|1 Aug 2007 @ 22:30, by Barak Negby|
Angels; Hospitality: Sharing
A Lecture given by
The Kabal Barak Negby
It is written in the Book of Genesis, chapter 32, 3:
"Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the Seir range of the Edom country ".
Apparently it seems to be a peculiar phenomena: Man sending angels.
We are used to refer to angels as God's messengers rather than man's servants.
They either bring or take something from a person or they tell man the word of The Lord meaning being sent by divine powers.
Thus each messenger is really an angel in his true meaning.
In the Book of the Zohar angels always appear wearing the image of a mortal.
Therefore we might see an angel in each person arriving to tell us, to take away from us or to bring us something.
In other words, a person who might help us by adding a new dimension to our life or damage us by taking away something we purchase is called an angel.
According to the Book of Genesis, Chapter 18, 1-16 we learn as follows:
The angels visited Abraham Our Father. Abraham performed a test to check the three angels who appeared in front of him.
He watched their attitude examining whether they were generous and kind towards each other.
As a conclusion he decided that they were not human beings having no conflicts among themselves as humans usually do.
The motive of messengers arriving to us is not conditioned by who have sent them being it God or man as by the act of mission itself they carry out a divine action.
Thus when a person comes and transfers us some message or profit we should see him as a divine messenger as we never have an exact measurement concerning the knowledge of distinction whether he is a messenger sent by God or by another human being
When we check the mission being accomplished regarding us and a certain person sending messengers to us we might realize that beyond his seeming motive there exists a general divine reason.
The reason is due to the fact that anyway we receive all we deserve in this world from God.
That is so because God has determined us a mother and a father followed by a certain destiny.
As a result He would probably send us His messenger in order to benefit or harden our destiny.
Thus, according to the deeper spiritual perception, we see a messenger in every person who comes to assist or to harm us so that in both cases we should refer to him as to an angel.
Being who he is he has no other way but assisting or harming us wherein lies the divine mission.
The evidence lies in the Holy Scriptures.
When it is written in the Bible that a person sends angels, as in the above mentioned case of Jacob, we can assume that they should be referred to in an attitude similar to the one regarding other God's messengers noted along the various books of the Holy Bible.
The tendency should be to enforce the opinion of the Zohar's sages saying that each messenger is an angel although he takes the form of a human being.
There is almost no possibility for a spirit exterior to the material world to transfer or warn or act in a certain pattern unless it appears in the shape of a human being in order for the mission to be fulfilled.
Therefore we should not run away from the visit of the messenger.
Thus all functions and obligations would be imposed upon a human being.
We accept him as a divine messenger as we know that God has a designed plan for us according to which His messengers are revealed to us bringing us blessings or laws according to what we deserve in our present life upon earth.
As a result the concept of hospitality becomes mostly meaningful indeed.
In the presented case we see that Abraham cared and bothered very much in order to prepare and bring everything needed so that his angelic guests would feel comfortable and satisfied.
We should also take into consideration the fact that Abraham was no expert in the commands of his own Torah as he himself only started the voyage along the path God had instructed him to walk.
Abraham, in contrary to other sages after his time except for Moses, was a skeptical by nature as he was still establishing and ensuring his belief by stopping and checking each new situation he met along
his path of faith.
As a result of his testing he decided that the messengers had to appear in the figure of human beings as this was the only possible way they could accomplish their mission.
Only then he behaved in a pattern of welcomed hospitality towards them.
Hence we learn a very important principle: No matter how common a person might look to us it is very important to be hospitable towards him.
After he goes away we could choose what to do with what he left us and use it according to our decision.
The commandment of hospitality is applied here because the angle-messenger should find the person he was sent to as being kind and welcoming towards visitors.
Otherwise he might give up fulfilling his mission due to inadequate circumstances.
Naturally the conditions of certain places and circumstances determine the range of hospitality.
Yet we must always make sure that the messenger who came to us would not leave without fulfilling his mission, especially once we understand that each messenger is sent from God, no matter who sent him in reality.
Furthermore, even if we treat those messengers who carry on an unpleasant mission not according to the commandment of hospitality we would not escape our hard verdict but might only harm the
We must never condemn him for being the official authority which punishes us but we should treat him with kindness and hospitality.
Once we got the verdict we should check and discover the mistake we have performed as a result of which we received such a painful punishment.
This is the personal lesson we must learn in order not to bring upon ourselves the same punishment over and over again.
Therefore once we realize the angel who appears to us has come to take and not to give there is no use to try and talk him into alternating his mission as the verdict might become even worse and harder.
The more we try to change certain characteristics in the messengers' attitude or behaviour the tougher and more harmful they might become.
On the other hand, once the angel behaves according to human beings' pattern of behaviour - except from bringing or taking away, actions deriving out of his being a messenger - then he no longer acts as an angel but as an impulsive human being led by his instincts and desires.
Thus he no longer preserves the above mentioned values and we can relate to him accordingly.
Hence an angel is each person we meet until the point where the rest of his actions become completely humane.
That is so because the characteristic to the interaction between the messenger and the subject of his message is that the angel doesn't request anything for himself but for somebody else for once he asks for himself he becomes humane.
We should still be aware and check each case properly.
Such might be, for instance, the case of the beggar who seems as if asking for himself but might at the same time be a messenger checking how much are we attached to our properties not willing to give up any part of them in order to assist others.
The principle thus is always to give as we never know what might be the hidden message behind the
appearing request for help.
As we continue studying we receive providential divine guidance telling us when we should rather not give.
Yet even here we do not act as individuals meaning we won't share due to the matter or the person involved which might represent an opinion contrasting our belief or spiritual direction.
So we are allowed to refuse at circumstances opposing our morality or integrity according to our belief and the path we have chosen to walk along in life.
True giving is measured according to what the receiver needs once he asks for and not according to the convenience of the giver at a certain moment in time.
Money is considered spiritual although it appears through material.
That is because the receiver is allowed to decide what to do or buy for that certain amount of money.
Thus he receives the spirit of all the possible things one can purchase with that sum.
When we decide to help a person we must take into consideration another essential element.
This principle is unlike the Christian attitude which suggests that when you have something share it with your friend, with someone who is in need.
It is very important to remember at all times that helping the other is not supposed to weaken us but on the contrary: It should strengthen us.
Thus we have, for instance, the commandment of giving away each tenth part of our income and this action brings prosperity and wealth to the giver himself.
Yet, if helping another weakens us we haven't really been of any assistance but harmed ourselves.
Then we might even be punished for daring to act beyond our present possibilities.
The proper assistance should be such that by all means wouldn't endanger or be on behalf of the giver without ever taking any consideration regarding the immediate necessity of the receiver.
When we help others there is an element of impression involved in the situation and it might cause an amount of compensation and even enjoyment.
If the enjoyment deriving from giving is exaggerated it might influence the giver to react beyond his abilities hence followed by damage and punishment.
The more impression the giver tries to gain the harder would his punishment become.
Giving always means enjoyment when it is given in the limits of our ability to spare a part of our possessions without it changing our regular way of life.
We should never prefer the impression of actions upon the purity of well doing.
Thus when we give out of integrity the giver is never harmed as he stays in a state of calmness.
Giving does not mean lending neither loaning money but it should be only for the sake of giving itself.
Thus the receiver is relieved of the necessity of returning it.
Otherwise the giver might get a verdict due to his conditioning the giving by returning.
Doing so he might misuse the act of giving putting the receiver in a position of suspension.
Once the giver announces at the moment of giving that he has no expectations of returning what was given the receiver owes him nothing and their present relationship can continue in peace and
The one who is in need must also learn his lesson through this announcement.
He learns that it is preferable to be in a state of giving rather than at his present state of needing.
Thus he would make an effort to improve his financial status.
Once the giving is not defined as a loan the receiver cannot delude himself and others that he would return it someday.
Thus it is a dignified way to assist the receiver both in fulfilling his immediate needs and in confronting him with the basic reason for his failures giving him the opportunity to gain responsibility over his own life.
This is the commandment referring to giving and receiving among individuals.
Considering institutions there exists a law that forbids charging interest.
Yet a law not kept by many must be reexamined for it might be faulty.
For instance, the massive presence of banks loaning money indicates that the law concerning charging interest should be renewed.
This fact is emphasized when we remember the early days of Christianity when Jesus objected firmly to the presence of money exchangers at the yard of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
The solution might be the allowance of charging interest but at the same time teaching the individual to be aware of its consequences.
There is a major differentiation between the social need of using banks for establishing common economical progress and the obligation of the individual to handle most of his incomes over to the bank in order to repay his debts.
We should guide the individual towards caution rather than change the whole financial system.
Hence we arrive to the personal responsibility of each individual towards his own freedom.
It is written in the Haggadah:
"I personally was saved by the Lord Who released me from being a slave in Egypt".
Therefore I personally am commanded to teach myself and my descendants the true meaning of freedom.
Once the individual learns to keep his own freedom he would no longer feel himself victimized by the world but would take full responsibility for being aware of entering labyrinths inside which he might lose or endanger his precious freedom.
Summing up we might say that we are obliged to our well being and should fulfill the commandment:
"And thou shall preserve thy souls".
Hence we are not allowed to harm ourselves, not even in order to assist the others.
The capacity of precise calculation of those commandments including giving and receiving protects us from painful verdicts and brings God's blessings to us and all our brothers upon earth.