Thursday, November 1, 2007

Spiritual Self

Posted by IshbitzForever

"Rather to my land and to my family shall you go and take a wife for my son Isaac."

Bereishit 24:4

According to tradition, Abraham's father was so cruel that it was he that handed Abraham over to authorities to be thrown into a fiery furnace for rejecting King Nimrod as a god. It was the very family which G-d commanded Abraham to abandon that Abraham now sought a wife for his son. Puzzling.

The same can be asked of Issac himself, who sent his son Jacob to marry from "family" as well - the daughters of Laban - a liar, a thief and a worshiper of idols.

The answer is quite simple. In the eyes of G-d we are not credited for what we are given, but for what we achieve on our own.

Abraham is associated with the attribute of mercy - for although he displayed tremendous strength as exhibited by passing ten trials - among them the "Binding of Issac" - Abraham's father had displayed similar strength, as mentioned earlier, by offering his son Abraham to his god, Nimrod. Abraham inherited this quality of strength, it was only the attribute of mercy that he acquired on his own to which he was credited as "his attribute."

It was precisely because Abraham knew of the cruelty of his family that he sent Eliezer there.(See Midrash of how Rebeca's family was only motivated by greed, and even plotted to kill Eliezer.) The girl that grew up surrounded by cruelty, and still blossomed into a icon of generosity, can truly be defined by that attribute.

The same could be said of Jacob - the man of truth. To find worthy spouse - his father Isaac sent him to the house of the most selfish thief and liar. It was there he found a woman, Rachel, who was willing to give up her husband to her older sister. Her charitable heart was clearly of her own work and making.

In the service of G-d we are all obligated to use everything we are given, but we are defined by what we acquire on the lonely battlefield of our hearts.

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