Rectifiying Edom and Ishmael

The two great exiles of the Jewish People in our days: Edom (אדום, 51) and Ishmael (ישמעאל, 451) equal 502 = "Cursed be Haman" (ארור המן) = "Blessed be Mordechai" (ברוך מרדכי).

The joyous wine of Purim takes us to a place where we are unable to distinguish between "Cursed be Haman" and "Blessed be Mordechai." We see only numbers, and if two expressions possess the same gematria they are indistinguishable.

Ishmael (son of Abraham) is considered Abraham's "waste product" and Edom (Esau, son of Isaac) is considered Isaac's "waste product." In Kabbalah, Abraham is the rectified "right" and Isaac is the rectified "left." Ishmael, therefore, represents the extreme, profane right and Edom represents the extreme, profane left.

Blessing good empowers sparks of good to manifest from within a context of evil. Cursing evil breaks the "shells" which prevent the good trapped in the shells from revealing itself.

To bless good characterizes the right, while to curse evil characterizes the left. And so one would think that "Blessed be Mordechai" relates to the rectification of the Ishmaelite exile, while "Cursed be Haman" relates to the rectification of the Edomite exile.

But in this context Kabbalah teaches that the two hands, right and left, must cross over. The power of holiness to curse evil must be applied primarily to the extreme right, the Ishmaelite exile, while the power of holiness to bless good must be applied primarily to the extreme left, the Edomite exile.

Note, however, that the two together, Ishmael and Edom, equal 502 – the value of each of the two phrases "Cursed be Haman" and "Blessed be Mordechai." Each exile has sparks of good which can be redeemed only through blessing (Mordechai), and each has shells which must be broken to reveal the good by cursing evil (Haman).

Our success to curse evil and bless good depends on the equanimity of our spirit, recognizing that both extreme and apparently opposite "energies" (to curse and to bless) are essentially equal.

Equanimity comes from the recognition that what truly matters is the result – the revelation, redemption, and elevation (to its Divine source) of the good. That's why "result" in Hebrew (תוצאה) equals 502.

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1 comment

Boruch Hoffinger January 31, 2018 at 5:17 pm

I've been searching for the source of the concept of
'The humility and thankfulness of Abraham vs the arrogance
and haughtiness of Ishmael.
(Whenever Abraham would get/receive something he was
very grateful, but Ishmael was arrogant and expected everything.)



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