"Moshiach is ready to come now-our part is to increase in acts of goodness and kindness" -The Rebbe

Monday, July 20, 2009

Inner versus external reality

One of the core differences between the secular world-view that enshrines moral relativism and that of the Torah, which teaches timeless, eternal truth, is that according to the secular world-view, reality is determined by externalities, while according to the Torah, the internal, spiritual reality is the true one. Here are some examples.

• Modern thinkers, buoyed by the tremendous accomplishments of science and technology, have dismissed religious belief as outdated and silly, superstitious and uncultured. So how then did the world come to exist? It just evolved all by itself. First there was a primordial mass, that exploded somehow or other, and developed slowly for many billions of years, until the universe as we know it came to exist!

But no amount of highfaluting sophistry can alter the basic principle that order cannot emerge from disorder. As astronomer Fred Hoyle famously declared, the theory of evolution is as unlikely as a 747 forming out of a tornado in a junkyard. Rather, a design reflects upon a designer, and the more complex and intricate the design, the more one is compelled to reach this conclusion. Our world in all its virtually infinite complexity exists because
Hashem created it, and asserting otherwise cannot change this.

• These days, if a man has undergone an operation that surgically removes his private parts, and takes hormone “therapy” and wears feminine clothes and declares that he is now a she, it is considered objectionable to reject this claim, and improper to refer to this person as a he.

But in reality, the artificial removal or minimization of certain typical gender traits and practices cannot change the inner self. Gender is not a matter of whim and preference.
Hashem “hardwired” into the core of a person’s identity ever since he separated Adam from Chava.

• According to civil law in certain areas, euthenasia is permissible, for they deem the person to have the inalienable right to choose between his own life and death.

According to Torah, however, actively ending a life is an act of murder regardless of one’s humane intentions, for one’s life is not subject to forfeiture.

• Some people consider themselves Jewish because they have distant Jewish ancestry or Jewish friends, or because they like Jewish food or Jewish literature ... or because they took a conversion course at a reform temple. Others who were born Jewish have come to tragically reject their identity, and (at least on the surface) identify themselves as no different from the non-Jews around them.

However, Jewishness is a status conferred by
Hashem, and thus only He is qualified to decide who has it. He revealed His will in the Halacha (Jewish law), which declares categorically that Jewishness is not a matter of personal choice and preference, or even of belief and conviction. Rather, only one who was born of a Jewish mother or was converted according to Halacha can be considered Jewish. Conversely, when one who does fall under one of these two categories claims that he is no longer Jewish, his declaration cannot be accepted. His Jewishness is at the core of his inner self, and is therefore not subject to change through any external action.

• Certain arabs have declared that they are entitled to a portion of the Land of Israel, or all of it, because in their way of thinking, it belongs to them. They have terrorized Jews and cruelly murdered thousands of innocents in a bid to promote this agenda. In a craven effort to appease these filthy murderers, certain politicians have ceded certain segments of the Land of Israel to these non-Jews. These concessions are invariably “honored” with solemn declarations of a desire for peace and harmony, brotherhood and cooperation.

Hashem gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people—the
entire Jewish people—as an eternal gift. The external act of physically handing over parts of the land to non-Jews cannot change this fundamental fact. So although non-Jews who receive land from Jews come to physically control it, they do not in fact acquire it. Instead, they become robbers, or, to use a popular expression, illegal occupiers. Thus, in reality ceding them land is spiritually detrimental (not only for the Jewish people, but also) for them, and against their own best interest.

In light of the above, I believe that part of the struggle to cast off insidious secular attitudes (see here) consists of consciously training ourselves to become attuned to the deeper reality of the world in which we live. In order to accomplish this in the deepest sense, it is neccessary to study the “inner,” mystical dimension of Torah. This enables one to see within everything one sees in the world the true inner character and purpose of that thing, and this in turn guides one in how to relate to it according to the wishes of Hashem.

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