In Kabbalah, the Keter is considered above the Sefirot, which are Divine levels of energy used by Hashem to create the world. The Keter is an interface between Hashem’s Infinite Light and us. It pushes you back so that you should not pass the boundary. Rebbe Nachman teaches that we learn this from a word similar to Keter in the book of Job (36:2) – “Katar” – which is Aramaic for “wait.” This pushing back is a form of waiting, but really a process of advancing.
The Kabbalah also teaches that each Sefirah has a different type of Name combination of Hashem reflecting that attribute. The name for Keter is Ekyeh, which translates as “I will be.” This aligns with the Keter’s nature of keeping you waiting, since you are waiting to “become” a newer level of existence.
Understanding Keter’s role as pushing back, Rebbe Nachman emphasizes the importance of patience.
In the Kabbalah, the name for light is Or, with a gematria of 207, which is the exact gematria of Ein Sof, the Infinite Light. Whenever you experience light in your life, it’s coming from the Infinite Light.
All light experiences come from the Infinite Light, albeit unreachable. You’re running after it, but you can’t grasp it. That’s how it is.
In the Parsha, Hashem tells Yitzchak: Ekyeh is with you. You could read the verse as Hashem telling Yitzchak, “I will be with you. Don’t go.” That’s the straightforward interpretation. On a deeper level, Hashem is telling Yitzchak, “You’ve mastered Ekyeh.” Why? Because your name is Yitzchak.
Why was he called Yitzchak? Rashi explains that when he was born, there was a lot of laughter. There was joy in the world. So Hashem is telling Yitzchak, “You are a result of simcha.
Hashem is speaking to Yitzchak, saying, “Ehyeh imcha” – “I will be with you.” But according to Rebbe Nachman, that’s not all. There’s something more – “Vavarechecha.” He introduces the concept of a “bracha” or blessing.
Simcha is the key to properly accept setbacks
In Lesson 24 of Likutey Moharan, Rebbe Nachman explains a profound idea. When a Jew engages in a mitzvah with joy, no matter how seemingly small, it becomes eternally etched.
So, why aren’t we always joyful in performing mitzvot? Rebbe Nachman attributes this to preoccupation, distractions and the constant rush for immediate results. This lack of patience, “hamtana,” prevents us from experiencing the full joy of a mitzvah.
In today’s fast-paced world, people seem to lack “yishuv daat” – calmness, clear thinking. Rebbe Nachman says that we need a “bracha” or blessing from Hashem to overcome this. And without His blessing we cannot truly experience a calmness needed to perceive the Infinite Light of the Keter.
And this is what Hashem told Yitzchak – Ekyeh is with you – i.e. – you have reached the level of Keter [due to your joy in doing mitzvot] – and I will now bless it, so that you truly attain the calmness needed to perceive the Infinite Light.
As a result, Yitzchak didn’t head to Mitzrayim but stayed in the Land of the Philistines. Reb Noson explains that the word Philistine is related to the word Mefulash, meaning open from end to end.
What does that mean? There are individuals who seek the light, and they’ll do anything for it, even taking a wrong direction to attain that light, Mefulash implies no bounce backs; they want the light with no setbacks.
Thus, Yitzchak moved to the city of G’rar. Why G’rar? According to the Midrash, we know that Avraham Avinu was Megayer Gerim, converting people, and Yitzchak continued this practice. That’s why the city is called G’rar (similar to converts-Gerim). Why? Because he made converts, Gerim, from the nation of G’rar.
Additionally, this week’s Parsha discusses the Mayanot, the springs that Avraham Avinu dug, which the Plishtim covered up. Yitzchak tried to reopen these wells. Rebbe Nachman offers an insightful interpretation—the wells represent the springs of Torah. The Plishtim covered them up because of their Mefulash attitude.
Who covered the Mayanot that Avraham and Yitzchak were trying to reopen? Specifically, Plishtim, because Plishtim are Mefulash—those who only want the light with no boundaries. These are the people most opposed to Yiddishkeit and religion, as they become antagonistic and make fun of others because they themselves have crashed.
So, Plishtim, with their Mefulash attitude, are open on both ends, going up and crashing down without any breaks or ability to bounce back. This openness is the problem.
Yitzchak, on the other hand, went to make converts among the Plishtim. What Yitzchak aimed for was to educate people after convincing them of God’s existence and the importance of serving Him. He wanted people to build the right vessels, avoiding the Mefulash attitude, and understanding that setbacks are part of the journey—a condition of the Keter.
Thus, simcha is the key to properly accept the setbacks presented by the Keter, so that a person then builds strong and firm vessels to receive a glimpse of the Infinite Light.