The Onion

Robert Haralick

There she is. She is busy in the kitchen preparing the family supper meal. She acts with carefulness and love, transforming the uncooked food into a nutritious tasteful meal. Such an important activity, the making of food that nurtures, providing each one with the daily nourishment required to serve God.

There He is. He is busy in the study, preparing a Torah lesson for his class which meets after dinner. To do the preparation he has to relearn the lesson at his level and then determine the essence of the lesson at the level of his students so that what he teaches can be fully received and understood.

God looks down at these two of his children and sees how each is involved with Torah. How beautiful. The Holy One can do nothing but smile with a Divine smile.

As the Divine smile fills heaven with delight, the Holy One of All Being says, ``Look!'' At this very moment all of Heaven direct their attention to where God is looking. For they know that in the next few moments, in the mystery of all mysteries, a world is about to be created or about to be destroyed. All the angels in the seven Heavens focus in. They do not want to miss a single detail.

As they look, they see that she is preparing a new kind of sauce for the chicken. She has cut up garlic and other spices and is just going to the cupboard to get an onion for the sauce. She opens the cupboard and when she reaches in to get an onion she finds there are no onions.

What is she to do? The sauce without the onion would not be the correct sauce. The sauce must have an onion. But now she has no time to go to the grocery. She has about an hour left to when dinner is to be served. The chicken and vegetables are cooking and need watching and stirring. What can she do? She runs to her husband. She tells him "I need an onion!"

Now the moment that all heaven is waiting for is about to occur. All the angels take their places. The hidden legions of angels who are the destroyers take up their weapons of destruction. The hidden legion of angels who are the makers take up their tools of making. The singing angels take up their places in their respective choruses. Just as he is about to respond to his wife, in this split second, his evil prompter and good prompter walk up to each other. They look at each other, eye to eye, honoring each other with the greatest of love. Then they take a step away from each other and give each other a final nod. So, so deep this final nod of acknowledgement. On the one hand the nod of each says to the other to "play your role well", and on the other hand the nod also says "peace."

In an instant the prompters are at his side. As the good prompter whispers to him, he becomes aware of the thought:

She is preparing food for the holy purpose of nourishing us so that we may continue to do mitzvahs and serve God with joy and vigor. Now she lacks only an onion to make the special sauce she prepares perfect. I must put aside my lesson and run to get her the onion.

As the evil prompter whispers to him, he becomes aware of the thought:

I am preparing a Torah lesson and she wants me to interupt this preparation and get an onion! Can't she make a different kind of sauce? Surely, there are alternatives.

And now comes the moment of action, the moment that will be forever recorded in eternity: Will he harden his heart and push her away by suggesting an alternative sauce? Will he be obdurate to her impassioned pleading to get an onion for her or will he embrace her and run to the grocery and get for her the onion? If he pushes her away a world will be destroyed and the angel choruses will begin to wail. If he restricts his preparation and embraces her by getting her the onion, a world will be created.

What magnificence in this moment! For an onion, a world can be destroyed. For an onion, a world can be created. But we come to understand the deeper mystery. The onion was only the vehicle, a neutral vehicle that created the conditions under which Godliness can be made manifest, depending on his action.

He chooses to get the onion. The making angel start working with their tools as God creates a world. The chorus angels joyously sing. The evil and good prompter look and each other and smile in delight.

But what was so momentous, so deep, in this situation? It is just an ordinary situation, an everyday common family occurence. Let us look closer and see what is really going on and why this ordinary situation is one under which Godliness can be made manifest.

On the surface, when she comes to him, she comes in apparent need of an onion. She comes as a receiver. And he, by getting her the onion, responds to her as the lover. He is the giver. She is the receiver.

But there is a deeper level. When she comes to him as the receiver, she comes as the beloved. She gives him the gift of her belovedness. For when she comes as the beloved, she gives him the gift of the opening through which he can be her lover. Spiritually she therefore comes as the lover. She is the beloved in one way and the lover in another way. And as she comes to him, God walks with her. As she stands as the beloved, God stands as the beloved. As she stands as the lover, God stands as the lover.

On the surface, when he gets the onion for her, he is the giver and therefore the lover. But the action of getting her the onion is an acceptance of her role as the beloved. When he accepts her gift that she is the beloved, his acceptance makes him a receiver and therefore the beloved to her. Thus he too is both the lover and the beloved.

And this is the reason why his choice to get the onion creates a world. For in that action there is a unification that brings Godliness into their lives. She becomes his lover and his beloved.

He becomes her beloved and her lover. He becomes a complete giver. She becomes a complete giver. He becomes a complete receiver. She becomes a complete receiver. In the world of Assiya, the world of action or making, what has just happened unifies the four letters of יהוה, the tetragrammaton, the unpronounceable name of God Transcendent. In the deep mystery of creation, actions which unify the four letters of יהוה, create a world. For such actions make manifest in our lives that God the Transcendent is God the Immanent.

י He beomes a complete giver
ה She becomes a complete giver
וHe becomes a complete receiver
הShe becomes a complete receiver

The Hebrew word for love is אהבה. It has gematria of 13. When there is love, the lover gives love and receives love. The beloved gives love and receives love. There are two givers. There are two receivers. The two loves are intertwined in complete giving and complete receiving. The intertwined loves, two loves which are one, doubles 13 to 26 and 26 is the gematria of the Eternal transcendent source יהוה. This is one of the secrets of the Holy name יהוה.

This is the meaning of

Listen, Israel. The Eternal (God the Transcendent) our God (God the Immanent) is One.

Listen, Israel. The Eternal, (God the Transcendent, that which is beyond), our God, (God the Immanent, that which we perceive as here) is One, we can transform that appearance that we perceive as here into that holiness that is beyond.}