Monday, November 18, 2013

Back to The Religion.

  Parashas Vayishlach
  Rabbi David Katz

Parashas Vayishlach resonates on one frequency that gives a certain bling to any time period in Torah history, and this pitch is none other than "religion." Our Parasha is unique in this respect, for in her contents lie the essential core of the three foundational pillars that make up our society over all of time, in Jacob, Esav, and Yishmael. As a staple of Chazal, it is said that the peoples of planet Earth will always boil down to these three, even against all odds; as east west and central parts of the planet are composed of these three figure heads. Although the Torah latent in the three dynasties is practically infinite, the focus of the parasha due to its imagery can very simply point to one direction: religion. To put it simply, "A long time ago, in 'galaxy' far far away there was Jacob, Esav, and Yishmael…while today we call it Christianity, Islam, and Zionism" … [and along the way Judaism fell in love with the 4th entity, the Ger]. And I assume in the end they lived happily ever after? – That would be the plot in "Return of the Ger," and I happen to be serious.

In the Parsha, we can easily identify the major characters, Jacob is Jacob, Esav is Esav, hidden among the women of Esav is the heritage of Yishmael, out of Esav and his wives comes the society's villain in Amalek, and hidden under the tapestry is the Ger, reminiscent of Dan's Blessing, "a viper by the path…" To state the obvious, we can see Jews, Muslims, Christians, Amalekites, and hidden tzaddikim among the nations relating to their patriarchs; but the real trick is connecting the dots between "A" and "B." For example, how does Esav [especially after we have properly understood him in proper context; see recent articles] become "The West" – and Yishmael the "Middle East" and Jacob into "Judaism [Yiddishkeit]" as we know it? The answer is simple, by looking into the imagery of the Parasha; its natural religious depictions can give insight as to how and why history became what it did. Inside we have the characters, images, and roots, throw in the Blessings that were delivered earlier, and we are ready to make our cocktail of what will become the religious scenario [Gog Magog?] dejour in the End of Days. This saga may have begun over 4,000 years ago, but it only begins to make sense from 1948 and onwards into our current present; ultimately we will realize that we went full circle, and our Parasha serves as the node where it all comes together.

From the beginning of the Parasha to its end, these are the various images and symbols [of religion] that strike with the most poignancy: Jacob, Esav, Edom, Biblical armies, God, prayer [in war], Abraham & Isaac, brotherhood, Jacob and the wrestling angel [the Satan], Israel, angels in general, Shechem, Rape – blood – seed – women – swords – circumcision – plunder –attack [of the weak] – revenge – etc. etc. etc, prophecy, Temple Mount, God's Blessings, Twelve Tribes, Rachel [and Rebecca], Machpela/Hebron, Bethlehem, Seir, Amalek, Yishmael, incest, [and into the Haftorah – Saviors/redeemers, Zion, Zionism [perforce], Ovadiah –prophet of the Gerim [finally], hidden Emunah, Shem, Moshiach ben Yosef, and Gerim [as Jacob said "Garti" ["I was a Ger"].  It is true that every Parasha perforce is "Biblical" [obviously]; yet our Parasha has the richness of vessels, that it is truly revealed as religious by nature! For all intents and purposes, this is religion; now the task is to put together the puzzle, as it is appropriate for each figurehead of Jacob, Esav, Yishmael, and Erev Rav.

[Erev Rav is the Amalekite faction of each Nation; rather than their violent upheaval or neglect (as Noah, Elijah, and Hanoch all tried to do) to vanquish them, the Ger stands to remind the World of the Noahide Laws, which serve as the victory over false religion, and ironically it is this filtering process that shakes free the Gerim from the Nations. Noah erred in that by eradicating the Erev Rav with might over mercy, he potentially blocked the Gerim from entry into the World. Shem resurrected this endeavor, and came onto Abraham, who was the first of the Gerim. The Commentators actually state that Amalek, and even Gog will fall to the Noahide Laws, thus they are destroyed with Mercy over bloodshed. King David sought to conquer the World with Noahide Laws and to bring the World under God's dominion by these means. The Zohar predicts in the End of Days, the Soul of Moses will return and achieve angelic rank (similar to Hanoch and Elijah) achieving angelic standard, in the success of this area, and the World will realize its Ger Toshav potential that it inherited at Sinai for all of Mankind.]

Now let's take a quick [over generalized] look at the three essential Blessings to Esav, Yishmael, and Jacob: "physicality" (Esav), "his hand against everyone" / "over all his brothers shall he dwell" (Yishmael) and Firstborn (Jacob). These are gross generalizations, but once plugged into our religious map latent in the parsha, we have the ingredients that over time (6,000 years of Creation to be exact) will culminate into a perfect Gog V' Magog scenario, a religious one, that King David depicts with utter clarity. We all knew it would be a religious war, yet what the pundits did not consider was the evolution over time, and again, the proper path between A-B. The Two biggest wildcards in modern thought are the Jews and the Gerim; no one thought the Gerim were real, and only the Gerim paid attention that in 1948, the Jews became Zionism. In other words, Jacob crashes the party only in recent history, and the End began with the Jews coming back to Israel; should we be surprised?
Finally, we can weave the fabric:

Esav: The brother of Jacob [with all proper context i.e. not the satirical villain, but one who went through real process of real life] who lost the Firstborn Rights. The Blessings are in the physical, time has painted a picture of Esav, one that even he has embraced [which is destined to at least partially be over-turned, as his name has the Gematria of 376 – Shalom], and all of this turned into [through sublime Mazal] the Roman empire that would take hold with the destruction of the Second Temple. The Romans needed a major boost to survive, and their life source at that time was dominion, control, and war. What better way to take command and "fly" than to convert to Christianity? They found all the armor that they would ever need to secure conquest, and hence religion was born.

As much as Jacob was involved in Torah, Law, etc. Israeli society never mastered the art of religion to be a success in the Land. Of course this requires a workable definition [and for what good reason!?] of religion. Christianity would arrive with the conglomerate of, God, idolatry, Paganism, military, doctrine, law, society, conquest, war, divine imagery, control, etc. Case in point, for every image of our Parasha, coupled with Esav's Blessings and ultimate destination [of 2000 years ago], Esav was ready to take the World by storm with his new invention of organized religion; Rome was never more powerful, as the World's first "Petra dollar" came into focus by painting a Vayishlach picture, that would even take into its possession the greatest propaganda team of all time, those found in the NT. This is essentially the Edomite exile seen in DNA of a religious reality.

Yishmael: Sets out to equal his Brother by marriage in religion. Once again, we see the images of the Parasha coupled with Yishmael's Blessings. And again, his religion is a body of work consisting in Law, raw dogma, knowledge of a deity, military, conquest, etc. Islam is practically recycling all of the old vessels into a new direction; you say "tomaytoe", I say "tomeaughtoe." Where Esav goes with perversion of might that develops misappropriated kindness [i.e. immorality], Yishmael goes with a perversion of Kindness that develops misappropriated might [i.e. bloodshed and suicide bombs]. It is very easy to see how these two religions would early on [and promised to again in the End of Days] be at war. Essentially, Esav and Yishmael [through the mazal of Hashem] have produced two distinct blends of religion from our Parasha and in the Torah up to this point. It should be noted that religious doctrine is all but one portion of religion, as religion as was pointed out is really an attempted practice of "everything." In so many words, it is an intended perversion of the Tree of Life, as opposed to a poor attempt at a false impression of Torah.

And Jacob: Jacob was not a religion until very recently, believe it or not. The Torah is the Book of Life – if we can just understand it! [Hello, calling all Gerim!!!] From the Torah's beginning, it was an Oral and spiritual guide to Life, i.e. the Torah of Shem [which still lives as the light within the Torah of Moses; pilpul], then it was what it was in the desert and onwards into the Land. In fact, from what we see in Tanach, the Jews were largely quarreling as to what exactly is the fundamental message of the Torah which ironically, when we focus on the Gerim, they had an angle of understanding that the Jews never seemed to get. [Think Priests/Light to the Nations] If you want a success story to the Second Temple, well, that was even worse in one respect, and of course the seeds of religion were sown in its stand. The Second Temple served as a type of blueprint to a proto-religion, which its destruction led to all out religiosity. [Again, pardon the generalization, space and time allowing]

Once Edom took root in the final exile, and Islam came strong onto the scene, if Jacob ever was a religion in the modern sense, that was well extinguished. Religion for Jacob would become doctrines of ritual; tools of Jewish survival in a hostile World. If Jacob had a message [which he did], it was buried inside the scholarship, in a world that saw each man for himself. Jacob was thought to be just another religion [which ironically it was purposely not measuring up for a myriad of reasons and subject to the will of God], and although Jacob had his spots of illumination buried within, the world just saw Esav, Yishmael, and Jacob…outright ignoring Yisrael, and rightfully so, for Yisrael was nowhere to be seen. Until 1948.

1948. Zionism. Yisrael/Jacob returns. Neo-Judaism spreads Worldwide. Gerim start coming out. Religion's table is set. Judaism of yesteryear is a sliver of what Zionsim will become. The imagery of the Parasha also exists for Jacob, but in a totally novel way! Women in the IDF – a new wrestler in Jacob to say the least. Judaism is in shambles, but its Zionism that is capturing the imagination and interests of the entire planet. The list goes on and on. The point is, Jacob became an organized religion like the others, but in a totally Jewish way; albeit one that still measures short of the Torah's standard. Yet in a short time, Jacob came to stand with his peers, and with the promised Messiah, all will fall to the waste side, as the Torah's sacred message will finally be delivered from a top Mt. Zion, as the Haftorah prophesies. From this point onwards, the points to connect are endless.

Jacob may be standing with the Gid HaNashe dislocated, Amalek runs wild, etc. etc. and the Gerim are
 practically invisible – all in today's publicized map of Creation. Yet this is why the End of Days prophecies exist, and are depicted this way. The puzzle fits, with its Blessings, imagery, generational time, etc. Religion came to the plate in 1948, and as much as we made it here, all three players [and the entire Biblical team that was mentioned], this should be seen as where it all started [over 6,000 years] as opposed to its end. We are all present and accounted for, three religions, Worldwide, covertly battling for supremacy. And the irony of all ironies, the impetus of victory is the one that was never mentioned in the Parasha, only alluded to by each character – the Gerim. King David says very clearly in Tehillim [he who mastered every type of Man for this reason!] – the Noahide Laws are that which brings down false religion, and ends the division amongst Man, and brings justice upon Gog Magog.

Ironically, for everything that religion stands for within a tainted perspective in this World, the Vision of Moshiach will be the clarity of the Glory of the Upper World Atzilus – Emanation. Yet to connect those dots from A-B, is easier done than said; Don't taunt the Ger.

Audio Shiur on Parasha Monday 11 P.M. [Tzfat Time]


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