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In the portion Toldot, Rebecca receives divine inspiration that Jacob needs to steal the blessings his father, Isaac, was going to give to his brother, Esau. It says that Jacob's nature was tam, meaninga simple person, one who does not manipulate or steal. Jacob, therefore, was put in a position that was completely opposite of his nature.
The Zohar tells us that before Jacob went in to steal the blessings, he prayed, reciting this verse in Psalms: “Save me from the words or the language of lies, of any words that are not truthful.” It's strange that as he's about to lie and steal, this is the prayer he chooses. As such, what does it mean that Jacob, before entering Isaac’s room to use deceit to steal the blessings from Esau, prays to “Protect me from lies?”
The blessings that Jacob was going to receive, Rav Ashlag tells us, were all the Light that humanity would need to bring an end to pain, suffering, and death forever. And the Zohar tells us that Jacob could only receive these blessings through deceit. But, why did it have to come in that way?
The Zohar says, “Jacob had to come with wisdom and in deceit, because he had to correct the sin of Adam.” This process was actually taking back the Light of Immortality, the Light that was called the Gemar HaTikun, from the snake, the Negative Side. And the Negative Side, it tells us, is what's called “the realm of lies.” Therefore, what Jacob was doing was correcting the sin of Adam; just as the snake, through deceit and lies, made Adam and Eve fall into darkness and lose Immortality, Jacob, through lies and deceit, took the blessings back.
Jacob must have known what the Zohar is telling us here, that lies and deceit were the only way to take the blessings back. Nevertheless, his prayer was about protecting him from lies. It’s strange; imagine you're about to do something that is going to change the course of history and take back the potential for humanity to come to an end of pain, suffering, and death. And instead of praying for the Creator to help you in that, you pray for something else - “Protect me from lies.” But you're about to lie… so why is the singular prayer around protection from lying?
To understand this, I want to share a section from the Maharal of Prague, a great kabbalist who revealed many secrets. He says the Book of Proverbs tells us that there are two types of people who are connected to the Light of the Creator– there are those who are yeshurun, meaning straight or upright, and tamim, meaning one who is simple, having simple certainty. However, there is a big difference between their levels of connection to the Light of the Creator.
The Maharal tells us the difference between being straight and having simple certainty is that the straight person uses his mind to understand what he should do. He desires to do the right thing and is always trying to figure out what that is. While he is always asking the Light of the Creator to show him, being a tamim, having simple certainty, brings a person to the level where he doesn't even have to think any more about what's right and what's wrong. It is innate within him. This is the power of simple certainty: when you fight for it, it actually gives you an innate ability to always be doing and saying the right thing, to always be going in the right way.
Therefore, someone who is straight still has to struggle for truth and to do the right thing, while a tamim is somebody who has simple certainty and does the right thing in the right way, without having to think about it. Jacob had both; the Maharal tells us that when it had to do with Jacob’s own personal needs or personal direction, he would have simple certainty and not try to figure things out. But for anything that influenced others, he used his mind to figure out what he needed to.
Having simple certainty is the highest level, while those who are yeshurun, still using their brain to understand what's right or wrong, do not innately have the ability to always see what's right and wrong, and that's a lower level. It says about the tamim, therefore, that a person who fights for simple certainty, at least as it relates to himself, achieves Immortality. So, while the person who is struggling and fighting to understand what the right thing to do is, will, yes, receive connection to the Creator, it will not be to the level of Immortality that the person who fights for, obtains, and grows to simple certainty will achieve.
It's important to understand the logic of this. Why is simple certainty the most powerful tool of connection to the Light of the Creator? Because we are not leaving the Creator when we are in simple certainty. When we are straight, however, it means we come to a situation with our mind; when somebody does something to us, we think with our mind what we should do or how we should respond, and come to a conclusion. And that thought process is outside the Light of the Creator, until we decide what the right thing to do is, then we are reconnected with the Light of the Creator.
Whereas, with simple certainty, if somebody did something to us, we would have that certainty it is from the Light of the Creator, and therefore, do not even think about how we need to respond or what we need to do. That process never disconnects us from the Creator; it is not a natural process for us, because we are born into this world of lies. This entire world, as Rav Berg would always remind us, is a world of illusion. There's probably nothing that we can point to in this world that we can say is absolutely real, and the only way to get away from this world of lies is by being a tamim.
How do we do that? When a situation arises, it’s by not using our mind to figure out what to do. Rather, we trust that it is coming from the Light of the Creator. We have that simple certainty, and in so doing, take one step closer to Immortality. Then, hopefully, when the next situation comes, we can continue to be active in simple certainty, and then, eventually, never fall back to the world of lies. To achieve the level of complete unification with the Light of the Creator, we have to always be fighting to leave the playing field of the Negative Side and stop trying to decide what the right thing to do is. We want to develop this, because every step towards simple certainty is not only a step closer towards Immortality, but also, we are told, keeps physical and spiritual forces from harming those who are fighting for and moving towards it.