Parshas VaYera 5781

A gitten erev Shabbos! This week’s parsha is Parshas VaYera. One of the defining aspects of the parsha is the Akeidas Yitzchok (Binding of Isaac). While this incident may appear quite troubling according to a simple reading, there is far more to be uncovered and understood learning it according to Kabbalah.

In the Zohar HaKodosh there is much attention given to the Akeida, from detailed interactions of the Sefiros, to Avraham Avinu’s vision of Yaakov Avinu and his through process as to how Yaakov could be born without Yitzchok, etc. The essential point to be brought out though is that the Akeidas Yitzchok is the moment in which Din (Harsh Judgement) is bound by Chesed. This shows that Din can be sweetened through Chesed, which improves absolutely everything and is the principle avodah of a Yid. This is shown particularly through the Kavonnos (Kabbalistic prayer meditations) of the Ari, wherein one is directed to focus on the 13 Attributes of Mercy during the prayer after reciting the Akeida in the morning.

What we must first understand is what R’ Shimon bar Yochai and various rabbis have said about the Torah: it is not a storybook nor a history textbook. While the Torah is entirely Emes (Truth), it does not speak only on a simple, literal level. The primary purpose of our Torah is not to simply communicate a cultural history and some ancient customs, rather through the recounting of our history from Creation until crossing the Yarden (Jordan river) it illustrates various spiritual mechanics that occur constantly throughout the universe, on a microcosmic level in our personal lives, and on the macrocosmic level in the world and the supernal realms. Every aspect of Torah is included in this to one degree or another, such as Megillas Esther which is read in the current and future tense in order to show us that it is a constantly occurring process rather than a one-off event in Persia some 2200 years ago.

The Akeida is a perfect expression of this level beyond the p’shat. What we must learn from this is that we have to utilize our traits related to Chesed to bind Din and turn it into something good and useful for ourselves, without killing it. Hashem didn’t create Gevurah and Din in order for us to destroy it, that’s what He will complete when Moshiach comes; our job is simply to sweeten the Dinim through learning Torah and doing mitzvos, which is called doing Tzedakah for Hashem and the Shechinah in the Tikkunei Zohar, hence an aspect of Chesed. When we learn from the Yetzer HaRa, like the Baal Shem Tov says we need to, and commit to completing our task of learning x number of pages Gemara every day or saying a certain number of Tehillim at all costs with no compromise, then we have completed our own personal avodah of the Akeidas Yitzchok through binding the Dinim and sweetening them. We simply must be willing like Avraham Avinu to do what Hashem has asked us to do and pursue it with complete Emunah and Zerizus, as the Ramban learns on the description of his preparing the fire to take to the mountain to sacrifice Yitzchok. Through running to learn and filling ourselves with the fire of Torah and seeking d’veikus with Hashem, and then coming to bind our harsh aspects, we sweeten our personal Dinim and those of the world around us, one mitzvah at a time.

Hashem should bentsh us all with a frailiche lechtige Shabbos, we should merit to bind and sweeten all Dinim, and merit to behold Moshaich swiftly in our days. A git Shabbos!

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