Parashat Toldot opens with the verse:
"These are the generations of Abraham; Abraham gave birth to Isaac." (Gen. 25:19)

The holy Baal Shem Tov expounded upon this verse thus: Our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are connected to the three primary emotional attributes of how G‑d relates to the world: first kindness, then judgment (contraction, essentially the opposite of kindness), and then compassion (the combination of kindness and judgment). How can Isaac, the epitome of judgment, contraction and strength, be the offspring of Abraham, our archetype for total kindness and giving?

Kindness must be followed by judgment in order for this kindness to be expressed….

The answer is that Isaac had to be born of Abraham; kindness must be followed by judgment in order for this kindness to be expressed in the world. No vessel can contain pure kindness. The unrestrained flow has to be contracted for us to benefit from it. For example, rain can fall indiscriminately and cause massive flooding, or it can fall in the proper place and measure and help sustain life. In particular, the contracting of kindness is manifested in give/take relationships: One person is lacking and another person is graced with fulfilling that need. This way, the context of reality will always stem from the verse, "a world of kindness will be built". (Psalm 89) Through these acts of giving, even more kindness will be drawn into the world.

In a similar way, the Lubavitcher Rebbe gave the world the mission to do more and more acts of kindness to help bring the redemption. Through our acts of kindness now we will also bring the biggest gift - the most powerful vessel of all time to draw in the most blessings - our righteous Mashiach.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

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