Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:November 11, 2015
In the portion Toldot, Isaac and Rebecca have two sons: Jacob, the righteous and elevated son, and Esau, the lower one. When their mother, Rebecca, is pregnant with them they start fighting in her womb, and the kabbalists explain that whenever she walked by a place of prayer or study, Jacob would become awakened and want to go out, but when she walked by negative places, places of darkness, Esau would want to go out.
Rebecca, therefore, was confused. She had been praying to have children for many years and was not able to become pregnant. Finally, she does, and then realizes there is something wrong when there is fighting within her womb. The kabbalists tell us she went to Shem, one of the children of Noah, who was a great spiritual giant of that generation, to help her figure out what’s going on. He tells her there are two nations, two completely different souls, in her womb. Rashi, the great kabbalist and commentator, says Shem told her that the two souls – Jacob and Esau – are the great, great, great, great-grandparents of two other people: the great sage Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, who is called the codifier of the Mishnah, and Antonius, who was one of the Emperors of Rome.
But, how does that answer her question? She’s wondering about the children who were about to be born, and he tells her that in many generations and thousands of years, there are going to be these two souls!?
The Megaleh Amukot, written by a great kabbalist named Rabbi Nathan Nata Spira, tells us an amazing lesson - that Jacob was reincarnated as Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, and Esau as Antonius, the Roman Emperor, and that Esau’s correction came in that incarnation. Therefore, Shem was telling Rebecca not to worry, because while it’s true she will have one negative son, thousands of years down the road he will come to his correction when he is reincarnated as Antonius the Roman Emperor. Rebecca was upset about giving birth to an evil child, but Shem tells her not to worry because thousands of years from then he will come upon his correction. I don’t think most of us would be happy with that answer. We want the solution to come right away; most of us can’t even wait a week, let alone a month or a year… we can’t even imagine waiting thousands of years for the solution to come.
There are a few deep and important lessons here, but I am going to focus on one very critical thing. Kabbalists teach that Esau was a tremendously elevated soul whose mind was a thousand times more elevated than the mind of Jacob. And for this elevated soul that came down with a tremendous amount of klipot around him, his process of correction had to begin as being the child of, and being raised by, these two great souls, Rebecca and Isaac. Otherwise, he would never have corrected. And because of the work of Rebecca and Isaac, which didn’t seem to bear any fruit in that first lifetime, he was able to be corrected as a very elevated soul thousands of years later, when he was reincarnated into Antonius, the Roman Emperor.
Very often we don’t understand why certain people are in our lives. And often, these are people that are annoying to us, damaging to us, or upset us as Esau certainly did Rebecca. He did the opposite of everything she knew was right, and she knew that there was nothing she was going to be able to do in that incarnation to change it. That was an elevated spiritual place to be, and one that we have to be going towards: understanding that there are people who come into our lives who, even with our best intentions and work, we will not be able to change or even help in this incarnation, but by injecting Light, energy, and some sort of support, we will bring about their correction. The difference between somebody who is connected to the Light of the Creator and somebody who is not is that a person who is not wants the answer now, while a person who is doesn’t mind waiting for an answer.
When we study, we begin to realize that usually the greater the soul, the more difficult their process of transformation. And Esau, who we read about in this week’s portion, achieved his complete correction when he was reincarnated as the Roman Emperor Antonius. So, the kabbalists teach that whether or not Antonius knew it at the time, he was achieving the correction of Esau.
The first thing we want to gain from this is the understanding that very often there are people coming into our lives, and we have no idea what our relationship with them has been in previous incarnations, or why they are here. And the fact that they are here doesn’t mean that we are going to be able to help them now, but we have to know that it’s part of a process.
We don’t understand something, so we want a solution for it now. It is one of the biggest mistakes that we make, and this happens in great things and small things. But if we open ourselves up to really having certainty in the Light of the Creator, if we open ourselves up to this greater opportunity, then we see it. All of us in our lives have things that happen that don’t make sense to us, and even if we are spiritual, we want the Light to come in and solve it now. But the higher level is to be in a place where we don’t want it solved now and where we’re willing to live with not knowing because we have certainty that it’s part of a greater vision and greater plan.
Rebecca was willing to live with Esau and wait thousands of years. And we, too, can wait. We have to begin by waiting a week, a month, or sometimes even longer. Because the less we inject our own doubt and fear into the process coming to an end now, the more we allow the Light of the Creator to come in, and the greater our growth, the greater our connection, the greater the Light, and the greater the blessings.