Doing for Others
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Doing for Others

Karen Berg
September 8, 2019

This week’s portion is Ki Tetze, which opens with the words: Ki tetze la milchamah. This is normally translated to mean, “When you go forth to war.” Yet the word ki does not really mean when, but rather because. In a nutshell, the beginning of this week’s portion tells us: Because you go to war against your enemies, you are sure to be successful.

"So what is this about, all this talk of war and enemies?"

So what is this about, all this talk of war and enemies? On the surface, it doesn’t seem to be very spiritual. Not to mention history shows us that it’s also not true. There have always been “enemies,” and just because we go forth and do battle does not mean that we win. And with each enemy removed, a new one (or two, or three, or four) pops up in its place. How can war ever be considered a success?

Thankfully, we have the Zohar and the wisdom of the great kabbalists to shed some Light.

One thing we learn in our studies at the Centre is that what the Bible portion is speaking about is not an external enemy, but rather it is our own negative reactions we are meant to wage war against. This is why Rav Berg would call the room where we make connections a “war room,” because it is in our connections that we receive the energy to wage this internal war. With this understanding, we can begin to examine the spiritual battle against our own negativity that each of us finds ourselves embroiled in on a daily basis. This is the battle we are guaranteed to win because we choose to accept it. No matter how many times we may fall. 

"This is the battle we are guaranteed to win because we choose to accept it. No matter how many times we may fall."

The Rav would often say that the Armageddon war will be a war of thoughts, a war of consciousness. It is the battle between the little angel that whispers, “Do for others,” and the little devil which whispers, “Take care of yourself.” Or that little voice that says, “Listen and stay open,” and the one that says, “I am right and they are wrong.”

It is interesting to note that we read the portion of Ki Tetze just two weeks before Rosh Hashanah. There is support in the universe right now that can assist us in this internal healthy war, so that we can take new steps towards a profound transformation of our being, and arrive at that day of judgment a new person.

This week, take notice of the moments you are inclined to hear that voice which whispers, “Do only for yourself,” and activate your free will to choose to “do for others” instead. It is this simple (but not always easy) choice that can give us control over our thoughts, and the ability to overpower negativity with positivity both within ourselves and for the world.

And remember: Because we choose to go forth into this spiritual battle, we are guaranteed to win.