Chayei Sarah: Chapter 18

There are many places for the righteous


The relationship of a man's good deeds to the place allotted to him in the World to Come is expounded by the rabbis. We learn that there are ultimately as many different places in the upper world as there are varieties of good deeds in this one. Just as the wicked receive a judgment each night while they are asleep, so the righteous nightly receive a blessing, as their souls ascend to carve out their future path to the supernal realms. The righteous souls also enjoy a dialogue with the angels and saints, who in exchange for information from the lower world, confer gifts of wisdom. It was such wisdom, says Rabbi Chiya, that enabled Abraham to understand, locate, and avoid the sources from which unholy spirits bring defilement and negativity to the unwary and unrighteous in this world.


In simplest terms, reality includes two basic realms - the upper world, and our existence in the physical dimension. The upper world is the source of our intuition and the force behind moments of mystical insight. When a dream comes true, for example, contact has been made with the upper worlds. When instinct impelled you to make an illogical decision that brought good fortune, this is another form of connection to the upper world. Unfortunately, these moments of acute insight and clarity are rare. We seem to have no control over how or when we make contact with the supernal realms. When we must make decisions and choices based on the evidence of our physical existence, the result is often turmoil and turbulence. The author of the Zohar understood this difficulty, and prescribed this portion as a remedy. A reading of this passage helps us utilize our sleep as a tool for spiritual enlightenment. The 'energy of Abraham' is summoned forth through these verses, strengthening our powers of judgment in matters that help or hinder the entrance of the Light into our world.