Vayetze: Chapter 5

"And Jacob went out from Beer-Sheva," part two


In an addendum to the previous section, an analogy is made between the pattern of Jacob's physical movements and the structure of the Tree of Life, which is Kabbalah's great symbol for the attributes of God. The Tree of Life is also spoken of as the Ten Sfirot, or ten dimensions. The rabbis discuss some of the relationships between the various attributes of the Tree, such as "the 32 paths" which are woven into the structure of the Ten Sfirot. An anecdote concerning Rabbi Yitzchak further explains the powerful attraction among the three pillars or columns which comprise the 'trunk' of the Tree of Life. From these grow the branches that represent the complex interconnection of all aspects of Creation.


All events that transpire throughout the cosmos, from the budding of a seed in the forest to the birth of a new star in a distant galaxy, are reflections of creative processes unfolding in the Upper World, through the agency of the Ten Sfirot. Our world is a reflection - a branch automatically responding to influences that emanate from the seed that is the Upper Reality. Physical existence can be likened to a marionette, whose strings are manipulated from dimensions on high. There is, however, one exception to this metaphor-man. Man has the power to influence and control the Upper World and the Ten Sfirot through his own conduct. Prayer, meditation, rituals and, most importantly, actions are the mechanism through which we exert control over the Sfirot. Thus, we determine which influences will rebound into our realm. The spiritual forces arising from this passage help us exert positive influence upon the Tree of Life through the actions of Jacob. This brings more Light in our lives and diminishes the presence of darkness and evil in the world as a whole.