"And Jacob sent [angelic] messengers..." (Gen. 32:4) Rabbi Yehuda opened [his discourse] with the verse: "For He shall give His angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways". (Psalms 91:11) This verse has already been explained by my Colleagues. When one is born into this world, the Evil Inclination immediately meets with him and constantly denounces him, as it is written, "sin crouches at the door" (Gen 4:7). What is meant by "sin crouches"? It refers to the Evil Inclination. 1

David also called it [the Evil Inclination] 'sin', as it is written, "and my sin is ever before me" (Psalms 51:5) [in singular form]. This is because it tempts man every day to sin before his Master. The Evil Inclination never leaves man, from the day of his birth.

The Good Inclination comes to man only when he comes to be purified. And when does man come to be purified? On his thirteenth birthday [when he becomes obligated in doing commandments (age 12 for a female)], man joins with both of them, the Good Inclination on his right and the Evil Inclination on his left. They are truly two appointed angels appointed [to guard over man] and they are with him constantly.

When man seeks to be purified [and repent his sins], the Evil Inclination is humbled before him and the right rules over the left. And both inclinations together watch over man whichever way he travels. This is the essence of the verse: "For He shall give His angels charge over you to keep you all your ways" (Psalms 91:11) [whether good or bad; if one strengthens his Good Inclination over the Evil Inclination, then the evil angel will say Amen against its will to all his good actions].

Rabbi Elazar applies this verse to Jacob, as G‑d placed with Jacob legions of appointed angels, as he came complete with the supernal tribes who were in a state of perfection. As it is written: "And Jacob continued on his way, and angels of G‑d met him". (Gen. 32:2) It has been explained that after being saved from Laban and departing from him, the Shechinah connected to Jacob and legions of saintly angels surrounded him. At that point " Jacob said when he saw them [this is a G‑dly camp]" (Ibid. 32:3) From these angels, he sent a group to Esau. This is the meaning of the verse: "And Jacob sent messengers." Surely these were real angels.

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this section? What is there to learn?

When we get a desire to go astray from the center way, rather than say, "why would such a thought enter my mind," perhaps a more holistic path of Sheleimut/completeness would be to contemplate, "why did G‑d give me this desire at this time?" Now, some would say that if you wrestle with dogs you get fleas, meaning that to even engage in this process will leave you tainted (and itching as well).

But the Ba'al Shem Tov, as well as others that follow, suggest that we should subjugate it(by not implementing the desire), isolate it (by recognizing specifically what is happening), and finally sweeten it (by bringing that desire and applying it to acts of Holiness). Here we let the right rule over the left. We do not flay ourselves for our negative thoughts, but we lift up holy sparks in every misplaced notion to the highest places. Here we achieve Sheleimut. Just a thought.

What does the above mean to you, and why is it revealed to you now?


Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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