Haven on Earth
And thou shall spread abroad . . . Because from Tziyyon. What connects the personal world to the Universal One? How can my personal supervision be in good hands, when those hands hold a staff of unbiased justice? Do my personal needs lead me to act responsibly for my community? When taking care to educate my children, will I be concerned for a high standard of education for children not of my family?
'AND THOU SHALL SPREAD ABROAD TO THE WEST, AND TO THE EAST, AND TO THE NORTH, AND TO THE SOUTH: AND IN THEE AND IN THY SEED SHALL ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED.' BEREISHIT 28.
Let us learn from the example of Yaaqov, our father, the man of truth! As Yaaqov grew in a family of tradition so his brother grew to challenge tradition. Avraham was challenged, to sacrifice his son, Yitzhak, the bearer to be of tradition. While Yitzhak was willing to raise his soul beyond this world, Sarah, Avraham's wife made place in her tent for the sharing of tradition with Rivka, Yitzhak's wife and the mother of twin sons, Yaaqov and his brother Eisav.
Following Avraham's war campaign in the Land and prior to the birth of Yitzhak, it so happened, Tradition has taught, that Noah's son, Shem, was the Bearer of Tradition, situated in a place called Shalem. Shem was called at that time Malkitzedek Priest to the Most High in Shalem. Malkitzedek blessed Avraham before the Most High for the war was a morally just success. Avraham gave contribution from that war to the Service in Shalem.
Following this exchange with Malkitzedek Avraham and Sarah divinely received the Kahunah - the inheritable Priesthood. Avraham, then as Cohen Gadol meaning High Priest, and Sarah perhaps as High Priestess, divinely received the commandment of Circumcision, the Hidden Sign of the Covenant. Then, through ordeal, Avraham and Sarah learned the ways of marital consecration to each other, and before the L~rd, in the episode of Avimelekh, the story of a local king courting Sarah and later in the episode of Hagar, the story of a local slave girl courting Avraham. Yitzhak's birth came for Avraham and Sarah as a celebrated blessing and through them Yitzhak came as a gift offering, a generation, a future as the Tradition would then evolve. Their experiences and visions merged together with the sacrifice of Yitzhak. Emerged a dream, the future beyond and with it the passing of Sarah. This dream eventually brought Avraham to call the place of Service and Tradition, Shalem, by a new name, Yerushalayim. Perhaps Yerushalayim has the meaning of an Open Sign, an opening, a development of that which guides us. A Covenant of Service an open promise, a spirit hoped for, in light, in vision, in meaning, in practice the service of Yerushalayim. This was for Avraham a return to his primary belief, a service pointing towards the collective vision, an Open Covenant, beyond the family's closure, beyond the tribal closure, perhaps eventually a service towards the image of Mankind in the Name of G~d.
When it happened that Avraham passed to the spiritual realm, something profound passed over to both Yitzhak and Rivka and to Avraham's grandsons through Yitzhak and Rivka. Yaaqov and Eisav became challenged in Avraham's passing to transcend their past and present personalities. Yaaqov and Eisav were challenged to take more responsibility in their persons and this was to accept a profound challenge, it was to begin to bear the Tradition. Began a process in them that would pass over a certain thresh -hold, one that distinguished between a receiving from an embodiment of a certain spirit that Avraham was, to an embodying of a certain spirit and the giving of oneself - becoming a light bearer. Avraham's name means 'Father of Nations'. Yaaqov and Eisav would become in themselves Fathers of distinct Nations, Israel and Edom. So the journey of bearers began. Yaaqov desired the service as a man of simplicity, even a man of the tent. Eisav took it upon himself to be a man of the field, even a man of war.
When Yitzhak drew close to his old age he began to confer responsibility upon his sons. Yaaqov took this as a challenge to receive the blessings of a twin identity. However his brother, Eisav, stood against him and his father preferred the hunter of the field as against the nature of indweller. So for Yaaqov to meet that challenge, in himself an acceptance, it would mean his becoming a composite personality, and in his personality both the becoming and the bearing of Tradition. It would mean to be whole in righteousness and still take responsibility for wrong doing, that is to say responsibility for not yet righteousness. This response to not yet righteousness is what Avraham did sign as his integrity, his integrated know how. To be public teacher and father, to teach true sacrifice and righteous faith. However Avraham was also a man of war, he saw the unfortunate moral necessity, he unfortunately lacked a faithful community. Yaaqov's brother was not yet willing to participate in the making of the later and perhaps not quite ready for the moral struggle found with the former. With this considered, consider this, who will Yaaqov marry and where will he live?
Since Avraham teaches that now is the opportunity to do kindness, and while Yitzhak testifies with his life to the promise of a future world where all aligns to truth, Yaaqov is obligated to accept their journey. Their way of walking, acting meaningfully with each step and step, also resting while on the journey, as a blessing to those steps and as a reminder of unto where or unto what do those steps lead. As Yitzhak arrives in the world of Avraham going, Yaaqov is their journey. Yaaqov is resting yet walking, walking yet resting. Yaaqov is already sleeping on the ground of his future. He is gathering the stones of the Land that will be given to him and his family. Yaaqov is walking toward his wife to be, toward his children to be.
Motionless He is dwelling, even resting within this Gate. Transcending He is Beyond. Though if we wish to walk toward Him, even to return, to arrive at His Dwelling Place, all the while guided by our understanding, our rhythm in the stride, our listening to His voice, our vision of His Glory, He will then return with us, walking with us, coming home to us from the Beyond, from His transcending, by way of this His Gate. Above He stands ready. Below He builds His House. Mounted, forever - the Journey. Founded, by the Mountain - our Arrival.
'AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THE LAST DAYS, THAT THE MOUNTAIN OF THE L~RD'S HOUSE SHALL BE ESTABLISHED ON THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAINS, AND SHALL BE EXALTED ABOVE THE HILLS; AND ALL THE NATIONS SHALL FLOW UNTO IT . . . AND HE SHALL JUDGE AMONG THE NATIONS, AND SHALL DECIDE AMONG MANY PEOPLE: AND THEY SHALL BEAT THEIR SWORDS INTO PLOUGHSHARES, AND THEIR SPEARS INTO PRUNING HOOKS: NATION SHALL NOT LIFT UP SWORD AGAINST NATION, NEITHER SHALL THEY LEARN WAR ANY MORE.' YESHAYAHU 2. END.