Forgive and Remember

The Teachings of Harav Yitschak Ginsburgh 

The Patriarchs as Archetypes

‘In the Bible, the Book of Genesis is referred to as Sefer Hayashar—literally meaning “The Book of the Straight”—after the Patriarchs who walked in a straight or upright path with God. By walking in a straight path with God’s will, the Patriarchs also walked directly to God’s essence. When the Torah describes Abraham’s travels through the Land of Israel it says, “Abraham traveled to and fro to the south.” Chassidut explains that the south symbolizes God’s infinite light. From the actions of each of the three Patriarchs, we learn a different aspect of serving the Almighty, because each of the Patriarchs illuminates an archetypal way that we should strive to incorporate into our own lives. The sages state this idea with the oft-quoted words, “Only three are called forefathers—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” To understand the archetype that each Patriarch represents, we need to first understand his inner essence. The study of the essence of the Patriarchs is one of the cornerstones of Kabbalistic thinking.’   see footnote 30:

As explained in length in Chassidut (Mittler Rebbe’s Bei’urei Hazohar 6a-c) this is the reason that the Kabbalists did not describe relationships in terms of giver and receiver but rather used the model of the procreative act between male and female. The model of the giver and receiver is that of a rich man giving charity to a poor man—a situation in which the receiver contributes nothing but the vessel needed by the receiver. This is a relatively immature relationship, in which the receiver is all but nullified by the giver.
But, the Torah (Leviticus 12:2; see Rashi there) stresses that a man and a woman contribute equally to the creation of their offspring—with the woman’s contribution actually preceding her husband’s. Thus, both sides are giving and receiving and there is complete unification between them, the hallmark of a mature relationship.
Likewise, God created us in order to enter into a mature relationship. From God’s transcendental point of view, all of reality is simply He Himself. But, from God’s immanent point of view, He and we can engage in a mature relationship, as it were, that leads to real unification.