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Straw & Fire

Posted: Mon May 24, 2004 6:20 pm
by Tau Malachi
In verse 21, chapter 25, of Genesis, we read "...and his wife Rebekah conceived." In the Baal Haturim Chumash the number of these words, we are reminded, equal 707, which is the same number the words "straw and fire" equal. Thus, Rebekah conceived straw and fire, Esau and Jacob. The prophet Obadiah plays upon this when he writes: "The house of Jacob shall be a fire, the house of Joseph a flame, and the house od Esau (Edom) stubble; and they shall burn them and consume them, and there shall be no survivor of the house of Esau." (Obadiah 1:18)

As we know, Esau represents Nefesh Behamit and the Sitra Ahara (Evil Inclination), and Jacob represents Nefesh Elokit and Sitra Tov (Good Inclination). Thus, if Esau is straw and Jacob is fire, the implication is that the evil inclination is fuel for the good inclination, and that the good inclination can be made stronger and to shine more brightly by the evil inclination. One may ask, "How can that be?"

First, consider the greatness of people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King - apart from the evil of their day, would they have been able to rise to such heights or would the strength of their souls shine so brightly? Is it not the great evil they confronted that created the circumstances for the greatness of their souls to shine through? Indeed! Were it not for the evil inclination, the good inclination of these men would not be known today as it is, but they would have died in obscurity like so many others in mass humanity, nameless and unknown.

If this is true in the collective, then it is equally true in the individual. As my beloved tzaddik was fond of saying, "A great capacity for Darkness is a great capacity for Light - it is one and the same capacity." In other words, if one had only a little capacity for Darkness, then one would have only a little capacity for Light! It is in this sense that Kabbalah says, "A sinner who becomes a tzaddik is far more powerful than the saint who becomes a tzaddik, and is established in a higher grade of Mochin Gadlut."

Truly, good and evil are not so separate from one another as they might seem. One only needs to examine any negative thought or emotion to realize this. Consider, for example, greed. Greed is the cause of much evil in this world, and is a clear evil, yet, within greed is the knowledge of what is good to share and give. Thus, greed can serve to facilitate a powerful manifestation of the Desire to Share or the Good Inclination. The same is true of any form of negativity one can mention; hence, any form of negativity can be transformed into something good and positive, and in so doing the evil inclination becomes fuel for the good inclination.

Likewise, we may also point out that when we see darkness in us, and we see the evil we can enact, it can become the motivation for self-transformation: the desire to repent of the darkness and seek the Light and Truth. Our follies and errors educate us and can motivate us to change and grow; thus they can be straw for the fire.

If we ponder at the complete cessation of the evil inclination, or the prophecy that there will be no survivors of the house of Esau, first we must say, evil is inherently self-destructive and cannot endure. But more to the point, when shadows and shades are brought into the Light they disappear entirely - for, truly, they never existed. Such is the nature of all darkness and evil, ultimately speaking. Darkness and evil only have a relative existence, and the nature of their existence is illusory. Quite naturally, therefore, our soul is destine to freedom from darkness and evil; hence destine to supernal or Messianic consciousness.

This may give some insight into enigmatic statements of Lord Yeshua regarding the proper response to evil, such as when he says, "Resist not evil," or "turn the other cheek." In other words, do not give power to illusions.

Straw and fire - feed the evil inclination into the good inclination, and let the light of sharing and giving, actively loving, shine brightly. In so doing one will draw near to the Messiah, the Spiritual Sun.

Jesus said, "One who is near me is near to the fire."

A contemplation for the day...

Blessings & shalom!

Posted: Thu May 27, 2004 6:10 am
by Rebekah

"Resist not evil" is a simple yet profound statement.

We may have the best of intentions in entertaining evil, seeking to uplift it or to offer tikkune; yet our energy serves to give power to it, regardless of our intentions. Rather, we would do well to remember that evil is inherently self-destructive and cannot endure, and turn our energy instead toward the Light!


Posted: Thu Jun 03, 2004 9:59 am
by Brother Christopher
"A sinner who becomes a tzaddik is far more powerful than the saint who becomes a tzaddik, and is established in a higher grade of Mochin Gadlut."

I find this statement very interesting. The sinner who ultimately becomes established in a higher grade is completely interconnected with the darkness in which liberation could occur. Hence there is more to give and in this giving there is more to receive. The more intergrtated one becomes with the Divine Presence, the more and more one is able to offer up....hence the ground to be established in a higher grade....The terms higher and lower in this sense become an interesting contemplation....


The sinner who becomes tzaddik

Posted: Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:37 am
by Tau Malachi
Hi Christopher!

We may take this contemplation in another direction also, for, according to the masters of the tradition, one can only ascend into the heights to the degree one descends into the depths - one must descend before one ascends. In so doing one liberates the sparks of the soul bound below so that all can be reintegrated into the soul-being, leaving no binding cords behind.

Likewise, the sinner who becomes the tzaddik is more connected to other souls here, for this world and souls in it are not exactly saintly or angelic. Thus, the sinner who becomes the tzaddik knows most intimately the way out of bondage and how to enter Christ consciousness - it is like an escaped slave who knows how to lead other slaves to their freedom. Perhaps more significantly, however, is the powerful link such a tzaddik can make with others - seeing the Light-presence in such a person others are more likely to recognize and realize it in themselves, for such a person is just like them.

Indeed! "Higher," "lower," these are provisional and relative terms - quite silly, really, considering that the enlightement experience is not a fixed or static state, and is completely non-linear. We do not tend to plod along "grade by grade" so much, but truly go leaping in between them - some times experience radical leaps into rather lofty peaks. It is a constant running and returning, as the Sefer Yetzirah tells us. I think the real point being made is how beneficial to others a sinner who becomes a tzaddik is - perhaps more grounded, in a manner of speaking, and having a different quality of compassion.

Of course, as we know, saint and sinner, light and darkness, are united in the tzaddik, and transcended. So this idea seems to be speaking something about tikkune - as though one having been a sinner is a more potent agent of tikkune.

On this note, one cannot help but notice those to whom Yeshua Messiah primarily reaches out to - mostly the outcast, the unacceptible, the sinner. Nor can one help thinking of the story of St. Mary Magdalene in the Sophian Tradition - this great and holy tzaddik who rose out of thick darkness to become such a Bright Light!

Blessings & shalom!

Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:59 am
by Mary T
The idea of one who has experienced depths of darkness as gifted with
a different quality of compassion
speaks volumes. One who has walked in great darkness, whether it is the evil inclination or in the darkness of great suffering, seems to have an incredible opportunity to connect powerfully with all beings who are in "the same boat" as it were. In the midst of this connection the True Light can arise to uplift all.
The burning of stubble reminds me of a candle where the flame burns that wonderful fuel by means of the wick. Unless it is put out or contains a flaw that disconnects the wick, the wick continues to burn until the wax is gone. May we be as the willing wick to hold the flame as it burns in the darkness, anchoring the Light of God!

Skillful Means, Life Wisdom

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:26 am
by Tau Malachi
Greetings and blessings in the light of the Messiah!

There is parable that relates quite well with this teaching. It is the parable of the dishonest manager, Luke 16:1-13. It is well worth reading and contemplating in light of this teaching, for it is all about bringing the evil inclination into the service of the good inclination, and about using this life, and all of the admixture in it, for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, the enlightenment and liberation of souls.

Here we may quote what seems to be a significant verse when joined to our discussion:

“I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes” (16:9).

One cannot help but wonder about making such “friends” who can “welcome you into the eternal homes,” but here the essential point speaks about a transformation of the desire to receive, joining it with the desire to give – the evil inclination brought into the service of the good inclination.

As we contemplate this parable, we may wish to remember how this cycle of teaching begins back in the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, where we are told, “Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and scribes were grumbling and saying, ‘This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them’” (15:1-2).

It seems that he was seeking the most effective messengers here, and those who might use the most skillful means in the harvest of souls.

Indeed, for he says in this cycle of teaching he says, “…for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light” (16:8).

Of course, in the gathering in of “sinners” it is also made clear that salvation, or enlightenment and liberation, isn’t founded upon our works, or anything we do, but rather it is founded upon God’s mercy, grace – when Divine Grace, the Holy Spirit, takes up and moves through a person here, even klippot, husks of impurity, are transformed and become radiant, serving the kingdom of heaven.

May we be transformed into our supernal image, the image of our being as we are in the Messiah joined to the Most High. Amen.

Peace be with you!