Ariel Ben Avraham
Ariel Ben Avraham

Parshat Vayetzei: Living between good and evil

We reiterate constantly that goodness is the land where the Creator wants us to dwell, for it is an eternal inheritance for Israel. Hence we indeed are protected by the ways, means and attributes of goodness. Even if we don’t live in this land, the land itself will bring us back to her, for through goodness God constantly relates to us.

“And behold, I am with you and will protect you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done that which I have spoken to you about’.” (Genesis 28:15)

In this sense, as long as we live in, with, by and for goodness, wherever we go it remains with us as the protecting shield that makes us aware of where we belong. This verse encompasses not only an immediate reality but a permanent one, as we read “until God have done what He has spoken”, which we can fathom not as something temporary but actually eternal.

That which God spoke to Jacob, that is not revealed in the Torah, encompasses Israel’s covenant with Him as the starting point of what is destined to be eternal. Thus we understand that for such mission, God is permanently close to His people, even in times when adversity is apparently greater than goodness.

“And this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house; and of all that You shall give me I will surely give the tenth to You’.” (28:22)

Jacob realizes that the time and space of his encounter with the Creator are one, as the convergence point between the two parts of the Covenant. This convergence is the dynamic process of exchanging the divine goodness which God infuses in His creation with the goodness emanated from human consciousness that also infuses every aspect and expression of life, for goodness is its purpose in this world.

“And out of Your hand we have given You.” (I Chronicles 29:14)

Hence we need God’s goodness in order to give it back to Him as positive deeds and actions, in the total awareness that all comes from Him, including what Jacob asks in order to fulfill his part of the Covenant.

“Take with you words, and return to the Lord. Say to Him, ‘Forgive all iniquity, and accept that which is good; so will we render for bullocks the offering of our lips.” (Hosea 14:3)

The prophet also reminds us that goodness is the way that takes us back to God.

The words of our prayer coming from our lips are taken by Him as the offerings that we once brought to the Temple of Jerusalem, where our goodness converges with His goodness. Our prayer asks Him to take what is good in us and dismiss what it isn’t. This makes us realize that our part of the Covenant is to live in goodness in order to enable its unfathomable traits be revealed into this world.

God’s goodness is far greater than the one we see and live in this world.

In this awareness ego’s materialistic fantasies and illusions, as the idols that we create for ourselves, disappear and empty the vessels of our consciousness in order to be filled only with the goodness that God wants us to enjoy in the Messianic era. Thus we will harvest the fruits that He has promised the children of Israel in their final redemption.

“Ephraim [shall say], ‘What have I to do any more with idols?’ As for Me, I respond and look on him, ‘I am like a leafy cypress tree, from Me is your fruit found.” (14:9)

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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