Vayishlach: Confronting and defeating our enemies

Consciousness experiences division as we engage in negative thoughts, emotions and feelings that lead us to negative actions.

“Jacob became very frightened and was distressed; so he divided the people who were with him and the flocks and the cattle and the camels into two camps.” (Genesis 32:8)

We have remarked this situation in our previous commentaries in this blog about this portion of the Torah. This time we emphasize on the consequences of fracturing consciousness by disregarding our permanent connection with the Creator.

The lesson from our father Jacob’s distress are twofold. On one side, we must be humble enough to recognize that we are not perfect and negative illusions of the material world can overwhelm us. On the other hand, there are situations that we just can’t handle when fear and doubt undermine our wisdom, understanding and knowledge of who we are, including our connection and/or relationship with God. The realm of negative illusions is indeed overwhelming because we actually live in them.

What can we consider “real” in life when most of what we live and experience every day are illusions? Things change as we change our perception and approach to them. This is already part of an illusion as we face the material reality from different levels of consciousness with different approaches. In this sense we have to make a detailed inventory of what we consider true and false.

At this point we discern on right and wrong, useful and useless, positive and negative, etc. and start making the choices that determine what is truly real for us. Real as true, right, positive, constructive and uplifting such as joy, kindness, truth and plenitude. All these in abundance. A place and time in consciousness where there is no lack whatsoever, in which love rules as the material manifestation of God’s love.

Let’s reflect again on Jacob’s situation before meeting his brother Esau. He received God’s promise to protect him, met with God’s angels in his way, and prevailed over the angel of Esau in a nightlong struggle. Why was he afraid of his brother? We reiterate that the answer is related to entering in the realm of the lower aspects of consciousness, represented by Esau. Approaching Esau implies to come down to situations and circumstances we rather fear. In this context “to fear” means to avoid. Jacob wanted to avoid meeting Esau but he couldn’t.

This happens to us when we want to settle in the highest realms of consciousness. At some point we must meet our lower emotions, feelings, passions and instincts not to descend to them and get trapped by them, but to elevate them and transform them into positive expressions of life.

We can’t get into Jacob’s thoughts at that time, but we can put on his shoes in similar situations we live every day. Some of us rather avoid engaging with negative people or bad situations that we are aware we can’t change into a positive outcome. We rather back off and if possible keep away from them, but that is not the way because our mission as Jews is to be the light for the nations. This means to be the redeemers amid the darkness that threatens to end the goodness that life is.

We have to meet Esau, we must confront our enemies and defeat them once and for all. We can’t afford to dwell and cohabit with what undermines our principles as love’s ways and attributes. As we said earlier, we are aware that these enemies can be overwhelming, but if God’s love sustains our love, what could be against? As we are fully aware of this, we don’t have to fear or avoid that which denies and harms the goodness of who we are.

We must ask ourselves in honesty and truth if we are ready to confront and subdue the negative traits that have the potential to destroy love’s ways and attributes. Should we rather appease them by feeding them with ox, ships, goats, donkeys and camels as Jacob did with Esau? Or should we confront them with angels as the ways of good deeds and actions that all aspects of consciousness must manifest in life?

Our approach to what Esau represents is either to redirect his approach towards a positive end, or to vanish him as the mortal enemy who wants to destroy us. Let’s be aware that our enemies dwell both within our consciousness and, as a consequence of this, also outside in the world.

In our current times we are again confronted by Esau’s threat to kill us. Israel is surrounded by Islamic fundamentalist terrorists that want to destroy us because Israel’s values represent the opposite to their principles. History repeats itself time and again against us, and we don’t need to sacrifice more Jewish lives to appease our enemies.

Millions have already being sacrificed throughout history, and the lessons are fully learned: Never again! If our enemies want to destroy us, we are ready to destroy them before they strike. God is on our side, we have His blessings since He blessed our forefathers. Now we have to make God’s blessings manifest by unequivocally being and doing who we are as the people of His covenant. We are the good guys, we know this, and the whole world also knows it.

The moment is now and the place is where we are to confront the negative aspects of consciousness that pursue our destruction. It’s either them, or our permanent awareness of God’s love as our essence and true identity. It is about who we really are, or the negative illusions in which our enemies live.

Let’s be fully aware that we are ready now to confront and defeat our enemies both within ourselves and in the world.

“Shall I not in that day, says the Lord, destroy wise men from Edom and discernment from the mountain of Esau? And your mighty men shall be dismayed, O dwellers of the south land, in order that every man be cut off from the mountain of Esau by slaughter. Because of the violence of your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever.” (Obadiah 1:8-10)

“And the house of Jacob shall be fire and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau shall become stubble, and they shall ignite them and consume them, and the house of Esau shall have no survivors, for the Lord has spoken.” (1:18)

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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