Parshat Vayelech: The choice to return to God

Our highest knowledge of the Creator (represented by Moses) is our natural guide toward our permanent connection with Him (represented by Aaron, the High Priest). Moses sets up the tabernacle for Aaron to officiate in it, and in this sequence of action we allow God to direct every aspect of our life because He is the means and the end in which we must conduct ourselves; as Moses teaches us.

“The Lord, your God, He will cross before you; He will destroy these nations from before you so that you will possess them. The Lord He is the One who goes before you; He will be with you; He will neither fail you, nor forsake you. Do not fear, and do not be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:3, 8)

The psalmist and all our prophets remind us of this truth, which we must enthrone in all levels and dimensions of consciousness. Hence it is our choice either to do so, or follow ego’s illusions and fantasies as the idols that we create out of a false sense of lack.

Trusting God’s love is trusting love as our true essence and identity, as well as the power and strength that fights for us against the idols of materialism.

“And the Lord will do to them, as He did to the Amorite kings, Sichon and Og, and to their land, [all of] which He destroyed.” (31:4)

This awareness we understand that only by living in love’s ways and attributes we indeed are delivered from ego’s illusions.

“And [when] the Lord delivers them before you, you shall do to them according to all the commandment that I have commanded you.” (31:5)

If we can’t trust God’s love as our Creator and our essence, we are probably trusting illusions that ultimately lead us to our estrangement from who we truly are, along with its negative consequences. Therefore, we must be unshakable.

“Be strong and courageous! Neither fear nor be dismayed of them, for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will neither fail you, nor forsake you.” (31:6)

Fantasies and illusions, by their nature, always forsake us because they are as insatiable as ego’s desires, like the eyes that are never filled with what they see.

We have to unite all traits, qualities, levels, aspects and dimensions of consciousness around God’s ways and attributes, and harmonize them toward His service.

“Assemble the people: the men, the women, and the children, and your stranger in your cities, in order that they hear, and in order that they learn and revere the Lord, your God, and they will observe to do all the words of this Torah.” (31:12)

We have to reiterate again that love, as the material manifestation of God’s love, does not dwell with anything different from its ways and attributes. This is an immutable principle that we must be aware of every moment in what we think, feel, sense, and do.

“And I will hide My face on that day, because of all the evil they have committed, when they turned to other deities.” (31:18)

If this awareness is not present anymore (represented by Moses’ death) we are at the mercy of our own materialistic illusions.

“For I know that after my death, you will surely become corrupted, and deviate from the way which I had commanded you. Consequently, the evil will befall you at the end of days, because you did evil in the eyes of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.” (31:29)

Our actions, “the work of our hands”, illustrate what we believe and what we follow. If they are not love’s ways, they are probably something that does not dwell with love.

We know quite well that we love selectively, and according to our ego’s agenda. We condition love to be what we want it to be, and not what it is; in the same way that many condition God to be their own “personal” god. They usually call it “my God” at their service, without ethics or moral values attached to it, a god of fanaticism.

We all know that it doesn’t work that way. Love inherently means and implies ethics, as God’s attributes also imply ethics. He is the God of the Torah and the Jewish Scriptures, the God whose Creation is an emanation of His love. The God who knows and loves His creation, including our human nature, the way He made us.

In His love, God gives us free will to choose between love and our illusions. He loves us unconditionally because He gives us free will. In His unconditional love, He awaits our return to Him as the essence of who we truly are.

Our prophets reiterate this truth in the haftarah for this portion.

“Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled in your iniquity. Take words with yourselves and return to the Lord. Say, “You shall forgive all iniquity and teach us [the] good [way], and let us render [for] bulls [the offering of] our lips.” (Hosea 14:2-3)

“Who is a God like You, who forgives iniquity and passes over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not maintain His anger forever, for He desires loving kindness. He shall return and grant us compassion. He shall hide our iniquities, and You shall cast into the depths of the sea all their sins. You shall give the truth of Jacob, the loving kindness of Abraham, which You swore to our forefathers from days of yore.” (Micah 7:18-20)

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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