Truth and Lies

Wokism Exposed: Part 1 – the dialectic

Wokism is a misguided “social justice movement,” that upholds a pseudo-morality opposed to godly values. Irrespective of pointing out its ideological roots, it can clearly be explained as “cultural Marxism,” based on its overarching intent to divide groups of people into the oppressed and the oppressor – a basic Marxist strategy. Wokism’s roots go back to Hegel and Marx, whereof Hegel, perhaps, the first progressive, introduced the concept of the dialectic, wherein the thesis (status quo of society) is critiqued by the antithesis, thus forming a new society, called the synthesis; yet, this process continues to repeat itself, until theoretically, a utopia, brought about by the Spirit of Man results somewhere down the road of history. Marx rejected any idea of the spirt, and founded what he referred to as “dialectical materialism,” proffering the viewpoint that through a complete upheaval of society, a utopia can come into fruition out of society’s ashes. Neither dialectical approach to history and revolution is in accord with recognizing G-d’s hand in all human affairs; so, its end result can only be antithetical to the divine plan on earth.

G-d save us from the new totalitarianism.

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Seeking Restoration

“In that day, I will set up again the fallen booth [sukkah] of David: I will mend its breaches and set up its ruins anew. I will build it firm as in the days of old.” – Amos 9:11, JPSN

If our expectations for the future rest, primarily, upon our fears, anxieties, and concerns having to do with the present, then we may expect to transition to something different in our lives as individuals, and part of the greater whole, based upon our discontent of the current status quo. Yet, we should not permit our expectations to lead us astray, into thinking that some better “state of affairs” will come into fruition, as a result of efforts that have more to do with a vision of utopia, based upon a progressive understanding of social justice, in totale, rather than giving credence to the transcendent wisdom of G-d.

Moreover, there is a difference between social justice, bought with the price of losing our freedoms, while condemning those who are not in accord with the pseudo-morality that it proffers, versus a sense of justice that is balanced by chesed (mercy), bringing about a harmonious world view that treats all according to the same standard. G-d’s worldview and divine plan for humankind differs greatly in kind and means to bring his Kingdom into the world, as opposed to mankind’s vision of New Babylon that is already becoming a dystopian reality.

Therefore, let us strive to be in accordance with G-d’s promises for His people, by looking forward to the rebuilding of the Beish HaMikdash in the near future; so that we may not falter while the world around us descends into darkness, let us fully place our trust in G-d, and our expectations in his divine plan.

Seek Refuge

“Happy is the man who finds refuge in You, whose mind is on the [pilgrim] highways.” – Psalms 84:6, JPS 1985 Tanach

To take refuge in G-d is something that can be done today, and has been done across the ages. To keep one’s mind on the roads leading to Jerusalem that were full of those who came to observe the holidays from outside of Jerusalem, today becomes partly an excursion to our glorious past, yet, also possible to envision as this occurs in the modern era, whether by foot, car, or bus. Or for those living overseas, by plane.

Additionally this latter part of the verse, concerning a focus on the pilgrimage may also be rendered as an ascent that led to perceiving G-d in their hearts. Thus, this path of the heart, that all may partake of, may lead to the fulfillment of a constant awareness of G-d, such that this acquisition may outwardly reflect the inner radiance that results from connecting to G-d, and following His moral law.

Truly, a refuge from the external forces of modernity, and widespread pseudo-morality in the world today, this path may sustain those who seek a higher moral ground in their lives. So, as we pass through the Valley of Thorns, may our efforts to meet these current challenges, blossom into a means to draw closer to G-d in our lives on a continual basis.

May we go from “strength to strength,” until we stand before the L-RD in Zion (derived from Psalms 84:8).

Omer: Day 8 (Chesed of Gevurah)

loving-kindness within discipline – the Love aspect of Discipline

The aspect of chesed, having to do with love, denotes the gentle persuasion of discipline towards those whom we love; hence, correction from a place of love does not appear to be stern; yet, firm enough to make the point clear. If we truly love another person, then we are cautious in any attempt to rebuke – only for the sake of that person’s benefit to increase in understanding of the path that H’Shem desires us to walk upon. Therefore, the end result is from a place of love, not only from the one who institutes the admonition; rather, also from the One Who would only like the best for us.

Carry On

motzei Shabbos: parashas Tetzaveh 5782

“And thou shalt make staves of acacia-wood, and overlay them with gold. And thou shalt put the staves into the rings on the sides of the ark, wherewith to bear the ark. The staves shall be in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it.” – Exodus 25:15, JPS 1917 Tanach

On the commandment, “they shall not be removed from it” (Exodus 25:15), R’ Hirsch comments that because the poles that were placed in rings on the sides of the Ark of the Covenant were to always remain there, to carry the Ark, this symbolizes that the Torah itself is not bound to any one place; rather, wherever one goes, the teachings are meant to accompany us. G-d’s words are meant to be our companions, so to speak, even as we look towards His presence to guide us.

The same idea holds true, chronologically, that the veracity of Torah carries its own weight, and holds true across the ages. Thus G-d’s commandments should be no less compelling today, then they were on the day that they were given at Sinai. Even so, many forces in society tug at the heartstrings of human beings, attempting to lure one’s understanding away from the truth. We are challenged to remain steadfast, by not going along with the zeitgeist (spirit of the age); rather, that we remain loyal to G-d, even though many people may view the commandments as passé, a relic of the past.

G-d’s words throughout kitvei kodesh (holy scripture) are a moral compass, especially in times of tumult and confusion. Without the express knowledge of the pure unadulterated truth, how can mankind even know left from right, up from down, or good from evil? In general, we would not even know what direction we are headed, unless we have the “divine blueprint of life” to guide us along the way. So, let us not stray from the path, nor err in our judgment, as we encounter various elements in society that are not in accord with the truth. For, truth is not relative; rather, truth is an essential constant, like a compass always pointing in one direction.

Omer: Day 34 Tragic Lessons

In light of the recent tragedy at Meron, due in part to overcrowding, I would like to recount some insightful renderings made by others, concerning what can be learned from this tragedy. Any tragedy must be viewed as a significant event, meant to bring us to a greater understanding of ourselves, the condition of the soul, and a greater awareness of our connection to G-d. The insight is not my own, rather it is based on a few responses, given by certain authorities within the rabbinic world as well as a few other reputable sources.

A key thought to keep in mind, is that nobody is immune from judgments that are brought upon us as a people. Teshuvah (repentance) is first and foremost the primary response, in order to acknowledge that could have been us, if things were different. It is meaningful to do teshuvah, in respect to this tragedy, because this will place our response in the proper context, knowing that this is a wake up call to make heshbon hanefesh (an account of the soul) by examining our conscience.

The point was made by another source in the Jewish world, that Rabbi Akiva’s students, almost two thousand years ago suffered a high mortality rate due to a plague, attributed to their inability to respect each other’s viewpoints, thus showing a lack of respect towards each other. Showing respect to others is a basic quality that should be considered as part of our humanity.

It was mentioned that the type of overcrowding that leads to a neglect of acknowlegding the physical boundaries of others has been evident at other events of a similar nature. The worst case scenario of this kind of neglect has tragically occurred; as a result, to make this tragic event meaningful would include, not only doing to teshuvah for the sake of our own souls; also, to consider our own awareness of the physical space we give to others, respecting their boundaries. Of course, if I may add to this, the greater task at hand would be to also respect other people’s emotional and psychological boundaries.

I would not be writing any of this, except to reiterate as respectfully as possible, points already made by others much more qualified than me to make such statements. However, I will conclude with an attempt to connect the the attributes of the day to these lessons. Perhaps, one of the foundations of humility is to recognize that we all share a common humanity with each other. When we see ourselves, more or less on the same level as everyone else, then we will not try to lift ourselves up above others in any manner whatsoever. Thus, we would not disrespect others in our own attempts to fulfill mitzvoth (commandments) or minchagim (customs). Every mitzvah should be performed with the following commandment in mind, “to love our neighbor as ourself.”

Please, pray for healing of all those who suffered from this tragedy. The wounded, as well as the first responders who dealt with the psychological trauma of witnessing the aftermath. Also, for the consolation of the bereaved families and friends of those who lost their lives in Meron. Thank you very much. And, may G-d bless all of us in our endeavors to excel at improving ourselves.

Heritage – 5


Shavuos commemorates Mattan Torah, the Giving of the Torah. A spectacular event, the Revelation at Sinai, when H’Shem gave B’nei Yisrael the Commandments. This was the culmination of the Exodus from Egypt. Being made a people unto H’Shem, our bond to Him was signified with the commandments, presented as a ketubah (marriage contract) to the Bride (K’lal Yisrael). Our sovereignty as a nation begins here; the declaration being made first, with Matan Torah, then, we were brought into the Land: a people first, then, we were given a country.

Today, the Torah should speak to our everyday lives; otherwise, Mattan Torah, becomes a glorious event, disconnected from our current times. When we learn Torah, we should feel compelled to incorporate these ideas into our lives; inasmuch that the Torah still has relevancy after so many generations. The Ten Commandments are a good place to start; perhaps, simply by naming them; then, reflecting on each one in relation to our lives. I could spend an entire week on the 1st Commandment, reflecting on whether I am imbued with the awareness that “H’Shem is the L-RD, our G-d.”

Although we may believe in G-d, the additional question to pose to ourselves is whether or not we have accepted His Sovereignty. In this sense, as mentioned in commentary (Baal Halachos Gedolos), the first commandment is a call to believe in the existence of G-d, and accept His authority as the source of the commandments. When we accept G-d’s Sovereignty, then the commandments become authoratative; otherwise, the commandments could be misconstrued as relative.

There is a difference between accepting the commandments for ourselves, because we recognise the inherent wisdom in them, in regard to the moral perspective that we uphold, versus accepting the commandments as the divine words of G-d, as an expression of His expectations of us. The Jewish people are bound to the commandments, regardless of whatever our perspective may be. Therefore, the primacy of the first commandment is that the authority of all of the other commandments are hinged upon the first, “I am the L-rd your G-d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt” (Exodus 20:2).