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TOLDOT: The Art of Balance

How do we achieve a healthy balance in a polarised world? What are the forces behind polarisation? Are human beings naturally disposed towards an extreme or are we naturally inclined towards living a balanced life? The mystics explain that all human attributes are an expression of a corresponding divine energy. In total there are ten unique attributes belonging to three general energy types. Type one is identified as being on the “right”. Type two on the “left”. Type three is in the “centre”. Each of these three energy types were embodied by one of our three patriarchs. Abraham embodied the “right”. Issac the “left”. And Jacob the “center”. Our sages refer to our patriarch Jacob as being the most “outstanding” of our forefathers. For it is only Jacob who merits that all his decedents are the “children of Israel”, unlike Abraham and Isaac. What makes Jacob so outstanding? The answer lies in the understanding of what it takes to be at the “centre”. Human beings however refined are naturally disposed in one direction or another. By nature we are emotionally inclined to be either of a generous spirit or more stringent, optimistic or pessimistic, etc. To be at the “centre” requires transcendence. To rise above one’s natural inclination. It demands a constant vigilance to ensure the right measure of emotional ingredients applied carefully. Each situation needs new meticulous judgment. It is not about how you feel. It’s about what the circumstances demand. Jacob had a particularly challenging life. He lived in close proximity with the most cunning of people. Yet he remained unscathed. At heart he is pure and innocent. Yet he recognizes deceit and is not afraid to challenge it. He is able to do this because he is only concerned with a cause greater than himself. He is able to balance this very fine line between the extremes because he is completely focused on implementing the task at hand irrespective of his personal disposition. In the heat of the fight he remains absolutely selfless. Because of which he remains perfectly balanced.

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