Tag Archives: Abraham

The Sixties Radical-Azriel The Purpose of Evil

This concept literally blows my mind. G-d created evil so that we could have freedom of choice. G-d also created evil to have perfect balance between good and evil.

Judah convinced his brothers to sell Joseph as a slave. They then sent Joseph’s robe, smeared with goat blood, to Jacob. Jacob mourned for Joseph inconsolably. The brothers then shunned Judah for not insisting that they return Joseph to Jacob. Judah left Hebron, married, and had three sons. He married off his eldest to Tamar, who was anxious to bear Judah’s descendants. When Judah’s eldest died, he married his second son to her; when the second son also died, Judah was afraid to marry his third son to her. Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute in order to trick Judah into having children by her.

[Judah] named [Tamar’s firstborn] Peretz. Genesis 38:29

The Messiah is descended from Judah through his and Tamar’s son Peretz. In order to understand why it was necessary for the Messiah to enter the world in such a seemingly scandalous way, we need to recall that G‑d only created evil in order for there to be free choice. In order for free choice to exist, the forces of evil and the forces of good have to be perfectly balanced.

When the messianic line was about to enter the world, the forces of evil “argued” that the balance was about to be tipped against them. Therefore, the union that would bear the ancestor of the Messiah had to occur in a way that the forces of evil would consider beneficial to them. Just as in military strategy, an army sometimes pretends to retreat in order to draw the enemy into a vulnerable position, the forces of holiness here yielded a seeming victory to the forces of evil in the form of this seemingly sinful act, in order to gain the upper hand.1 Derech Mitzvotecha 32a–32b; Or HaTorah, Bereishit, vol. 6, 1096b–1097a.


The Sixties Radical-Azriel True Wealth

They key to my relationship with G-d is simple sincerity.  By doing this I can relate to all of my fellows no matter how different they are from me.

“After having served Laban faithfully for 14 years, Jacob worked for him for another six years in order to build up his personal wealth.

The man thus became exceedingly prosperous. Genesis 30:43

Aside from his material wealth, Jacob also attained true, spiritual wealth: he succeeded in raising all of his children to follow in the righteous ways of Abraham and Isaac, and did not produce a single wicked son (of the likes of Esau or Ishmael, who were born to his forbears Abraham and Isaac).

Jacob was able to do this because he synthesized the inspirational approach of Abraham and the self-disciplining approach of Isaac. By relating to G‑d with simple sincerity, Jacob both transcended the differences between the opposite approaches of his forebears and was able to relate equally well to each of his children’s different personalities. It was also because of his simple sincerity that Jacob was able to outwit the crafty, scheming Laban.

Jacob’s example teaches us that while logic and reason have their place, the foundation of our relationship with G‑d is simple, sincerity. This sincerity then enables us to relate effectively to others no matter how different they may be from us.1 ikutei Sichot, vol. 1, pp. 63–65; Sichot Kodesh 5740, vol. 1, pp. 448–451.


The Sixties Radical-Azriel True Love

L-rd transform my love for seven-layer cake into a true love for G-d.

Revive me HaShem show and do your love in all of thoughts, deeds, and actions.

“After chronicling Abraham’s death, the Torah lists the descendants of Ishmael before continuing with the chronicle of Isaac in the next section.

[Ishmael] dwelled throughout the area [settled by] all his descendants. Genesis 25:18

Literally, the Hebrew original reads: “He fell throughout the area. . . . ” Ishmael was the “fallen” version of Abraham. Abraham personified holy love – love for G‑d and kindness to others. Ishmael personified love in its “fallen” version, an obsessive desire for physicality and sensuality.

In our own lives, it is our task to transform our love and passion for material things – the fallen love of Ishmael – into a holy love for G‑d.1 Sefer HaMa’amarim 5648, p. 196.


The Sixties Radical-Azriel Food!

All creation has a body and a soul.  The food we eat has vitality. Food has the energy of G-d. This energy or speech of G-d becomes impregnated in all creation.  When we(I) eat food, we are not only ingesting the physical elements of food we are also ingesting the spiritual elements of the food.

The Torah wants us to know that not only is there a physical experience when we(I) eat food there is also a spiritual experience associated with the food we ingest.  Thus the soul of the food nourishes the soul of the person.

The Sixties Radical-Azriel The Reward of Discipline

It is never too late for someone who has strayed away from HaShem to come back.  Sarah kept fighting for Ismael to repent. This fight brought a profound change in Ismael.

Shortly after Isaac married Rebecca, Abraham remarried Hagar, and had six more sons through her. Years later, when he was 175 years old, Abraham died.

[Abraham’s] sons – Isaac and Ishmael – buried him in the Machpeilah Cave. Genesis 25:9

Isaac is mentioned first, indicating that although Ishmael was the elder son, he allowed Isaac to lead the funeral. Ishmael thus demonstrated that he had truly repented: His primary sin had been his claim to Isaac’s inheritance; it was only after Abraham died that Ishmael could have made this claim, yet he did not.

Sarah deserves the credit for Ishmael’s improvement of character. Her insistence on directing Ishmael properly eventually led him to repent enough to recognize the truth of Isaac’s primacy. Following Sarah’s example, we too should not give up or shy away from correcting and assisting those who truly need our help in the ongoing challenge of self-refinement.1 Likutei Sichot, vol. 15, pp. 149–150.


The Sixties Radical-Azriel Lighting Up the World

Women have a gift from G-d. This gift is the powerful anointing to influence the spiritual character of a home.

Eliezer set out with Rebecca back to Canaan to meet Isaac. After Isaac and Rebecca married, Rebecca assumed Sarah’s place as the family matriarch.

Eliezer set out with Rebecca back to Canaan to meet Isaac. After Isaac and Rebecca married, Rebecca assumed Sarah’s place as the family matriarch. Genesis 24:67

Although Abraham lit the Sabbath candles after Sarah’s passing (for he observed all the Torah’s commandments), his candles did not remain lit throughout the week, as Sarah’s had. But when Rebecca began kindling the Sabbath lights, her candles continued to burn miraculously the whole week.

This demonstrates the unique ability of Jewish women and girls – who are all “daughters” of Sarah and Rebecca – to influence the spiritual character of the home, illuminating it with the holiness of the Sabbath throughout the ensuing mundane week. Although the illumination provided by their candles might be physically visible for only a limited time, their spiritual illumination continues throughout the entire week.1 Likutei Sichot, vol. 11, pp. 283–284, vol. 15, pp. 171–173