Ariel Ben Avraham

Parshat Vayeira: Our identity as the perfect offering to God

We have said that our patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob epitomize the relationship between the Creator and Israel. We learn this relationship as we reflect on each episode and situation narrated in the Torah. We also said that in the awareness of God’s ways and attributes we know Him. The zenith, the highest point of this knowledge is represented by the akedah, the offering of Isaac to God.

We learn in the Torah that our three patriarchs represent primordial qualities of consciousness, as well as specific aspects of our relationship with the Creator. Abraham means our covenant with Him, Isaac our permanent connection with Him, and Jacob (Israel) our expression of them in the material world, in order to fulfill the covenant in the awareness of our connection with God (see in this blog our commentaries on Parshat Vayeira: “Life as an Offering to the Creator” of October 26, 2015 and “Living in the Unity of God’s Love” of November 4, 2014).

In this context, Isaac is the most important because he represents our eternal bond with the Creator. We as Israel conceive this bond in the total awareness that God is one and unique, that all that exists comes from Him, is sustained by Him, and belongs to Him. These principles are the foundation and the reason that led Abraham to bring up Isaac as an offering to the Owner of all. Both Abraham and Isaac shared this utmost awareness.

“(…) and the two of them went together.” (Genesis 22:6)

This awareness is the key to liberate our consciousness from its captivity under ego’s rule. When we fully realize that God is the only reality that is, all fantasies and illusions we make out of the material world disappear.

Our sages call Isaac “the perfect offering” because it is unblemished, transparent, clear, wholehearted, complete, upright, total. These are the traits and qualities inherent to God’s ways and attributes, which are the offering we elevate to the One who bestows them on us in order to live by, with and for them.

As we said earlier, we become these offerings when we fully realize that life and all its levels and dimensions don’t belong to us but to our Creator. We come to this awareness when we truly can tell between the blessing of God’s love as love in the material world, and the curse as ego’s negative desires and illusions.

Once we enthrone love as the ruler and conductor of all aspects of life, ego’s rule and dominion disappear. In other words, as soon as we realize that every aspect and dimension of what we call existence belong to the Creator, we realize that they also belong to His ways and attributes.

“(…) and you did not withhold your son, your only one, from Me.” (22:12)

Likewise, as we follow His ways, attributes and commandments, we rejoice in the delights of the awareness that we belong to Him. The name Isaac (which means I shall laugh/rejoice) encompasses the experience of this awareness, as his mother Sarah says.

“God has made joy for me; whoever hears will rejoice over me [on my behalf].” (21:6)

This is the primordial teaching in the meanings of the akedah, the offering of Isaac in which we rejoice when we bond with God’s love through our love.

Love makes us good, wholehearted, complete, unblemished, total, upright, righteous, just, and everything that turns darkness into light, negative into positive, wrong into right, lack into abundance, depression into fulfillment, hate into solidarity, indifference into care, indolence into protection, cruelty into generosity, envy into sharing, avarice into plenitude, egotism into kindness.

Love is the catalyst, the fire that transmutes curses into blessings. Love is the perfect offering that unites us with the source of its goodness. Hence, we love in order to be with God’s love. We love because God loves us in order to share with us His ways and attributes. Our fathers Abraham and Isaac realized this transcendental truth attained in their unconditional devotion to the Creator.

This is an essential part of their legacy for us, through which we assimilate that we are God’s chosen because of this legacy. We too recognize that we belong to Him, and our reward is to rejoice in His love as our essence and true identity.

“And through your children shall be blessed all the nations of the world, because you hearkened to My voice.” (22:18)

This is who we are and what we have, the lot of our happiness. Love is our portion of the Torah we ask God every day to give us, because is our sustenance and means to know His love in His ways, attributes and commandments.

We recall this in our Jewish daily prayers.

“(…) give us our lot in Your Torah, and our hearts will eagerly follow Your commandments”, for our sages say that he who studies the Torah everyday “the ways of the world are his [the ways of the Torah]”.

The same goes for love because the ways of the world are love’s. They also say that those who study the Torah [God’s instruction and ways] increase peace in the world. Likewise, love increases peace in the word as we allow it to rule over all dimensions of life.

This is what others see in us when we become God’s ways and attributes.

“Abimelech and Phicol his general said to Abraham, saying, ‘God is with you in all that you do’.” (21:22)

This is thus, for when we walk in His ways we reveal His presence in the material world. This is the reason God chose Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be the bearers of His love for humankind and all His creation. This awareness has a time and space that occupy all dimensions of life and consciousness.

This time and space mean always and everywhere because this awareness transcends material reality. This is one of the reasons the covenant (through circumcision) is commanded by God to take place on the eighth day after we are born. In Judaism the eighth day symbolizes existence beyond time and space, free from all limitations we can conceive.

Let’s be always aware that we elevate love as our true essence and identity to God’s love. Both loves become one in a place and time in consciousness that are also eternal.

“And Abraham named that place, The Lord shall see, as it is said to this day: On the mountain, the Lord will be seen [will appear].” (22:14)

In this eternal place and time in consciousness God appears to us and we see Him. This takes place in Jerusalem, in Zion, in the temple mount of the eternal and indivisible capital of Israel. The time is always now, and the place is always the temple of Jerusalem where we fulfill the total awareness of our permanent connection with the Creator. This is our total and complete freedom from material fantasies and illusions, and our true redemption.

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 Zefat.
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