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.

Mercy Me

“Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” – Psalms 85:11, JPS 1917 Tanach

It is written that in the future, “mercy and truth” will have met, and, furthermore, that righteousness (tsedokah = justice) and peace will have kissed (Psalms 85:11). Thus, it can be understood from this verse, that these qualities will have appeared together, ushering in G-d’s Kingdom. Where are we today, in regard to this effort in our own lives? And, what of society’s take on the nature of these qualities appearing together?

Surely, divine truth and justice are qualified by the concomitant kindness, and peace that must be congruent for any effort to express truth, or bring about justice on earth. Rather, the social justice movement that has taken the world, as if by surprise overnight, fails in this regard. For, one of the means to obtain “social justice” according to the actual means through which this is being attempted is without any sense of peace, as if it is permissible from the point of view of SJW’s to use any means possible to reach their goals, thereby inferring that the means justify the ends.

However, the psalmist speaks of justice and peace existing together, implying that the means must not be in conflict with the end. Rather, the utopian vision of cultural Marxism, through the current Wokism agenda, is one is furthered through aggressive means, harshly condemning anyone not on board with Woke tenets; regrettably, this is the road towards totalitarianism.

Yet, regarding the efforts to bring about social change in a compassionate manner, have they not heard the adage echoed from the 1960’s: “If we can’t do it with a smile on our face, you know if we can’t love in our hearts, then children we ain’t got no right to do it at all” (For What It’s Worth, CSNY). Instead, their message is increasingly one of intolerance for viewpoints not in alignment with their own.

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Tehillim (Psalms): Day 30

Reflections on the Psalms: Day 30, psalms 145-150

“He safeguards truth forever.” – Ps. 146:6

How reassuring that G-d has taken it upon Himself to place a guard around truth, to ultimately prevent the erosion, decay, and dissipation of His divinely inspired words, so that truth may be preserved, ultimately for the use of mankind. And, this current time cries out for truth.

So, He also keeps His attention focused on all human beings, as is written, alluding to us, “He counts the number of the stars” (147:4); that is to say how much moreso, does He cause His awareness to be placed upon our paths. And, when we stray from our individual course in life, He will bring back His “devout ones” (Ps. 148:14).

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Lag b’Omer 5782

Lag b’Omer is the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer – the 49 day period between Passover and Shavuot. The day has several clear historical references, most significantly, being the day that the plague that took 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva’s students ceased. With his five remaining students, he began again to promote Torah instruction to his students, including Shimon bar Yochai. The message being that because the reason given for the plague is the baseless dissension amongst the students, the importance of respect towards others who have differing opinions and viewpoints, inclusive of various interpretations should be respected, despite the differences. A timely message for today’s world.

It is proclaimed by the most devoted advocates of the Zohar that the author of the premier mystical literature of Judaism is indeed R’Shimon bar Yochai. Yet, not everyone agrees with this claim; in particular, from a scholarly perspective, the work has been shown to have been written by Moses de Leon of Spain. When the Aramaic writing is deciphered according to its grammar and other idiosyncracies, these have much in common with the grammatical structures and manner of conveying ideas at the time and place that Moses de Leon lived. Additionally, there is testimony from that time, that indicates he wrote the work, yet because of his own relative obscurity, assigned the authorship to Shimon bar Yochai to bring an air of authenticity to the writing.

The historical Shimon bar Yochai, according to a reference in the Talmud lived in a cave for many years, in order to escape persecution by the Romans. When he left the cave, he was given almost supernatural powers in the Talmudic account, as if he acquired these during his meditations in the cave. A story that was later developed into a greater myth by the author of the Zohar, assigning the mystical treatise itself to his authorship. Yet, any astute reader can note that the “companions” of the character, Shimon bar Yochai in the accounts given over in the Zohar are historical personages whom did not even live during the same time span as each other. Yet, they all gather around Shimon bar Yochai as if they are alive and well, irrespective of when they actually lived.

While it is true that the Zohar does contain many ideas, teachings, and Torah gems not generally found in more traditional works, these mysteries of Torah are revealed by the actual author based upon his knowledge of prior mystical treatises. So, perhaps, it may be considered as a moot issue, who the author of the Zohar is, if indeed it’s words help to further understand the secrets of Torah.

On the other hand, it is a concern of my mine, that Shimon bar Yochai is described as a holy lamp, subsequently elevated as the chief expositor of the mysteries of Torah, when some of what is conveyed in the Zohar are foreign to Torah, Tanach, and Talmud, such as gilgulim, transmigration, and the error of reincarnation. The specific teachings in regard to reincarnation do not bring light into the world; rather, they cast a shadow of darkness upon the truths of Torah. Moreover, the concept of reincarnation detracts from the clear understanding having to do with the Tehillas HaMeisim (resurrection of the dead). Whereas, the soul is restored to the body and we are judged according to how we lived this one life that we are all given.

Furthermore, glorifying Shimon bar Yochai seems to detract from the expectation of the prophet, Eliyahu HaNavi revealing the secrets of Torah, upon his return. Incidentally, since the prophet ascended into Heaven on a chariot, his return would not be counted as reincarnation. Additionally, the role of the Messiah in part is to bring to light the essential Torah truths for the generation that will see his crowning as King in Jerusalem, at the beginning of the the sabbatical millennium, when G-d’s Kingdom is ushered into existence.

Ad mosai – how long until the fallen sukkah of David is restored?

“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof, and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.”

– Amos 9:11, JPS 1917 Tanach

Omer: Day 28 Whose Narrative Will You Follow?

Malchut shebbe Netzach: Kingdom within Endurance

(The attribute of malchut may also be rendered as sovereignty, or autonomy):

Where within the quality of endurance, may autonomy be found? How does a sense of self, and personal motivation contribute to one’s endurance in the face of challenges? How much can we rely on our own autonomy, without seeking guidance from a Higher Authority? Reflect on these questions for yourself. Each person’s answer will be uniquely tailored to that person’s experience, belief, and values.

Scripture indicates that G-d would like us to be dependent upon Him, rather than view ourselves as completely independent. Yet, the more we depend upon Him, the less need there will be to depend upon others. Therefore, ironically, we become more self-sufficient in the eyes of others, who are not aware of the source of our strength. Additionally, it may be said, that endurance may occur not only through our own efforts, but through a concomitant focus on G-d.

My own sense of autonomy is rooted in my faith in G-d; I know that I will never stand alone, when facing the challenges of my life. Moreover, in confrontation with others, I can rest assured, that as long as I am in right relationship with G-d, He will support me, when faced with adversity. Also, trusting in His sovereignty means that I can trust in the values, inculcated by scripture.

Ideally, there should be no need for me to waver, or lured toward an alternate set of values, such as may be promoted by a secular source. This is not arrogance on my part; rather, if I humble myself to G-d’s sovereignty in my life, then I do not speak on my own behalf. Whereas society would like to claim the right to decide and claim for everyone what the narrative norm is, the truth – G-d’s expectations for mankind – has already been engraved in stone, and spoken by the mouthpieces of G-d’s spokespersons, throughout the ages, as recorded in scripture.

Mental Balance

I behold the world through the eyes of the Perceiver; and, I look upon what is perceived by Him. Only for a moment, do I share His perspective, akin to Moshe who saw G-d’s back, not His face. That is to say, by way of one interpretation explains that when Moshe saw H’Shem’s back, he was actually facing the same direction as G-d. Therefore, this is an allusion to Moshe being able to perceive what G-d perceived, while he was shielded in the cleft of a rock.

I believe that this is the nature of what appears as intuition, today, for us moderns, who strive to connect with G-d. Therefore, only for a moment do we get a glimpse of His perspective, if that is His will for us to experience. Otherwise, there is no claim to divinity, that can be made on the part of the beholder, because we are clearly only human beings. Thus, with this mentioned, I have no recompense towards the New Age belief, that originates from Hinduism, that claims man is G-d. Besides, this would be a gross oversimplification, anyway, of the actual Hindu concept of atman, whereof there is only a “spark” of G-d within an individual. (This concept is also found in Judaism).

This “inner spark” exemplifies our connection to G-d, since we are all created in His image. Yet, for the most part, mankind does not live up to the image of G-d. In other words, we do not fully meet the expectations and requirements that he has clearly related to us through the commandments, and the words of the prophets. This is why there will be a judgment day, whereof all of our days will be called into question, and an account must be made of our thought, speech, and behavior. Therefore, sin exists, unlike the New Age claim that all chaos and confusion in the world results from ignorance. This is also a Hindu claim.

Ultimately, unmasking the New age Movement for what it actually is, irrespective of its mystical and spiritual lure, will free your soul, if you have been caught up in the beliefs of this movement, like I had once been. Then, you can begin to see as the L-RD intended from the beginning. Aside of subjective experience, there is a transcendent G-d. He has established His Creation, and given commandments for humankind to follow, for our own good. When we err in adherence to those commandments, we may turn to Him through teshuvah (repentance). He is a forgiving G-d, Who acknowledges our own weaknesses, and would like to demonstrate His compassion towards us through the blessings that He extends to us.

Through the fulfillment

of Your mitzvoth and guidelines,

man ascends higher.

The Sweetness of Torah

Sweeten the words of Your Torah in our mouth.

– Blessings of the Torah

What was once pleasant, has become unpleasant. The wisdom of the Torah has given place to the wisdom of the world, without any recourse to the truths of our ancestors. Rather, for many amongst the children of Seth in the diaspora, the traditions of Judaism may still flourish, yet, without the substance. If we only knew what we were missing, we would pray, “sweeten the words of your Torah in our mouth.” In other words, we would feel compelled to learn of the words and instructions of Torah, to the extent that they would appeal to our sense of priorities, and what is important in our lives. Rather than rejecting them as passe, unenlightened, or contrary to our progressive sensibilities, we would yearn to receive them, if only G-d would somehow cause us to appreciate their flavor, taste, and essential ingredients.

We have forsaken “the fountain of living waters,” and constructed “cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13, JPS). When we thirst for something more constant in our lives to bring us peace, contentment, and lasting joy, we turn elsewhere, without realizing that only pure water from the Source of all that exists can supply us with any refreshment of lasting value. And, still, we yearn for something more than the ephemeral pleasures of life. For G-d has planted eternity in the heart of mankind, so that we might seek to know Him beyond time and space. Only a transcendent G-d, Who is able to transcend our own understanding, can give us anything of lasting joy in this world and the World-to-Come. His wisdom, contained in Torah, within the narratives of creation and fall, the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Joseph and the Exodus, plus the giving of the Torah at Sinai, and all of the commandments are rich in value.

Heritage: Part Five

Shavuos commemorates Mattan Torah, the Giving of the Torah. A spectacular event, the Revelation at Sinai, when the L-RD gave B’nei Yisrael the Commandments. This was the culmination of the Exodus from Egypt. Being made a people unto the L-RD 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 still 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.

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; subsequently, accepting His authority as the source of the commandments. When we accept G-d’s Sovereignty, then the commandments become authoritative; otherwise, the commandments could be misconstrued as relative.

Consider as well, that here is a difference between accepting the commandments for ourselves, because we recognize the inherent wisdom in them, akin to the moral perspective that we uphold, versus accepting the commandments as the divine words of G-d; and, as an expression of His expectations of us, regardless of our own perspective. 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