Continuing the story of Abraham's defiance of Nimrod, Abraham is thrown into a dungeon for ten years.
The dungeon that your Abraham is thrown into is the optimal state for your development at this time. Your Abraham must realize that he is hopelessly attached to his ego. He must experience it first-hand, not conceptually, but really feel it. And the only way to feel it and clearly see that the ego is an evil force of darkness robbing you of your freedom, is to put yourself "deep into the earth," in the dungeon--the darkest and innermost part of your ego, where you can't help but feel terrible and shackled by it. This can only be done in the prison of the ego, in the bowels of the earth.
Here, Abraham is going through a phase that every person who cannot let go of his ego goes through. You try everything in your power to reconcile the ego with what you're studying; you wish to remain an egoist, yet connect to the Creator at the same time. Thus, Abraham finds himself imprisoned.
You already know about the existence of the Upper Governance when you are already with Abraham, but you realize that your nature cannot be defeated.
This is the state called "imprisonment," which lasts until you begin to realize that you can regain your freedom, but not by your own efforts. Rather, you can be free only if the Creator rescues you.
It takes time to realize this.
As the Midrash states, your Abraham remains in prison for ten years. Needless to say, we're not talking about corporeal years, for your liberation can happen in an instant. Ten years later, Nimrod finally realizes that Abraham cannot be broken, and orders to have him executed.
Facing the Last Temptations of the Ego
"Nimrod ordered his people to prepare in his capital, Ur of the Chaldeans, a furnace for execution by fire."
"Death" is the departure of the Light. "Death by fire" is when you are given so much Light, so much pleasure, that you can't help but start receiving it for yourself. And when that happens, shame burns you alive. There is nothing more terrible than that.
And that is what awaits your Abraham. He is already on the path to the Creator. He has experienced the bliss of being close to the Light, existing in congruence with the Law of Love and bestowal, and now he is being placed against his will in conditions that may "burn him alive."
Imagine that you've been given everything you could possibly dream of: money, high social status, power and fame, health, and even the sensation that you're advancing toward a spiritual revelation. As they say, it's "an offer you can't refuse." You are bound by egoistic bonds and given time to think about the offer--three days.
"Abraham remained in chains for three days while Nimrod's slaves lay down wood both outside and inside, preparing the furnace for execution."
The "three days" symbolize the three lines. It is when you are overcome with doubts as to what you should choose. Doubts are the chains binding your Abraham. As for what your choice should be, we already said that it's your middle line, also known as "faith above reason." In the story Abraham's mother suggests to his son to bow before Nimrod for one to save himself.
What is this degree inside you, called "Abraham's mother"? A mother is the degree of egoism that nourishes you. A father signifies intention; a mother is your ego. You haven't left the home of your "father and mother" (your innate desires), which is why your mother can approach you.
As was already mentioned, you are visited by doubts, both natural and dear like a mother, which used to be able to persuade you. This is the final test before your leap onto the next spiritual degree.
Breaking Free With the Help of the Creator
Abraham refuses, and thus tears himself from the previous degree once and for all. Your Abraham proves that he has no connection to his father (former ideology) or his mother (ego's previous degree).
This breakaway epitomizes the beginning of your "I" swiftly moving toward the moment in life when it hears the order: "Go forth from your country, from your relatives and from the home of your father, into the land that I shall show you."
"And then Nimrod's slaves set the pyramid of wood afire from both ends."
Who can save you from this predicament? You are weak, while the desires serving Nimrod are powerful. You cannot resist them! You are about to break and "burn down" (from shame, as we've mentioned). And so you pray, really pray, from the very bottom of your heart. And that's when the Creator answers.
"The Creator answered, 'There is none like Me in the heavens, and there is none like Abraham on the earth. I will come down Myself to save him from the fire!' And the Creator Himself willed the flames to not cause Abraham harm."
Only the Upper Force can drag you from one degree to the next. When you have no hope left, when your mind is no longer useful, you will decide to go with faith above reason (reason being the ego's faithful servant), when you resolve to rise above it.
This is when a "miracle" happens ("miracle" from the standpoint of egoism, though in full conformity with the spiritual), and the Creator Himself pulls you from one degree onto the other.
You will burn from shame if you use the Light of fulfillment for your own pleasure. However, if you use it for the sake of bestowal, the "wood" that's supposed to burn you up will transform into fruits you can eat, to fill yourself with and thereby advance.
"And Abraham came out unharmed with all eyes on him and the crowd awe-struck." "Why are you still alive?" Nimrod asked, trembling with fear.
"God, Who has created the heavens and the earth, and Whom you have been mocking, saved me from death."
In other words, your Abraham has shown everyone that you can rise above the egoistic desire. Moreover, it is the only way to be liberated from the sordid nature that governs you. You can come out from under it, and then no one will have power over you.
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