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Being Detached from the 'Right' Spiritual Path

Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:October 28, 2015

In the portion Vayera, we have the Binding of Isaac, in which the Creator comes to Abraham and tells him what Abraham understands to mean that he has to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham put everything that he knew as logical and right aside, and said essentially that if the Creator tells me this is what I have to do now, I am so completely detached from everything I thought was right, I’m willing to do it. Therefore, the question the Creator is really coming to Abraham with is: are you willing to let go of what you know as the truth if you are told now that there’s something else?

The whole process of the Binding of Isaac – the walking together for three days, the going up the mountain together – was for one purpose: to uproot any attachment that Abraham had to his “right” spiritual path. And only when Abraham comes to the top of the mountain and has completely removed any attachment is he willing to go on a completely opposite path than the Creator tells him he should. It is only then that Abraham could receive the blessing from the Creator of complete spiritual and physical sustenance, and only then, when he let go completely of his attachment to Isaac, was he able to receive the Creator’s blessing for his children.

Abraham could not have manifested great blessings for himself or his children as long as he maintained an attachment to what he thought was the right thing. The Creator comes and tells him it’s great that you are doing the right thing, that your life is dedicated to doing the right thing, and that your connection to your son Isaac is dedicated to doing the right thing; but, as long as you are attached to the right thing you can’t reveal Light through it.

If we realize what this means, it hopefully begins to completely change how we view what we think are the good and right things we do in our lives. If the Creator came to you and said you have to let go all of the good and right things that you are doing, could you do it? How attached are you to what you think is the right spiritual work you are doing? That attachment is coming from the ego. And you have to know that as long as you are attached to the right things that you do, no blessings can come from it.

During the whole process of Abraham and Isaac walking together for three days and then climbing up the mountain, Abraham is awakening within himself the ability to detach from his spiritual work and to detach himself from Isaac. As he is going up the mountain, the reality is that he is never going to kill Isaac; he just had to go through that process of detachment. It is a process each one of us has to be going through consistently. Therefore, one of the great secrets of the Binding of Isaac, and what we have to beg for on this Shabbat, is to begin our own process of detaching ourselves from the right spiritual path that we are on. Yes, we have to go on that path, but at the same time, we can’t take ourselves and our attachment to that path too seriously.

If the Creator came to you today and asked if you are willing to let go of everything that you know about your spiritual path, and everything that you are doing on your spiritual path, would you be willing to let it go? Most of us are not ready for that, because we are so attached to our spiritual work. And that attachment is coming from ego. The place we need to get to is one where we can say: this is what I’m dedicated to because this is what I understand to be the right path, but if the Creator came to me tomorrow and told me none of this is what I should be doing, that I should do something completely opposite, I am able to do it because I have achieved a complete detachment from my right spiritual path. It’s a distinction that not everybody can make, but it’s one we cannot bring great blessings to our spiritual work without.

We learn through this Shabbat Vayera and the Binding of Isaac that we need to get to the point where we invest all of our energies in what we are doing, while at the same time being so detached from it that if the Creator came to us tomorrow and said do exactly the opposite, we would do it. When we are able to have both of those operating at the same time, we can bring tremendous blessings through our spiritual work.

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