Forgive and Remember

The Teachings of Harav Yitschak Ginsburgh 

The Patriarchs as Archetypes

‘In the Bible, the Book of Genesis is referred to as Sefer Hayashar—literally meaning “The Book of the Straight”—after the Patriarchs who walked in a straight or upright path with God. By walking in a straight path with God’s will, the Patriarchs also walked directly to God’s essence. When the Torah describes Abraham’s travels through the Land of Israel it says, “Abraham traveled to and fro to the south.” Chassidut explains that the south symbolizes God’s infinite light. From the actions of each of the three Patriarchs, we learn a different aspect of serving the Almighty, because each of the Patriarchs illuminates an archetypal way that we should strive to incorporate into our own lives. The sages state this idea with the oft-quoted words, “Only three are called forefathers—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” To understand the archetype that each Patriarch represents, we need to first understand his inner essence. The study of the essence of the Patriarchs is one of the cornerstones of Kabbalistic thinking.’   see footnote 30