Five people deserved a great honor in the Torah. One was a Righteous man, another a righteous woman, one a righteous convert to Judaism, one a wicked man, and one a zealous man. They were all people of truth. Their great honor accorded to them? They had a parasha / weekly Torah reading (of the humash / 5 books of Moses) named after them. They were Noah, Sarah, Yitro, Balak and Pinhas.
Noah searched for the truth in a generation of the flood – where all his co-citizens of earth were following evil. Sarah, our Matriarch, was the helpmate of Avraham, our Patriarch – who brought the truth that Hash-m / G-d runs the world in a generation of idol worshipers.
Yitro was a priest that followed after all different religions – and rejected them because of their falsity – before becoming a righteous convert to Torah. Balak, was the king of the nation of Moab, who hated the Jewish nation. He hired somone to curse the nation. His quality? That he didn’t hide his hatred – he wasn’t a flatterer, that in front of the Jews faces he would show favor, and behind their backs he would try to hurt them. He was honest – he hated the Israelites and acted with hatred. Pinhas stood for truth when he saw the Jews were acting immorally with the daughters of Midyan.
A thief once asked a rabbi what was one thing he could do to do proper Teshuva / repentance for the years of his stealing and wean himself off this negative trait. He wanted something easy to do.
The rabbi thought a moment and said – “never tell a lie. The man agreed – he thought it was doable. They parted ways. The rabbi met the man several weeks later and complained to the Rabbi “Rabbi, not saying a lie is too difficult for me. I want to go and steal – and I ask myself – “Is this the right thing to do?” and since I committed to telling the truth – I must admit to myself that it is not.
Eventually the man became a sincerely good person – following the laws of the Torah.
I met men of many races, colors, religions. Men that profess to being ministers, and the such. Many of them – were men of religion – but not necessarily men of truth.
If one only accepts truth they can arrive at truth. Prayer to Hash-m / G-d that one finds truth also helps.
Today one is free to choose their religion. But no one can choose their truth. Truth is independant of feelings. Thus G-d gave us the formula to arrive to following in his ways. Seeking Truth.
Many say they have truth – but they are liers. The fact they say they have truth – means that they are not comfortable in letting it be known that they have less than adequate anwers to simple questions.
Abraham, our Patriarch arrived at speaking with G-d because he was a seeker of truth. anyone who follows this formula will also be able to arrive to the service that G-d wants.
A person who seeks to follow in the path of goodness and G-dliness – first and foremost must be true to himself.
Today – religions are a dime a dozen. The “ism”s abound. Communism, Liberalism, Capitalism, Judaism. But the truth is – just like one chooses friends, one must choose their religion. It is not what feels right or seems right – it is what is right -even if it is not comfortable.
One of the first requirements in attaining true spirituality and closeness to G-d is being truthful.
The seal of G-d is truth. The point of this article is not to judge, but to give a person a starting point to think out their positions in life. Many a time I was going down a road and when I reached the end, I found it was the wrong road. The point is to illuminate the choice of paths so that one will not regret their choice of a path at the end.
Here are some questions – honest people may grapple with:
Many people swear by the “Bible.” Let’s for now consider the bible to be the five books of Moses. The 10 commandments are their credo. Yes they are devout. But every day they ignore the second commandment. The second commandment says that one is not to make any image of G-d – whether it be in heaven or on earth. Thus anyone who makes the image of G-d as an animal, man, object, star, planet, fire, or angel is transgressing that commandment. The person of truth – who follows the 5 books of Moses – will reject the religion that tells them to worship a man.
Some religions say G-d chose the Jews – but he changed his mind. Or He changed his laws or He gave a law to the people that people didn’t understand. Now come on. Do you really think that G-d, omnipotent, will give a law that people are unable to observe? If He gives it, He knows people can observe it. Or will G-d give a detailed set of laws and then say “You know what forget about it.”? In the Torah, that G-d gave us there are laws for Jewish people and laws for non-Jewish people. A Jew has 613 commandments from the Torah. A gentile has 7 commandments from the Torah (the Sheva Mitzvot Benei Noach / Noahide Laws). In Judaism, a gentile need not convert to becoming Jewish to get a place in heaven. If they follow their respective laws they get a place in heaven.
Does it make sense that G-d has a weakness? Being physical is a weakness. Being killed is a weakness. Anything that has a weakness must not be G-d. G-d is omnipotent. Once a person went to Japan to persecute the Jews. The Japanese official asked “what makes you so adamant to persecute them?” He answered – “They Killed our G-d” The Japanese official said “If Your G-d died, he must not be G-d.” That was the point of Avraham, anything that has a weakness cannot be G-d. Anything that is physical or spiritual has a weakness – it is limited. If it is limited – it has a weakness and cannot be G-d. G-d is unlimited and has no weaknesses.
Atheists – that do not beleive in G-d – have a problem in logic to deal with. Randomness does not produce order. Order is due to thought and intelligence. Thus, if there is order, there must be an intelligent creator who created and sustains the whole order of nature and the physical universe.
Agnostics – who believe in G-d but not in any particular way of religion, may ask themselves – does it make sense that G-d created a world without giving directions on how to conduct oneself. Would one make a city or counrty without laws? The Next step is to determine which set of laws are the laws that G-d gave. Judaism is more likely because it is the only way of like that has the fact that millions of people heard G-d speak at Mount Sinai about 3,300 years ago. Also G-d doesn’t change his “mind.”
The Messiah’s role is to bring the world to world peace. If a person whom people claim to be Messiah died and peace was not achieved in their lifetime – wouldn’t it mean that that person is not the Messiah? Why would G-d need that same person to be resurrected? – Wouldn’t it make sense for G-d to send someone else instead?
Some religions condone violence. Some religions have a history of tremendous cruelty to innocent people. Do you think that G-d really wants his innocent children to be hurt by other children? I don’t think so. Every act of violence in the name of the religion removes from its credibility.
Some people cringe when you mention religion. If I were them I would too. They include Judaism in the religion category and thus avoid it. Yet when it comes to stereotyping people of different races, or colors – they would consider you a bigot. The Torah says respect all people – but know that they are liable to follow the law. judaism should not be lumped into the category of religions – because It has not the negative aspects that other religions may have. Judaism was the founder of monotheism in the world – other such religions came after.
Some Jewish people refrain from giving children a Torah education. Their reason – they want their child to make A decision on their own. The problem is to make a proper decision one should be exposed to both sides, the Torah and the secular. If a child is only exposed to the secular, through media, like tv, newspapers and the like, they are only exposed to one side of the story. Their decision will not be balanced, but biased. A child given a Torah education is exposed to both sides of the story and can thus Truly make an unbiased decision.
The Torah guides a person to act with modesty. This includes dressing modestly. This is comprised of two aspects being covered and not attracting the looks of the opposite gender. In Torah, married Jewish Women cover their hair. Does the hair covering or clothing accomplish both aspects?
Many people observe holidays – that has its origins in idolatry and human sacrifices – falling pray to the marketers who want to make sales of their products. But they never found out about what is the origin of the holiday. Unfortunately, many Jews even observe these non-Jewish holidays that have their origins from idolatry, anarchy and tremendous cruelty. A Rabbi gave a lecture about the history of Xmas and New Years – gives an unsavory background of these days.
If you were G-d that was giving a law to the world – would you give it to one man and then tell him to propogate it? Or would you let millions of people know about the divine law? What makes more sense to you? Out of all the religions in the world – no religion even claims that millions of people witnessed the giving of the dive law – except Judaism.
People searching for spirituality – have to deal with the question: “What exactly is Spirituality?” The Simplest definition is the Method to become Closer to G-d. Given that, apparently wouldn’t it make more sense to follow the religion – that G-d actually spoke to millions of people in their nation to give them a Divine law – than to follow a sect that a random guru made up yesterday? Wouldn’t it make more sense to travel to Jerusalem for spirituality than the Far East.
Is Judaism more humanist than liberalism? Judaism wants the propogation of man to have a great world with a spectrum of all people. Liberalism – through its defending of same gender marriage – curtails that beautiful variety – by limiting the propogation of certain sections of the poulation. Judaism says every person must be treated with respect – but if they commit a crime they must be punished. Liberalism defends not the respect of the person who commited the crime – but the crime itself – leading to a degenerative society. Also by defending the criminals “rights” to doing the crime they cause millions of people to suffer. Is it better criminals suffer for their crimes – or that the whole poulation have to suffer from the worry of having such criminals among them in society?
Does my preferences or heart guide my values or does the truth or my mind guide my values?
People who complain about G-d’s role in the Holocaust or any other tragedy – are they also cognizant of all the tremendous good that G-d does continuously – every single moment?
People divide Jews into denominations. Just like they didn’t exist at the time Moses gave the Torah, they don’t exist today. When one gets to heaven, they will not ask were you orthodox or conservative – they will ask did you follow the code of Jewish law – the Shulhan Aruch? These titles serve to separate. We have one commonality – that we are Jews. And the Torah is the law that unites us.
There are basically three questions for a person to arrive at the Truth. To Arrive at belief in Judaism, one must answer three questions –
1. Does it make more logical sense to believe that G-d Exists or that He does not?
2. Did He give a divine law for people to follow?
3. Which law is it?
These are just a small collection of examples. But each person has to deal with being truthful to himself. In the end of life – the Torah says – a person will be sent to a world of truth – heaven. If they don’t arrive at truth here – they will find out the truth in the next world. I assure you it is better to find out here in this world than to find out later.
Thinking is beneficial to living a purposeful life. A person who acted a certain way in the past always has the possibility of starting again anew and wiping the slate clean. The first step is to want to find truth.
G-d gave us a brain to think. The idea of Judaism is to use our minds and questioning and inside fire to find the true path. The Torah is G-d’s word. It is not afraid of Questions. On the contrary, it encourages question. Truth is not afraid of questions. Falsity is.
Following the truth is not always convenient. Is not always easy. It does not always make you feel warm and cozy inside. One thing it does do – it does make you a real man or real person – that has the potential to reach closer to the one who said “Let there be Light.” This was the path of Abraham – of how he reached the tremendous heighs of illumination and closeness to G-d. It’s in everyone’s hands to also be closer to our Father in heaven – if we are adamant to truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
The quest towards perfection begins here.