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What one seeks in This World directs the path of his soul as it ascends the spiritual realms.

Abraham's Presents to the East

Abraham's Presents to the East

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Abraham's Presents to the East
What one seeks in This World directs the path of his soul as it ascends the spiritual realms.

Rabbi Abba opened his discourse with the words: "Who shall ascend the mountain of G‑d and will stand in His holy place?" (Psalms 24:3) Come and see: People in the world don't look at the reason why they are in the world. Their days go by and rise up in front the Holy One Blessed be He, that is every single day that a person lives in this world. Every day is created by Him, and even after they have "passed" in this world, they each have spiritual standing before Him. From where do we learn this? From the verse: "In Your book all things are written, all days are fashioned." (Psalms 139:16) When the time comes for a person to depart from this world, then all those days approach and go up before the King on High as is written: "The days of King David approached to his death" (Kings I 2:1) and "The days of Israel drew near for his passing". (Gen. 47:29) Each and every day stands for eternity…

When a person is in this world, he doesn't monitor and meditate on the reason for his being alive and his purpose in this world. Instead he thinks that all his days go by in a meaningless fashion, without any other reality involved as part of them, which is definitely not the case, as each and every day stands for eternity. When the soul goes out from this physical world, it doesn't know down which path it is being led. The reason is that the path to Gan Eden where the righteous souls shine is not known to all, because the manner in which a person conducts himself in this world, determines the place where his soul will be drawn after it leaves the physical realm. That which he sought in this world determines the force that attracts his soul as it ascends the spiritual realms.

Rabbi Abba continued; One day, as I was traveling, I was in a particular city and met some people from India. They told me some of the ancient knowledge that is found in their books of wisdom (based on the names of the unholy side that were sent to them by Abraham in an attempt to help them overcome their tendency to idol worship). I was shown one book where it was written, that the direction that a person directs his will in this world, draws down to him a spiritual force from above. This spirit is similar to his desire to reach a goal that he has connected himself to in this world. The essence of this teaching is to cleave with words and actions and heartfelt meditation to the desired object…

If his will is directed towards something lofty and holy, he draws that thing from the spiritual realms down to himself. If his desire is to cleave to the forces of impurity [i.e. ego-driven desires] and he makes this his focus of meditation, then he draws down that thing onto himself from on high. They told me that the essence of this teaching is to cleave with words and actions and heartfelt meditation to the desired object, and by so doing, he draws down power from that side he cleaves too. I found in this same book, rites and ceremonies relating to worshipping the stars and constellations and the mantras needed to be chanted in their worship. There were also instructions as to how to concentrate a person's will on them in order to draw these forces down on to himself.

The same principle applies to someone who wants to connect himself to the higher Divine Spirit. It is through action accompanied by speech and fervent meditation directed towards a particular thing that a person can draw down a force from above and cleave to that object. They also added that in the way that a person's will leads him in this world, so he is lead after he departs from this world. The very thing he cleaved to in this world is what he seeks in that world. If in holiness, then he connects to holiness; if in impurity, then he connects to the impure side. If he is drawn after the holy, then he is led to that side, and cleaves to it in the spiritual realms. He is made a servant among the other angels. Thus he is connected in the spiritual realms and stands among those holy ones as is written: "then I will let you walk between those who stand before me" (Zechariah 3:7). In a similar manner, if one was drawn after the impure in this world, he is drawn to that side and made to connect himself to them and be like them. These are called "pests", causing damage and terror to mankind. At the time that their spirit leaves this world it is drawn to Gehinom, the place where he is judged along with all those who have defiled themselves and their spirit. Afterwards he becomes one of them and damages and terrorizes the world as they do. The ancient children of the East were wise; they inherited the wisdom that Abraham sent with the sons of his concubines…

I said to them, "My sons, these are words similar to those of the Torah." Nevertheless you should stay well away from these books, in order that you not be led astray by those forms of worship and all of those negative forces that are mentioned there, and stray away from worshipping the Holy One Blessed be He. All these books mislead a person. The ancient children of the East were wise; they inherited the wisdom that Abraham sent with the sons of his concubines, as is written: "Abraham gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them eastward [to India], away from his son Isaac while he was still alive." Over time they were drawn down many wrong paths by that wisdom.

This didn't happen to the descendants of Isaac and the inheritors of Jacob, as it is written: "And Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac". This was the holy portion of faith which Abraham adhered too and which gave rise to the inheritance of Jacob, of whom it is written: "And behold G‑d stood over him and said 'I am the Lord G‑d of Abraham your father, and the G‑d of Isaac'". And it is further written: "And now listen, Jacob my servant, and Israel whom I have chosen." (Isaiah 44:1). Because of this it is proper for a person to be drawn after the Holy One Blessed be He always, as is commanded: "You shall serve Him, and to He you shall adhere." (Deut. 10:20) The person who merits ascending is void of pride and falsehood…

Come and see, the verse we started our discourse with, "Who shall ascend the mountain of G‑d, and who will stand in His holy place?", is asking who will be worthy to ascend to the spiritual Garden of Eden. It continues afterwards to give the answer: "He who has clean hands and a pure heart". "Clean hands and a pure heart" are a description of a person's physical and spiritual endeavors. Such a person has guarded himself against the power of his evil inclination and has not defiled himself to become a vehicle of impure forces. He has diverted his heart and mind from these sources of negativity, and directed them instead towards the service of the Holy One Blessed be He. The verse goes on to add: "He has inflated his Nefesh with falsehood". "His Nefesh [in Hebrew, 'Nafsho']" is the way the verse is written, but the traditional pronunciation of the word is "My Nefesh" [in Hebrew, 'Nafshi'], meaning "My life force", which is the sefira of Malchut, the manifestation of G‑dliness in this world through those such as King David, who represents Kingship [malchut] based on complete faith in G‑d. "Nafsho" represents the actual [physical] life force of each person.

Thus the verse refers to two levels of work. The person who merits ascending is void of pride and falsehood and also recognizes the manifestation of G‑d's will in the things that happen around him. When such a person departs from this world, his Nefesh ascends accompanied by all the positive works and mitzvot that it has done. These are what provide him the ability to manifest among the holy souls as it is written: "I shall walk before the Lord in the lands of the living" (Psalms 36:9). As a result of his not having "inflated his life force with falsehoods" he shall "receive blessing from the Lord" (Psalms 24:5).


[Translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister from Zohar, parashat Vayeira, p. 99a.]

Copyright 2003 by KabbalaOnline.org. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, unless with permission, in writing, from Kabbala Online.

Shmuel-Simcha Treister is a lawyer from New Zealand who made aliya to Safed with his family in 1993 to study Zohar. He continues doing so to this day. He also works in the Ascent multi-media center.
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, also know by the acronym "Rashbi," lived in the Holy Land in the 2nd century C.E. A disciple of Rabbi Akiva, Rashbi played a key role in the transmission of Torah, both as an important Talmudic sage and as author of the Zohar, the most fundamental work of Kabbalah. He was buried in Meron, Israel, west of Safed.
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batya Dallas, Texas (TX) via kabbalaonline.org November 10, 2014

todah, this article written,says much to the common man as well to those who are the Outcast of Israel.
A man can raise 7 sons,yet a son can not raise a father...
family does not mean they all chose their paths...we all walk alone with Hashem or not. Reply

Anonymous ny, ny August 12, 2012

if you would write his full name you might have a problem discarding the paper Reply

Sara Southfield, MI via kabbalaonline.org November 15, 2011

It doesn't make sense to me why Abraham would give different teachings to Children of the East. You would think that he would want them all on the right path to righteousness. Isn't that something a holy man of God would want? How can you blame the people of the East for unholyness when they were given less? How can you send them into darkness when they were never shown the light? Reply

webmaster via kabbalaonline.org November 9, 2010

The reason is that according to Jewish law one is not allowed to erase or destroy the name of G-d. Therefore, we write G-d so as to not write His actual name, because we do not know what will happen to it after we write it. Reply

Maggie via kabbalaonline.org November 9, 2010

I understand that "G hyphen d" is tradition, but isn't it one of those traditions that needs to change in favor of more meaningful substance? Isn't "G-d" more idiosyncratic, artificial, and even quaint than reverent? If I can say the word God, why can't I write it? Why can I shout it but not write it? Why can I breathe it but not spell it? Reply

Abe Fenster Lake Worth, FL United States via kabbalaonline.org November 19, 2009

good overview Reply

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