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The chess game and the 12 Tribes of Israel - Vayechi

Friday, 21 December, 2018 - 6:55 am

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If we were pieces in a chess game, which piece would we be? Simple pawns, which can only go straight, or queens, which can move in any direction they decide? 

Angels are like pawns, they only have one dimension character. Some angels serve G-d with love, others with joy, others with respect etc. They can never change or do something that does not fit their character and their little “square”.

But according to our Sages, we are called the “bride” of G-d. And since He is the King, we are the queen… We have many dimensions and we are complex entities. We have some basic character traits and ways we approach the world and the service of G-d, yet we have the possibility to act in the opposite way. Someone that usually serves G-d with the characteristic of love can avoid a sin out of respect and fear of G-d, or he can get angry with a student or a child for their benefit, to educate them.

But why should we make the effort to act in a way that does not fit our character? Can we ever get satisfaction from such a behavior?

In this week’s Parasha Vayechi, Jacob, before his death, blesses his children, the 12 tribes of Israel. He gives to each son a blessing that fits his individual character, for instance, he blesses Judah with leadership, Issachar with study of the Torah, Zvulun with commercial success etc. But as soon as Jacob finishes to give the individual blessing to each son, he gives again all these blessings to the other brothers. Why? So that they should not be like pawns and be limited to one direction only. He gives his children the strength and the ability to perform actions that correspond to other characters and to feel accomplishment in any of the different ways to serve G-d.

We therefore belong to all the dimensions. We have a basic character, but we can perform actions that do not correspond to it. In others words, there is no commandment or Mitsvah that does not correspond to us. Like the queens in the chess game, we can do anything!

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

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