Friday, July 24, 2015
Genesis, Chapter 20, Verse 8Early the next morning Abimelech called all his servants and informed them of everything that had happened, and the men were filled with fear.Abimelech was a pagan King warned in a dream not to take Sarah; who by accounts in the scripture was a most beautiful and alluring woman, into his Harem because she was the wife of Abram (Abraham) a visitor to his kingdom. Abimelech even though a pagan was a righteous man; so righteous and good was he that he was warned in a dream from God about Sarah. Abimelech and his servants and men were righteous as they demonstrated holy fear when they realized how close the King came to culminating a grievous sin that surely would have caused the ruin of the entire kingdom. Being righteous men they may have listen to that small still voice of God’s spirit that calls men to right actions knowing instinctively the words God spoke on mount Sinai to Moses “I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.”(Exodus, 20:5-6)Today is my youngest of five daughter’s birthday; so I would like to share something of why Sarah was one of the most beautiful women of all times.The apparent implication is that Sarah was beautiful inside and out—and what’s more, that the inside and outside were interdependent. Her face was a transparent canvas from which emanated her inner radiance.
Chassidic philosophy demonstrates three ways in which the body and soul can interact:· The soul can try and mitigate the urges of the body. Things that look good, taste good and feel good are stimulating and addictive. Most of us live life with our body in the driver’s seat. The soul just can’t compete. And so the soul tries to negotiate reasonably, and encourages moderation.· Or, the soul can choose to reject the body and abhor anything associated with materialism. The soul-driven person would then rebel against society’s shallow and false veneers. Simplicity and ascetism become the ultimate goals of the soul.· The third scenario is not a compromise between the first two. It is an entirely new approach, where the body and soul learn to work together. The soul neither leans towards the body nor rejects it. It does not react; it pro-acts. In a proactive position, the soul directs and channels the body’s inclination in a constructive way.In this last approach, instead of repressing the body’s needs, the soul views them as an opportunity to serve God in a whole new way.