be lighted up? We call darkness the negative conditions and situations we must transform with the fire of love.

This means that we have to add love in order to subtract egotism. In this sense, we do not have to fight or kill our egos but to redeem them from the negative effects of their attachment to lower thoughts, emotions, passions and instincts.

Let’s remind ourselves again that our choices either get us closer to God’s love or separate us from Him, because He never abandons us. When we disregard love as our true essence and identity we withdraw our consciousness to the realm of potentially negative emotions.

“And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will remain few in number among the nations to where the Lord will lead you.” (4:27)

In the absence of love in our lives, our positive traits and qualities are the minority amid the overwhelming power of lower emotions under ego’s desires and control. But as we know, God’s love is always present and available because He is the source and sustenance of all.

“And from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are distressed, and all these things happen upon you in the end of days, then you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice.” (4:29-30)

Let’s never forget this.

“For the Lord your God is a compassionate God; He will not let you lose or destroy you; neither will He forget the Covenant of your fathers, which He swore to them.” (4:31)

This is the covenant of love He gave us as our legacy, our heritage, and our identity for which we live to reveal Him in every dimension of our consciousness and in all His creation.

The haftarah for this portion reaffirms such principle in these two verses.

“And the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh together shall see that the mouth of the Lord spoke.” (Isaiah 40:5)

“Lift up your eyes on high and see, Who created these, Who takes out their multitudes by number; all of them He calls by name; because of His great might and because He is strong in power, no one is missing.” (40:26)

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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