The portion of Vayislach (which means ‘and he sent’) talks about the brothers Jacob and Esau, the sons of Isaac and Rebekah in the lineage of Abraham and Sarah. Right after Jacob comes back – with his family, his wealth, and his power – from the house of his father-in-law, he knows he needs to meet his brother Esau, who wanted to kill Jacob.
Before Jacob actually meets Esau, he sends angels. The Torah tells us that Esau has a clear intention to kill Jacob after he stole the blessings of his father from him.
Jacob then meets with Esau, and if read literally, it looks like Jacob was a little fearful of Esau. Jacob prayed to God for help, and then bowed down to his brother 7 times. Esau kisses Jacob on his neck (even though, according to the Torah, he actually intended to kill him by biting his neck).
Rav Berg shared that in this portion we are receiving the tool to control the Opponent at his root. To control negativity at its root! To remove the mask of the Opponent. The fact that in this portion Jacob's name is transformed to ‘Israel’ indicates that here we are receiving the power to gain dominion over the Opponent, who actually gave Jacob the new name. Jacob, through his struggles and challenges, finally reached a level of total control over the Evil Inclination, whereby the angel of the Evil Inclination personally elevates Jacob himself. Jacob could now say “I am in control”; that is what Israel means, ‘I am in control.’
All the patriarchs give us the power, strength and secrets of how to control the Opponent’s negative consciousness, and that is what we are getting this week.
The greatest power that exists is the power to overcome your own Evil Inclination.
The Zohar tells us even though Esau held onto his anger for a long time, when he finally met up with Jacob Esau couldn’t be angry toward him. He wanted to have anger towards his brother, but somehow it was diffused because of the angel above.
Every nation or group of people has a spiritual angel. Our good or bad actions occur as a result of what is happening above, meaning that even though Esau was a human being who wanted to destroy Jacob, he couldn’t. This metaphysical force neutralized his actions so he couldn’t kill Jacob, and he kissed him instead! The Zohar tells us "as above so below”; the force controlling Esau was diffused so the physical Esau couldn’t express anger.
So what did Jacob do to diffuse the angel above? If we want to control negativity, our Esau can manifest as chaos, negativity, war, and as negative attributes that we have no strength to control.
The Zohar tells us: If you want to control Esau, then you must affect a change in the Upper World. Combat the negative force before all of it manifests as negativity below.
So what did Jacob do to diffuse that power?
The goal is for chaos to be the servant of Jacob. The only way he could control Esau is by humbling himself – removing his ego. Esau is really a code word for ‘ego’. If I am allowing my ego to be humbled completely, I can control my ‘Esau’. We have to repeatedly humble ourselves, again and again. It is the way we can gain dominion over our Evil Inclination!
When you allow yourself to be humble, to become small in front of someone – not for the reason of kissing up to someone, but because the situation brought you to a place of humility – who is really hurt at that moment?
Jacob knew that he had to diminish his ego 7 times. He had to come to a level that he didn't care about pride 7 times and bow to Esau. He consciously brought on that humility. He knew he was giving Esau reason to be proud.
The Zohar tell us that Esau commanded Jacob to “bow down to me” so I am important. What happens when a person feels important? He thinks: I am somebody. What happens when we become inflated with pride, when our ego is inflated, we are planting the seed of enslavement.
Jacob did not care about his ego. Esau, the Esau inside each of us, lets the pride in. I am not saying we can’t accept praise, but when we are depending on that praise we are planting the seed of chaos, of being a slave to fears, negative thoughts and what others think of us!
So how do we control the Opponent at its root? In the specific action of humbling ourselves before the Creator. Every time we have the chance to humble ourselves, we must realize this is an opportunity given to us by the Creator – no matter what it looks like in the 1% reality.
Does that mean we should react to the humiliation itself, complain and not do anything about it? No! We must still act. We must still do what we intend to do to share the Light with others.
As Rav Brandwein told Rav Berg, “Anyone spreading Kabbalah will attract humiliation.” By simply being humiliated, you are separated from the ego. If your goal is to be popular and not humble, you will do the job, but without real power. You will continue to be a slave to chaos, to your own ego. Chaos, ego, worry, negative thoughts, fear – all are forms of slavery. The strongest kind of slavery is the consciousness of ‘What do they think about me?’
Humbling ourselves is a tool of control on the seed level. And if we are open to it, opportunities for us to grow and transform will present themselves.