Vayera: The Biblical Story and Its Kabbalistic Interpretation

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In this week's Haftorah, we read a fascinating story about an evil king, a poor widow, and children who are almost taken into slavery. What's the deeper meaning? Kabbalah has the answer.

Lesson Contents:

A. The Evil Creditor

In this week’s Haftorah, a woman complains to the prophet that her late husband’s creditor wants to take her sons as slaves in leu of payment. The prophet instructs her to take some oil and pour it into empty pots, miraculously creating a huge treasure for her to sell. As the commentators explained, she was the widow of a famous wealthy person, Obadiah, who had spent his entire fortune to protect the prophets of G-d who were undergoing persecution. The creditor was King Jehoram, son of Ahab. The Zohar adds a spiritual dimension, telling us about the conversation in heaven which accompanied the story. (Sources 1–5).

B. The Inside Story

As the Rebbe explains in Source 6, every story in Torah is really a spiritual message.
In this fascinating discourse, the Rebbe reveals the deeper meaning of our story:
The woman refers to the soul, and the prophet is a reference to G-d. The soul cries out to G-d that its love for G-d (=the husband) has died, and the creditor, i.e. the animal soul, has come to enslave the two sons — the emotions of love and awe of G-d — for its own purposes.
G-d asks the soul: What do you have left? The soul responds: Only my pintele yid.
The solution: Study Torah and do a lot of mitzvot, even if they seem to be empty of enthusiasm. Don’t belittle them as “empty vessels.” They will help your soul begin to shine.

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