Combating the Effectiveness of the Opponent

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Combating the Effectiveness of the Opponent

Rav Berg
November 9, 2018
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The portion of Toldot says, “The children struggled together within her,” and Rebecca went to inquire of God. The Zohar says the ultimate battle that has become manifest in this world up until this very day began in Rebecca’s pregnancy. What does this mean? The Zohar explains that the Satan, in his entirety, was encapsulated within Esau, and that Esau’s head was in the Holy system but his body was not, therefore he resembled Isaac. And because each is drawn to his own kind, Isaac loved Esau more than Jacob. We know that Isaac wanted to bless Esau and not Jacob, because he told Esau, “Go prepare me a meal because I want to bless you.” These words are clear.

"How did Jacob do such a thing?"

Jacob was just the reverse; the Zohar says he was of the side who rides the perfect Holy Throne, of the side of the sun, Zeir Anpin, that is united with the moon, the Nukva, and yet he fooled his father. He came in place of Esau to receive the blessing. By what right did he come to his father and take away the blessing of Esau? How did Jacob do such a thing? The Zohar explains that because Esau encapsulated the serpent, Jacob dealt with him slyly. What Jacob did with Esau was serpent-like.

Everything about Satan is how he fools us, how he creates conditions where we do things and later realize how stupid we were. Satan convinces us in falsehood that what we see will bring about chaos in our life. He paints a whole picture, but the truth of the matter is Satan is fooling us. The moment Satan gets us to conduct ourselves in the way he wants, this brings about chaos, in whatever form it appears. We may even say, “How could I have been so stupid?” But know that you were not so stupid, because Satan clouded your vision with his falsehood, painting a vivid picture of how this would be the right track to take.

In the womb, Jacob and Esau were already fighting about what the future would be at the very source. The way to combat the effectiveness of Satan and prevent Satan from weaving this kind of illusion around us can be learned from Jacob who had to create illusions at the same time. You might ask, “But Jacob is such a true person, how could he get involved with deceitfulness?” The Zohar is teaching us that when we are tricking Satan it is necessary to go with falsehood. When it is Satan, we are permitted to go with deceitfulness, because we fight fire with fire, there is no other choice. The Zohar is saying that the only way you can remove deceitfulness is by being deceitful. This would be the only way Jacob could separate himself from Esau.

"We can draw the ability to overcome negativity."

To understand this concept a little deeper, the Zohar explains that Esau came out first, and then Jacob came out holding the Achilles heel of Esau. The battle in the womb was because Jacob wanted to become separated so as to have no influence of the serpent on himself. What does the Zohar want to say here? By holding on to the Achilles heel, Jacob separated Esau from Holiness, thus the power of the Holiness became dominant over Esau. The significance is that through this action the power of positivity had dominion over negativity. However, Jacob could not become separated to teach us that because of the Achilles heel of Esau he then, and we today, would never become totally separated from negativity. Therefore, what happened later with the deception and taking away the blessing of the firstborn had to happen. In other words, although he is born from Isaac and Rebecca, there still was a part that could not become separated from the Satan.

Jacob became the antithesis of the serpent, and although he could not completely separate himself, Jacob’s power was that he was able to overcome the Achilles heel of Esau. When we study this reading of the birth of Jacob we can draw the ability to overcome negativity and separate Satan from Holiness. When there is Satan around us, we can draw from the energy of Jacob to be able to see clearly what Satan is attempting to do with us, and we can become separated and therefore take the appropriate action to fool and defeat him.