Duality of our Existence

Wednesday, 13 November, 2013 - 1:07 pm


download (1).jpgThe duality of our existence becomes apparent in this week’s Torah portion. 

When Jacob undertook the journey to return home to the Land of Israel, he had one major hurdle he needed to overcome on the way. Namely, after 20 years, he had to face his brother Esau, who was the entire reason Jacob had fled his homeland in the first place.

Jacob did not know whether his brother had forgiven him for (as Esau perceived) taking his father’s blessings from him, and Jacob knew only too well the danger of Esau’s wrath.

From the way Jacob deals with this unpleasant and frightening encounter, he is in fact sharing with us the secret to our success in overcoming challenges of any kind.

The nature of Jewish existence has always been a simultaneously two sided one. We live in a physical world, where unexpected or unpleasant situations can crop up at any given moment. A world where natural consequences to our actions are taken as a given.

Yet at the same time, our lives are completely Divinely directed and do not always follow that ‘natural’ path.

Jacob prepared himself to greet his brother in two ways. First, he prayed to G-d to help him and to keep him safe. Then he followed the natural means of sending gifts to appease his brother and dividing up his camp in the event of an attack by Esau.

Jacob dealt with his challenge by tapping in to both parts of the Jewish existence. Jacob utilized the spiritual and the physical, because he knew that one without the other would simply not suffice.

We are told not to rely on miracles and await G-d’s direction. However, relying solely on our own maneuvering and smarts, denies the True source of our successes, which is off the mark.

By realizing that our successes are a result of Divine blessing and going through the motions of the natural world order at the same time, we make the appropriate vessel for His blessing to dwell in our midst.

By operating in and utilizing both components of our existence, the spiritual and the physical, we can attack challenges, of any magnitude, in the best way possible.

Because ultimately, we are a People that transcend nature, who are connected on high as we live inside the natural order to transform and elevate it.

Hope you're having an awesome week!


Picture of the week:20131111_215544.jpg

Discussion on Relationships with Sara E. Crispe, Writer and Lecturer 

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