Why was Abraham occupied with purifying other people [by immersing them in the waters of a mikva, not merely satisfied with converting them to monotheism]? Because he is pure and is called pure, as it is written: "Who can bring a pure thing out of an impure? Not one," (Job 14:4) where "pure" applies to Abraham who [was pure and] came out of Terach [who was impure].

Rabbi Shimon said: this was in order to rectify Abraham's level. And what is his level? It is 'waters' [for Abraham's soul is rooted in chesed which is related to water]. Because of this, he toiled to purify people with water. And when he invited the angels, his first words were, as it is written: "Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched... (Gen.18:4) to strengthen himself with that level [chesed] which is the [spiritual] source of water.

This is how he purified people from idol worship and all other types of impurities]. And just as he purified the men, so did Sarah purify the women. Therefore, all those who came to him were completely purified.

Come and see! Wherever Abraham settled, he planted a tree. But it did not grow properly in all the places; it only grew properly when he lived in Canaan. And by this tree, he knew who was connected to G‑d and who was connected to idol worship.

For if a person cleaved to G‑d, the tree spread out its branches over his head and formed a pleasant shade for him. But if a person was connected to idolatry, the tree raised its branches upwards. Then Abraham knew [that the person was an idol worshipper]. Abraham rebuked him and did not let him go until he cleaved to faith in G‑d!

In addition, whoever was pure was accepted by [the shade of] the tree. But whoever was impure was not accepted. Abraham then knew. If this was the case, he purified them with water.

And there was a spring of water beneath the tree. If a person needed immersion, the water immediately rose towards him and the branches of the tree ascended upward. Abraham thus knew that he was impure and had to immerse in water immediately. But if a person was so impure that he wasn't worthy of immediate cleansing, the spring dried up. Then Abraham knew that he was still impure and needed to keep seven [clean] days.

Come and see! Even when he invited the angels, he told them to "repose under the tree," (Gen. 18:4) in order to test them [to see if they were pure]. He tested every person by the means of this tree. And the secret is that he said this for the sake of G‑d, the Tree of Life for everyone. This is why he said to the angels to "rest yourselves under The Tree," and not under the tree of idol worship.

Come and see! When Adam sinned, it was by eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, as it is written, "But from the tree of knowledge of good and evil..." (Gen. 2:17) and he thereby brought death upon the entire world, it is written: "now if he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever." (Gen. 3:22) [Adam was exiled from the Garden of Eden so as not to eat from the Tree of Life.] And when Abraham [a reincarnation of Adam] came [into the world], he repaired the world by using another tree, the Tree of Life, to introduce the proper faith to all peoples of the world.

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this section, and what do they want us to learn?

Actions done to bring more Holiness, holiness meaning connection with G‑d, has a tremendous supernal effect. At the same time that Abraham was helping others get rid of negative spiritual baggage, he was also repairing the eons-old fissure that occurred in the Garden of Eden.

When will we be at the level of our Forefathers and Foremothers, to be able to do the right thing for ourselves, as well as for others?? Please G‑d! Help us to know the right way for us to move through Your worlds.

What did the selection mean to YOU?! Why were you reading it NOW?!


Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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