Spiritual Plague

parasha Pinchas 5782

“They were weeping at the door of the tent of meeting.”

– Numbers 25:6, JPS 1917 Tanach

Our allegiance belongs to the L-RD. If we displace our devotion to H’Shem onto something other than Him, then we are inadvertently heading in a direction that will ultimately not be of benefit to us. Even if we appear to benefit for some time, in the material sense, our spiritual compass will be amiss as a result. Thus, in terms of the values, that we inevitably promote in our own lives whether consciously, or unconsciously, we should choose wisely.

When B’nei Yisrael fell prey to the influence of the Midianites, resulting in immediate acts of idolatry and immorality, their connection with H’Shem was diminished. Their emunah (faith) and kedushah (holiness) plummeted. Only through the selfless act of mesiras nefesh on the part of Pinchas, who put his own life at risk to make an atonement for their sins (Numbers 25:13), were the people reconciled to H’Shem. So, the brief national diversion that had swept through the encampment was staid; and, the plague was stopped.

Yet, it is not so today, in regard to the rampant spread of a pseudo-morality known as Wokism. It’s permeation into every facet of American society is increasing substantially. Thus, like a modern-day plague, that differs from Covid, because it is namely a spiritual plague, Wokism manifests as a cultural movement. Essentially, it is a form of cultural Marxism; its ideological roots go back to Hegel, Marx and the Frankfort School.

The remedy might very well be to stand up for the truth, as revealed through G-d’s Will, via the commandments and the traditional values inherited from our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. To “live not by lies” propagated by the pseudo-morality of Wokism, and implemented through a system of soft-totalitarianism, heading towards a technocracy. We are not called to the level of zealousness exhibited by Pinchas; yet, we may very well be called to some form of mesiras nefesh (self-sacrifice) in our individual lives.

Tikkun HaNefesh: Renewal of the Soul

Our entire lives may serve as an opportunity to seek tikkun hanefesh – a renewal of our souls, wherein every day may constitute an effort to rectify our personal past, within the framework of our individual lives. This is the essence of teshuvah, a returning to our unadulterated selves, not confounded by our attachments to the impermissible, nor confused by conflicting feelings, ideas, and behavior. Rather, a return, albeit, a continual progression, towards ourselves, as intended from the original blueprint of life. This path of an inner focus, differs much from the pervasive trend to point the finger at others and society. If we do not first make a concerted effort to change ourselves for the better, then we have no right to attempt to change others or society.

Additionally, because teshuvah (repentance) was created before the creation of the world, we are given continual second chances in life, despite our errors, faults, and foibles. Inasmuch that this gift is freely given to us, isn’t it right to also give others a second chance through a heartfelt expression of forgiveness? Yet, the relentless pursuit of “social justice” through the condemnation of others fails the test of human goodness, because of its incessant focus on human weakness, and redefined evils of mankind, without any offering of redemption to those who are being judged by others, who are also flawed, as we all are, myself included. A society does not become better in its overall national character through condemnation; rather, only through a natural bond of compassion towards all.

Shabbat Shuvah 5782

“And they shall say on that day, ‘Surely it is because our G-d is not in our midst that these evils have befallen us.'”

– Deuteronomy 31:17, JPS 1985 Tanach

“They will be intelligent enough to conclude that all the troubles which suddenly overtook them must be due to G-d having deliberately left their midst.”

– Or HaChayim on Deuteronomy 31:17, sefaria.org

The key word here in this commentary is “deliberately,” as if it is implied that the people realized that their own sins compelled G-d to abandon them. This is an important connection for them to make, whereas without recognizing their own complicity, would only have led to blame G-d for His abandonment of them, as if they had no part in the matter. Consider the attitude of some, in blaming G-d for harsh events in life, holding Him accountable for our suffering, without acknowledging the sins that created the distance between us and Him in the first place. The point being, that it is the wrong attitude to have, a spoiled mindset to think that we deserve better, despite our abandoning Him through our own misdeeds. And, yet, He is compassionate and merciful, inasmuch that hiding His face from us, He desires us to cry out with a heartfelt repentant stance, taking it upon ourselves, to return to Him, in all of our ways, in order to elicit His forgiveness. Thus, it may be seen in regard to what is sometimes called today “tough love,” for example when parents stop enabling their children who exhibit poor behavior, and, rather, deny them assistance, or any kind of monetary support until they correct their errant ways.

And, so, we do not understand G-d to be capricious: rather everything is ultimately designed for our benefit, even the chastisement that is placed upon us, when we go astray of G-d’s commandments. For nothing happens by chance in an ordered world, that is a world whose order is often above our own understanding. Any randomness that appears to occur is only based upon  a perspective that does not have the type of faith in H’Shem that accepts His sovereignty over all events in the world, as well as those that occur to us on an individual level. To understand that everything happens according to G-d’s will, or is permitted by Him, is to recognize His absolute sovereignty in all realms of life. Surely, He is not to blame when bad things happen to good people, for man is responsible for his own sin against his fellow man, and if G-d permits something bad to happen to us, it is for a reason, that we are to attempt to understand. Otherwise, we will fall prey to a lack of faith in Him as sovereign. Furthermore, to be angry at Him for the bad things in our lives is to deny His sovereignty over us. We must return to Him, especially as we feel compelled to do on Shabbat Shuvah (the Sabbath of Repentance), so that we do not hold any grudges against the very one whose wisdom soars above our own.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started