Parshat Vayeitzei: Learning how to deal with evil

In this portion we see the interaction of good and evil, and the consequences goodness has to carry when dealing with wickedness. In human consciousness’ dual approach in the material world, it is hard to see a clear separation from good and evil because they are intertwined. Both seem to be tied to one another, and the Torah teaches us to differentiate both through discerning their traits, ways and attributes.

As we discern those, we become aware of the ethical principles that define the Jewish way of life, which aim to make goodness prevail in all aspects and facets of life. Thus we realize that Jacob as the Jewish people are God’s chosen to fulfill His will to make goodness the blessing in the material world. Thus we know that goodness is our essence and true identity in which all is blessed.

“(…) and in you and in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 28:14)

As we mentioned above, in this portion we have a glimpse of the intricacies of dealing with negative traits and trends in consciousness and the perils we encounter when we have to interact with them. In summary we can learn immediately that as long as we cohabit with anything different from the ways and attributes of goodness we lose, for there is no gain in evil but what it brings to us. Yet evil needs goodness in order to sustain itself, because evil can’t exist or be sustained by itself.

“And Laban said to him: ‘If now I have found favor in your eyes, [for] I have observed the signs, and the Lord has blessed me because of you’.” (30:27)

Jacob’s lesson for his descendants in regards with dealing with wickedness is to be always better than evil, by continuously choosing the blessings of goodness instead of falling down to ego’s materialistic fantasies and illusions, with their negative trends.

“And it came to pass, whenever the stronger of the flock did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the flock in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods; but when the flock were feeble, he put them not in; so the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s.” (30:41-42)

Another lesson, this time from God’s love, is not to spend our life dealing with the evil ways and expressions in human consciousness, particularly when we are not able to change their nature or predicament. The lessons we learn from evil is to stay away from negative traits and trends, and even farther away from wicked people.

Once we make goodness rule and direct all expressions of life in ourselves individually, then we look forward to join those who also want to live in the same land, the same goodness from which God created us that is His promised land.

“Now arise, get yourself out from this land and return unto the land of your nativity.” (31:13)
In this full awareness we must establish a separation between the holiness of goodness and what is profane and impure, as it goes between light and darkness, the Sabbath and the other six days of the week, Israel and the nations. Thus we realize that love’s ways and attributes do not cohabit with ego’s fantasies and illusions.

“May this heap be a witness and the pillar be a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, and that you shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for evil. (31:52)

In this separation and distinction we choose to dwell in the goodness God’s wants us to live and make prevail in this world.

“And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And Jacob said when he saw them: ‘This is God’s camp’. And he called the name of that place Mahanaim.” (32:2:1)

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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