Friday, January 9, 2009

Mochiach Moshiach !! Is he in the air? On The ground ? Thoughts About the Messianic Redemption

Barack Obama is set to take office in less than two weeks. I maintain the conviction that he was an unfortunate choice for the country. It boggles the mind that his birth certificate was not scrutinised with an electron microscope as soon as he approached the New Hampshire primary. I am saddened that his extreme views on abortion did not galvanise the religious right to oppose him.

I voted for McCain on the sole basis of his being a better candidate for the propagation of the Seven Commandments for the Children of Noah. (Seven Universal Noahide Laws) which are as follows
Do not worship Idols 2. RESPECT G-D AND PRAISE HIM
Do Not Blaspheme His Name 3. RESPECT HUMAN LIFE
Do not be cruel to animals.

These commandments are skeletal. Volumes could be written about the subject. There are a number of sites dealing with Noahism, which is a new and growing monotheistic faith. There are already Noahide seminaries.

I love Israel like my own parents. But I believe no one who claims to love Israel who is running for office. I believe that the hearts of the leaders are in the hands of G-d. The Jewish people must use a combination of prayer and following MILITARY advice.

Having said this much, I believe that the world is in a state where open miracles are about to occur. The value of money has been shown to be like castles built on air. Commodities and precious metals are not following any of the usual rules . Gold and stocks go down at the same time. Oil has fluctuated wildly over a year's time.

Back in the nineties, we saw the fall of communism. Who would have imagined the Soviet empire vanishing as if it had never existed? Those who have been freed from the yoke of communism remind me of the words of the Leonard Cohen song "Stories of the Street." "Where do all these highways go, now that we are free?"

For so many years, the yearly reading of the story of the Exodus and the giving of the Torah reminded me of a deep truth. We are freed from external slavery in order that we may ultimately fight our internal enslavement. In viewing the fall of communism, I see the same concept.

We have accomplished much in America. We are well fed. Actual starvation is a rarity. We have statutory racial equality. But something is missing. We chase after wealth, yet we are enslaved by it, chained to its perpetual pursuit. We have lost sight of the concept that money and wealth are tools to help us rather than something to chase after.

Many of us look in vain for the sweatshops of old. But instead of being on the other side of town, the new sweatshops are on the other side of the globe. Despite our being well fed in Europe and America, there are vast stretches of the other continents in which the spectre of starvation stalks the populace. The knowledge exists to feed all, but people starve in countries that are blessed with an abundance of natural resources. The Congo and Venezuela have enough wealth that they should have universal prosperity. In these and many other places, it is not the earth that must be tamed but the men that walk upon it. We are willing to reach across the globe to make a VCR or an MP3 player but profess to be baffled at the logistics of producing and transporting food.

We spent a whole generation convinced that withot birth control we would be packed elbow to elbow across continents. Now that we are old, the splendidly conceived pension plans are now like an inverted ziggurat in which the diminished ranks of the young do not suffice to support those who are retired. Was there no computer that could have predicted such an outcome?

Carl Djerassi, a scientist whose discoveries were critical to the development of pharamceutical contraception has expressed regrets about the repercussions of the invention he facilitated as reported in the following excerpt from an article about him.

"Djerassi outlined the “horror scenario” that occurred because of the population imbalance, for which his invention was partly to blame. He said that in most of Europe there was now “no connection at all between sexuality and reproduction.” He said: “This divide in Catholic Austria, a country which has on average 1.4 children per family, is now complete.”

He described families who had decided against reproduction as “wanting to enjoy their schnitzels while leaving the rest of the world to get on with it.”

The fall in the birth rate, he said, was an “epidemic” far worse — but given less attention — than obesity. Young Austrians, he said, were committing national suicide if they failed to procreate. And if it were not possible to reverse the population decline they would have to understand the necessity of an “intelligent immigration policy.”

The head of Austria’s Catholics, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, told an interviewer that the Vatican had forecast 40 years ago that the pill would lead to a dramatic fall in the birth rate in the west.

“Somebody above suspicion like Carl Djerassi ... is saying that each family has to produce three children to maintain population levels, but we’re far away from that,” he said.

Schonborn told Austrian TV that when he first read Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical condemning artificial contraception he viewed it negatively as a “cold shower.” But he said he had altered his views as, over time, it had proved “prophetic.”

Although Christains and orthodox Jews had cautioned against unrestricted birth control, Djerassi raises points even an atheist could not dispute.

For centuries, Jews have been studying and writing about the Torah. Some of this writing has relevance only to Jews. Much is relevant to gentiles as well. We are at a time when there have been thousands of Torah books written or translated into English. Although they are having a profound influence in the Jewish world, it is as though a deep sleep has fallen upon the nations of the world and these books are not studied, even when they pertain to universal moral laws.

There is one example of writings that could transform the world and interpersonal relationships. I speak of the writings of Rav Yisrael Meir Kagan, the Chofetz Chaim, who is famous for his writings about gossip and other forbidden speech.

The Chofetz Chaim compiled and commented upon extensive laws dealing with plain gossip. He detailed the specific biblical passages pegulating speech and specific applications of the laws and prohibitions. Plain old gossip. (Joe got chewed out by the boss. Mary is a lousy cook) are plainly forbidden.

The Chofetz Chaim goes into incredible detail. A disdainful facial expression is considered lashon hara. (Evil speech) Praising a person in the presence of someone who dislikes him is forbidden because it will certainly elicit "badmouthing".

There are circumstances when one must speak up. If a woman is going on a date with a man who is violent, or a man asks for a reference about a known embezzler, one must warn a person who could become a victim.

There is even a law that you are not allowed to ask a salesman what something costs if you have no intention of buying. This would raise his hopes for a sale for no reason. This is forbidden.

There is the additional concept of rechilus. One may not relate to a person gossip that was spoken about him or her by a third party. (Mike said you're a jerk)

The rewards of studying and following these laws are obvious. Their benefits are plain for all to see. They make sense in the context of general human nature. It is quite likely that following such laws could alleviate depression. If someone gossips all the time, he probably assumes that others are speaking about him.

I believe that it is not natural for these laws to be discussed only by Jews. We talk of the coming of the Messiah, who is a flesh and blood human being who will lead the Jews to fulfill all of the commandments, and who will give guidance to the world at large. I believe that the translation of universally relevant Jewish writings into English will help speed up the transformation of the world that will occur in the messianic era.

We have seen evil leaders such as Hitler and Stalin who bent human nature towards sordid ends. We have seen the evil side of human nature whipped into a lethal frenzy through media like in Rwanda, where a million were killed in a hundred days, mostlly by machete. Their murders were incited by radio broadcasts. I once spoke to a Rwandan doctor about the Rwandan genocide. He told me as follows.

"I have no more faith in Christianity". The churches just split on Hutu Tutsi lines. The clergy was involved in the killing. Their religion didn't stop them. We used to have a Tutsi religion. We had a two letter name of G-d that was given to us by the Egyptians. I want to go back to that religion".

I don't know what faith the Tutsi doctor was talking about, but I understand his desire to reconnect faith and action. This disconnection does not just depress people or cause high blood pressure it costs lives, physical lives. When people in positions of economic power are not interested in making the world economy feed, clothe and heal the suffering masses, that costs lives. When diamonds are bought from Congolese warlords and worn in Manhattan, that greases the wheels of mass murder. A person whose heart and mind do not bear the imprint of a Higher power turns into a monster whose form has been hijacked by the evil to which we have surrendered.

I believe that the Messiah whose coming I await will bring about a redemption that both the Rwandan doctor and I await with a longing we both feel in our marrow. There is a goodness in humanity that must be nurtured and guided. Just as we entrust our money to professional (hopefully honest !) investors, so too do we need guidance in mobilising the goodness within ourselves.

We have as a nation made many mistakes. There is however redeeming quality of kindness that is a strong force in our society. And there is the humbling feeling of awe as we face our daunting problems. In praying for redemption, we must not only passively wait but work on transforming that which is within our power to improve. Whether it is ourselves, our family or our workplace, we must not stop striving. We are not only passengers at the gate or on the platform, we are participants as well. May the messianic redemption come speedily, and may we be partners in hastening it. Sphere: Related Content


Ted said...

Obama can't be POTUS.

Since no congressman and senator objected on 1/8/09 to Congress' count and certification of the electoral vote which would have turned resolution of Obama's eligibility issue over to Congress, rendering moot both the Berg and Lightfoot cases, Berg finally does achieve standing on the issue of actual harm, to be addressed at the 1/9/09 SCOTUS Conference on Writ of Certiorari. Obama's failure to submit evidence of his constitutional qualification for the 1/9/09 conference will mean he cannot thereafter challenge Berg's request to enjoin the 1/8/09 Congressional electoral count and certification, albeit retroactive, scheduled for SCOTUS conference 1/16/09. Moreover, Chief Justice Roberts has scheduled a full Court conference on the Lightfoot case 1/23/09 in the event there needs to be a Constitutionally mandated action, the Inauguration itself, to enjoin retroactively.


Findalis said...

There is hunger in this nation. I have seen the hungry in the poorer areas of this country. In the Appalachia where poverty abounds and people do without food. But there is another hunger in this nation, one that has nothing to do with food. That is the hunger of the soul. Birth Control (when used correctly can help a family, not destroy one), is just a symptom of this hunger. Obamamania is another. This hunger can only be satisfied by G-d. This hunger is destroyed by deep faith and spirituality.

I saw many people in Appalachia without food, but not many without faith in G-d.