SIGN THE PETITION
This Rabbis takes a punch at humanist secular ethics because unlike the Noahide Laws, they are relative and can change... a Noahide State is an intellectually static state.
The ultimate blessing in life
By RABBI AVI WEISS
SOUTH FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL |
MAY 22, 2019 | 12:31 PM
The blessings in the portion of Behukotai reach toward their crescendo with the words “and I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be My people.” (Leviticus 26:13) This penultimate gift that is promised is not a material one, it is rather a spiritual one that has extraordinary benefits.
Having God among us is a necessary prerequisite for the world to be ethical. After all, in bringing God back into the world, one makes a commitment to the ethical laws – the seven Noahide laws and their offshoots. (See Nachmanides, Genesis 34: 13) No doubt, even without God, there can be individuals who live very ethical lives. Yet, for the world at large to be ethical, God’s presence is critical. Without God, ethics would be based on human reason which can be relative. Philosophies borne out of human reason can often emerge that declare ethical, what we certainly know to be unethical. But an ethical system based on God’s laws is inviolate and can never be altered.
God's presence is also a crucial antidote to personal suffering. The price of living is that all of us, at one time or another, must suffer. The question is not why do we hurt; rather the question is, when feeling pain, do we sense the presence of God, a presence which makes even the difficult moments livable.
As we all know, sickness is part of the fabric of life. This world is not made up of the sick and the well, but of the sick and the not yet sick. The worst part of sickness is being alone in sickness. How I remember being wheeled into the hospital room for bypass surgery. At a particular moment, my loving family had no choice but to leave my side. As I was placed on the surgical table, I felt alone, so deeply alone. But right then I sensed the closeness of God. If you feel God, then even in difficult times, when it might seem that God is acting kindly, you still sense the closeness of the Divine.
From a mystical perspective, connecting with God makes God fully one. The masters of Kabbalah argue that God above is separated from the part of God which is in each of us. In this approach, the inner Godliness we all possess intrinsically yearns to reunite with God above, like a lover seeking out the beloved. The Kabbalists argue that only when the image of God in all of humankind fuses with the God above, does God, as He is manifest in this world, become one. In the words of the prophet Zachariah, "on that day, the Lord will be one and his name will be one." (14:9) The implication is that until that point, God, as He is present in the world, is not yet one.
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Too often it is the case that we measure blessings by material benefits. What the Torah suggests is that the highest blessing is Divine accompaniment, an accompaniment that guides us with a sense of our ethical mission and a feeling of love and spiritual comfort.
May 31 at 7:49 p.m.