Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bahir 163

We are called directly to recognize evil where it comes from and how we may remove it daily from our lives.

Verse 163. What is this One Attribute? It is the Form of a Hand. It has many messengers, and the name of them all is Evil Evil. Some of them are great, and some are small, but they all bring guilt to the world. This is because Chaos is toward the north. Chaos (Tohu) is nothing other than Evil. It confounds (Taha) the world and causes people to sin. Every Evil Urge (Yetzer HaRa) that exists in man comes from there. And why is it placed to the left? This is because it does not have any authority any place in the world except in the north. It is not accustomed to be anywhere except in the north. It does not want to be any place but in the north. If it remained the south until it learned the routes of the south, how could it lead others astray? It would have to stay there for [several] days until it learned, and then it could not cause people to sin. It therefore is always in the north, to the left. This is the meaning of the verse (Genesis 8:21), "For the Urge of man's heart is evil from his youth." It is evil from his youth, and it does not incline [in any direction] other than the left, for it is already accustomed to be there. It is regarding this that the Blessed Holy One said to Israel (Exodus 15:26), "If you listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is upright in His eyes, and give ear to His commandments" ­ and not to the commandments of the Evil Urge ­ "and keep all His decrees" ­ and not the decrees of the Evil Urge ­ "[then all the sickness that I brought upon the Egyptians, I will not bring upon you,] for I am God who heals you."

Commentary: Choice. Ultimate choice. Choose to listen to 'the voice of the Lord your God.' 'Do not listen to the evil urge and do not listen to the decrees of evil.' What voices and how may we know the difference? Nothing happens to you unless you first think about it happening to you. Even if someone tells you to do something you will first think about it and then do it or not. I mention this to include the voices that we hear from others and from other outside sources. Even these outside sources have to be internalized before they may become the source of your actions. This is an important distinction. You have to accept on some level the connection between the voice you are listening to and the actions you are planning to take. In the case of the evil urge this voice as we know is subtle, convincing and very rational at times making it only all too easy to follow through with in terms of the actions that this voice is advising. The first step is in recognizing that there is a difference between this voice and the voice of 'the Lord your God.' One voice leads you into chaos and another voice leads you to the promised land.
You have to know what is good and keep to it. When you are about to be led astray remember that there is another voice that will keep you on the path of right doing(righteousness). This 'right doing' means that you are making the 'right' choice every time in your mind in terms of listening for and following the 'voice of God.' This voice of God doesn't sound with trumpets or come in with any kind of fanfare. It is the still small voice that opens up door after door of loving kindness in terms of the life you are leading and experiencing.

     "They all bring guilt to this world." This one Attribute that is in the form of a hand with many messengers is the description of all of the errant thoughts that can arise from taking the wrong turn within and following the evil inclination. The more you accept this evil inclination the further afield you go until you turn aside and then begin the path of return. Then as you return order begins to flow within your life. You make the right moves within and follow the voice of God now with joyful expectation.

     The part about the Evil urge coming from the left or the North and not being able to come from the South for example because it would then learn the paths of the South means that once you exchange your point of reference from the North to the South then the evil urge no longer exists. It cannot follow the ways of the South simply because all of its power to influence comes from the North. In this verse you are told about turning away from the North and following by inference this path of the South where the voice of God is heard.

     The hand and the five fingers represent the many messengers that go out from the North. The evil inclination comes with many hooks. Too many times we either ignore these hooks or just don't see them coming. Before you know it you find yourself travelling in a direction that will only lead to and cause chaos in your life. The point of reminding us about the evil urge is so that we'll recognize it when it first appears in the form of a hook. This is because once you are hooked your lower nature then follows a chain of association in terms of the thoughts you are thinking along with the subsequent plans you make as a result of these thought becomes increasingly more difficult to break free of. It is during this initial phase when the hook is offered that you have to remember your connection with the King, with your highest thinking and the Lord your God who rules above all. Your highest thoughts on the contrary have their own threads of association becoming increasingly more ethereal as you move upwards in their trajectories taking you South inside of the mind of the Creator and along the paths of right thinking. Another plus for remember to turn aside from the evil urge is that by doing so you clothe yourself in the armor of right choice.

When you recognize the hook of the evil urge for what it truly then even if other thoughts arise to begin to form this chain of evil you will be conscious of these thoughts taking shape and be able at this initial phase to turn yourself around and steer clear of the deeper chaos that would await you if you continued to indulge in taking the hook, line and sinker. When you do succeed in turning away from the hook you may then transform the entire situation into something that serves God or your highest thoughts. Then every outcome is assured to turn out for your good.


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