Vayetze: Chapter 13

Rabbi Chiya sees Elijah


In a dream of Rabbi Chiya's, the prophet Elijah announces the imminent destruction of the holy city within, if men cease to study Torah. When Rabbi Chiya wakes and discusses his dream with the sages, Rabbi Yesa comments that, although the wisdom of Torah watches over those who study it, the same is not true of "men who are strong in this world" - that is, who manifest the energy of the Left Column. Thus, the Holy City, in its external aspect, is doomed to destruction over and over again.


The Talmud teaches us that the Temple was destroyed, not for lack of academic study of the Torah, but because of hatred for no reason and intolerance among the children of Israel. The spiritual meaning of "Torah study" concerns character transformation, not scholarship. Torah study is a means to an end-learning to love thy neighbor as thyself. Everything else, according to the sage Hillel, is merely commentary. Negative forces attempt to focus our attention on the study itself, arousing self-righteousness and self-importance. When this happens, the sages warn us, the Torah actually becomes poison to the body and soul. If we hold to our intolerant ways, the Temple will be destroyed repeatedly. Moreover, each year that the Temple is not rebuilt represents the spiritual equivalent of its destruction. The Light activated as we read these verses hastens the rebuilding of the Temple and the final redemption.