It is very important that we not breeze over last week’s Torah Portion we are always ‘building’ upon the previous Torah Portion. Last week’s Torah Portion is about Noach and the flood, the repopulating of the earth, the Yetser of mankind, and The Tower of Babel.
Law of First mention: ‘Noach found CHEN in the eyes of ADONAI’ (Gen. 6:8):
5 ADONAI saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and the entire inclination (yetser) of the thoughts of his mind was altogether dysfunctional his entire lifetime (there was no ‘tov’…can you imagine?). 6 And ADONAI regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So ADONAI said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found *favor in the eyes of ADONAI.
*CHEN (favor/grace) – the beauty/safety that comes from considering/accepting/acknowledging another. Also meaning ‘the safety/compassion of an encampment’, ie. ‘welcoming another into the circle (of beautiful safety)’. Therefore, CHEN should be thought of as ‘considering another soul and welcoming her/him into your compassionate circle of beautiful safety’.
Due to this Hebrew word ‘yetser’ from the above passage, Judaism teaches us about mankind’s two opposing ‘inclinations’: Yetser HaTov (Good/Properly Functioning Inclination) and Yetser HaRa (Bad/Evil/Dysfunctional Inclination). Mankind became somewhat of a split personality after tasting and digesting of the (forbidden) Tree of the Knowledge of GOOD…and evil.
How do we OVERCOME the yetser hara within? That is, our leaning/inclination toward ‘missing the mark’ through dysfunctional words/thoughts/deeds:
BY CHOOSING LIFE IN THE RUACH HAKODESH through the mastering of sin IN REVERENCE (Genesis 4:7)
The Talmud (Ancient Commentary on Torah) teaches us:
“So said the Holy One, blessed be he, to Israel: ‘My son I created the Yetzer Hara and I created for it the Torah as an antidote. If you toil in Torah you will not be handed over into his hands…'”
Just like Eve and Adam had power and freedom to CHOOSE LIFE (‘It is Written’) and thus ‘ be strengthened’ with yet more LIFE/LIGHT/UNITY; so too, are we CHOOSING moment by glorious moment! May it be LIFE we choose, and incline ourselves towards, and not the ‘evil/dysfunctions from darkness’!
Romans 12:21 – Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Remember, can LOVE really exist apart from one’s CHOOSING (TO LOVE)? It means something precious to us when another CHOOSES TO LOVE US of his or her own free will (delight!), and not by any means of coercion.
Moving further along, we come to learn about Nimrod and his ‘kingdom’ Babel. We find The Two Ways laid out for us yet again from last week’s Torah Portion with ‘Babylonian ways’ and the Abram (Abraham), the ‘Hebrew, or ‘righteous’ Way’.
In a nutshell, (Hear the Torah Portions yourself) the hearts/minds of the men of Babel ERECTED A HIGH TOWER to make their own names great!
Whereas the heart/mind of Abram BUILT A LOWLY ALTAR TO MAKE ADONAI’S NAME GREAT!
But, let’s first back up to get a better understanding of what was going on (IN THE HEBREW LANGUAGE) with Nimrod, son of Cush:
NAS – Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became, * a mighty one on the earth.
Alternate Transliteration: Now Cush became the father of *Nimrod (rebel); that the common/profane, it came to pass, was prevailing upon the earth.
NAS – He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore * it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.”
NAS – The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
Alternate Transliteration: The beginning of his kingdom was (Babel) Confusion-through-mixing (common with holy), and (Erech) Delayed, and (Accad) Subtle, and (Calneh) Fortress-of-Anu (one of 7 Mesopotamian gods).
Now we have a little better understanding of The ONLY Two Ways in which mankind can choose: The Way of LIFE (Blessing!) or ‘the ways of death’ (curses).
In turn, we see that a mixing of common and holy (instead of DISTINGUISHING between the common/normal/profane AND HOLY…the separating of Light and dark) is what causes CONFUSION (Babel) in the first place! Which in turn, DELAYS (Erech) our blessing through SUBTLE (Accad) means and the worship and adoration of FALSE gods (Calneh).
And the only thing that can issue from the dark places of confusion is SELF-EXALTATION, which in turn means NO ONE ELSE MATTERS! There is no ‘grace’ (chen) for another. This ‘haughty or high eye’ is the FIRST ABOMINATION mentioned in ‘the lamp of the wicked’.
Are you seeing how it all fits together?
Today happens to be Mishlei 6, which lays out for us THE SEVEN ABOMINATIONS THAT ADONAI HATES (turns away from/avoids). This is the ‘lamp of the wicked’. In essence, Children of Light ought always be learning to ‘discern the burn’.
Understanding your own unique inclination is of utmost importance! In fact, it’s CRITICAL FOR WALKING IN THE HOLY SPIRIT!
And where the Spirit of ADONAI is, there is LIBERTY and UNITY!
And again, understanding (part of the Sevenfold Ruach of ADONAI – Isaiah 11) BEGINS WITH THE REVERENTIAL AWE OF THE NAME/THE WORD!
Again, how are we to practically ‘master’ the yetser hara, these agreements with darkness/dysfunction that keep us bound? Our Torah (Instruction) is to AGREE IN THOUGHT/WORD/DEED WITH LIGHT! This is REVERENCING THE NAME!
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” ~ Psalm 119:105
From this Week’s Torah Portion Lekh-Leha (‘Go forth, yourself!), we have yet more ‘building’ and revelation. The very important words HEBREW, Sodom and Amorah first appear.
What can we glean from their meanings? CONSIDER the context and INVESTIGATE!