The passuk says לא יהיה בך עקר ועקרה ובבהמתך There will not be found anyone barren, whether a male or female, nor in your animals. The literal translation of this passage concerns the physical inability to conceive and give birth. However, this promise also alludes to a spiritual infertility as well. To this the Baal Haturim writes
ברוך תהיה מכל העמים – הפסוק מתחיל בבי”ת ומסיים בכ”ף, לומר שבזכות התורה שיש בה כ”ב אותיות. לא יהיה בך עקר ועקרה. בגימטריא בדברי תורה:
One can explain the Baal Haturim as follows. Through the segulah of learning Torah one can attain fertility and merit to birth a child. Another interpretation can also be that through learning Torah one will not remain spiritually sterile and childless.
Let us elaborate on the second explanation by connecting the different formulations of these letters: עקר (barren), קרע (tear), רקיע (firmament), עיקר (main), עקור (uproot) קערה (vessel) all fall under one theme.
Hqshem placed us in this world in order that we should spirituality give birth to ourselves. Everyone possesses biological parents. Unlike any other creation in the universe, Man must strive to become his own spiritual parent. As the passuk says ועשיתם אותם and perform the mitzvos. Chazal say that since אתם is spelled without the letter vov it can be read ועשיתם אתם (atem) make yourselves. Through the fulfillment of mitzvos, the refinement of character and middos, the learning of Torah and the subjugation to Hashem, one can transform himself into a new being and creation. The Oshirover Rebbe ztl says that is the level of our אבות who are called fathers to manifest that they truly reached the level of giving birth to themselves as if they were their own fathers.
This concept is alluded to in the passuk (Tehillim 2,7) אמר ה’ בני אתה אני היום ילדתיך. The simple understanding is Hashem said you are my son, I gave birth to you today. However we can translate it as follows. Every day when a Yid negates his will to the will of Hashem instead of listening to his נפש הבהמית his animal soul, he demonstrates he is deemed a son to Hashem. It was the nefesh Elokis which brought him a step closer in the process of ועשיתם אתם. This is what the passuk alludes to when it says “You are my son” a spiritual title given to such a person by his subservience to the נפש אלקית. He has attained the level where the אתה the “you” which describes the נפש הבהמית becomes aligned to be one with theאני “Me” Hashem the נפש אלקית. When the אתה becomes the אני then the nefesh of the behaimah in a Yid becomes elevated. It is considered that that day one reached the level where the nefesh Elokis the אני gave birth to the אתה as the passuk says היום ילדתיך.
The word ועשיתם means to fix (Bereishis 1,7 Rashi), and the word אתם refers to the nefeshbehamis. The way one creates himself spiritually is by subduing and recruiting the nefeshhabehamis into the service of the nefeshElokis. This tikkun process not only did the avos start but they also completed as Chazal say הן הן המרכבה they became a chariot the Shechinah.
The רקיע represents the heaven and spirituality. It is the עיקר , the goal, towards which one must gravitate to and direct his life thereby making himself a קערה a vessel to receive Hashem’s goodness. That is why the bodily shape of the human being is to stand vertical with his head towards shamayim which in contrast to the animal whose spine is horizontal and whose head faces the earth. The drive of man must be to use his head to discover Hashem in creation and not to use his intellect to enhance his earthly pleasurable experiences. For if man leads his life in such a perverted manner then his creates a rip קרע between the heavens and the earth. It is as if he booted out Hashem with a disconnect from creation just as the DorHaflagah attempted to do by building a tower upwards to the heavens in order to make war with Hashem to stop Him from interfering with their physical pursuits and cravings.
Chazal say on the passuk אחות לנו קטנה that the word אחות doesn’t only mean sister but also to sew as a tailor. Avraham Avinu was the master tailor who sewed the rip between heaven and earth and brought the awareness of Hashem to earth and its inhabitants. People who live with this rip are in a state of being spiritually barren. Avraham who was both physically and spiritually sterile an עקר, sewed the קרע in the creation and within himself as the passuk testifies ומצאת את לבבו נאמן לפניך. The word לבבו is plural referring to the nefeshha behamis as well. Thereby, he uprooted עקר, himself from his state of childlessness and transformed himself into being his own אב. Yet all the Avos were on the level of אחות as its gematriah equals האבות with the word.
This is the inner meaning of לא יהיה לך עקר ועקרה ובבהמתך. The Torah demands from every Yid to give birth to himself spiritually by employing the נפש הבהמית in the service of the נפש האלקית, by making the אתה into the אני – אני ה’ אלקיכם. It is therefore that we find that the passuk ends with the word ובבהמתך which also participates in this spiritual journey. It conveys that the method to avoid becoming a spiritual barren being is to channel your נפש הבהמית to produce for Hashem. The gematriah of בהמה is בן for its subjugation creates the status of being Hashem’s בן which symbolizes the process of birth. The gematriah of בהמתך isאתה אני . When the nefesh habehamis is enlisted in the avodah of the nefesh Elokis there is an advancement in the process of spiritual birth within the individual .
Someone remarked “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well”. In the Torah perspective width means the striving to expand the אתה and transform it into theאני . Shabbos has the power to expand the width of one’s life. This is hinted in the three wells of Yitzchak which were namedעשק שטנה which they argued over with the Pelishtim and a third well named רחובות upon which there was shalom amongst them. The Chidushei Harim explained that the first two wells with challenges and arguments refer to the days of the week. However, the third well of peace corresponds to the Shabbos which is called רחובות expansions and width. With the neshama yesairah of Shabbos the נפש הבהמית is more easily subdued and enlisted. The word for width in Lashon Hakodesh is רחב the identical letters of חבר connection. When one is connected to the source like Shabbos, all his vessels expand to be infused with a lofty and other worldly spirit that brings an inner and outer shalom to himself and to his surroundings.
– Rav Brazil