Our inner Cain and our inner Abel: Can we identify them?

Cain and Abel: inner meanings from the Kabbalah of Rabbi Ashlag

Cain and Abel

Rabbi Ashlag teaches us that all the elements to be found within the Biblical narratives are to be found within ourselves. Furthermore, the parts of the Torah that relate how the Creator revealed Himself to our forefathers, and their happenings, help us to shed light on our own behavior and help us to clarify for ourselves how to come closer to the Creator in affinity of form in compassion and giving.

The story of Cain and Abel is a representation of the paradox we all live with, of the conflict between the ego and the soul and how  we deal with them.

By asking the questions: Which part of me is my inner Cain? Which part of me is my inner Abel? and looking at the motives and actions of the protagonists in the story, we can see how we may prevent our inner Cain from “murdering” our inner Abel.

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From Rabbi Ashlag’s essay, Torat Hakabbalah Umahutah; the Netivot Shalom on Bereishit, the Zohar Bereishit A and Bereishit B

Picture credit: From the National Geographic Channel ( Video series)

Even Pharoah has a role in redemption

Seder night : the night of inner and outer freedom

The Haggadah of Pesach teaches us that every person needs to consider himself or herself as if he came out of Egypt. Rabbi  Yehudah Lev Ashlag teaches that the essence of the exile and the redemption are both historical events and  inner events within our consciousness. Our inner exile  is caused by those parts of us that oppose our connection with God and make it hard for us to express ourselves in the framework of holiness in consonance with our souls.  The hardest of  all aspects of the ego is the Pharaoh within.

In this class based on an oral discourse that the Baal HaSulam gave to his students, he teaches us why the exile, both outer and inner, is necessary and the role that even our inner Pharaoh has to play to bring us to the full redemption of dvekut (union) with God.

This class is a translation and explanation of a an oral discourse given by the Baal haSulam transcribed by Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag in his work, Shamati. (Arie Miskanot le Paroh) (1 hour)

My grateful thanks to the many chevrutas who learned this article with me this year.

Other Pesach talks on Nehora press are:

The inner meaning of Seder night

Who knows One? From exile to redemption

The inner meaning of the four cups


A world, upside down

I saw an upside down world ( Talmud Pesachim Soa

I saw an upside down world
(Talmud Pesachim 50a)

After Rabbi Yoseph, a Sage of the Talmud had recovered from his dangerous illness, his father asked him, “My son, what did you see ?”
Rabbi Yoseph replied, ” I saw an upside down world… People who are considered of great worth in this world are of no account in the world to come.” “My son, you saw things the  way they really are,” replied his father.

There are countless stories of unnamed martyrs and heroes of the holocaust, people who were considered at the very bottom of humanity’s ladder, who, with untold heroism understood the message of Rabbi Yoseph’s vision.and gave away their bread, or took the place of another on the forced labor.

Nowadays, in our own lives, we ask, “How can we find the way to live a true life with true values? Rabbi Ashlag teaches us, it is through the light of the Torah that we can begin to understand what is really worthwhile and what is false in our own world.

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Inspired by an article by Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag ztz’l Sefer haMa’amarim 5748, article 12 , “Mahem Torah U Melachah b’derech HaShem with grateful acknowledgement to my chevruta Dr. Susan Jackson

Sending the ego to the wilderness ; A talk for Yom Kippur

One for God and one for Azazel

One for God and one for Azazel

Aaron the High priest was told to take two he-goats and draw lots: one goat was to be for  God and the other to be for Azazel . On this goat on the sins of the Children of Israel were confessed and then the goat was sent to the wilderness.

The Zohar teaches us that this Temple service is actually about the choices we make and their consequences.

From the Perush HaSulam of Rabbi Yehudah  Lev Ashlag on the Zohar of Acharei Mot

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Uniting mind, heart and soul

 Praying at the Kotel

Praying at the Kotel

When we act from our ego we become separated from our soul . Yet it is the basis of our nature, formed by the Creator in the Thought of Creation. The ego expresses itself through two main vehicles— the mind desiring to know why we are doing any action and wanting control over our lives; and the heart which looks for pleasure, both sensual and emotional.
As we work to transform the direction of its energies, we come to unite the different aspects of ourselves, heart, mind and soul, which then form a uniquely coherent vehicle for the light of God.

From the writings of Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag
Listen to podcast (15 minutes)


The Holy Master the Baal Shem Tov teaches us that before we make any move we need to consider ourselves as having infinite free choice. After the event we need to consider that the move we chose was the one God wanted us to choose.


I considered this statement carefully. Does it match with my experience? I have to say it doesn’t. Before any event it feels as if I have one or maybe two choices available, certainly not a whole array of choices. I decided I need to go into this matter more carefully. After all, if a mere computer has a large number of choices just playing one move in a game of chess, how is it that I, a human being who is far more complex and sophisticated and dealing with life itself should have less?

To listen to Kabbalah talk with Yedidah click on  Decisions and choices