Let him who is convinced that his views are true and right express them . . . at every opportunity . . . without considering how much support or how much opposition he will encounter. Only falsehood is in need of many supporters in order to win the day; falsehood must have the authority of numbers to make up for what it lacks in justification. Truth, by contrast, will always prevail, even if it takes time. Noble, courageous and pure, expressed with all the fiery zeal and conviction and with all clarity of sure awareness, stated again and again at every opportunity, truth will ultimately gain respect and admiration even of those who do not accept it. The only truth that can be lost beyond recall is that truth whose adherents no longer have the courage to speak up candidly on its behalf. Truth has never gone down in defeat as the result of opposition, it has done so only when its friends are too weak to defend it. - R' S.R. Hirsch

Sunday, July 26, 2015

If You Will not Hearken - Stage 7

John 1:1-3  

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with G-d, and the Word was G-d.  He was in the beginning with G-d.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 

Let us assume G-d exists and let us assume that G-d is G-d, the independent Creator, Lawgiver, Ruler, and Supreme Judge in history.  Let us also assume that creation is the result of His will, and that it is is His G-d's will that men should serve Him by freely obeying and fulfilling His commands. 

Then suppose that someone were to argue that G-d's power and will do not extend beyond certain limits or boundaries and that the Revelation of His will, therefore, was an impossibility.  Such a man argues that G-d does not express His will to man because He cannot speak to man by any means other than through the medium of His creation and His deeds; and that the Scriptural statements which say that "G-d spoke to Moses" and "G-d spoke to your entire nation, you heard words, you saw no form - " are therefore mere myths and fairy tales.   Such is the mindset of the man who has "progressed" to the sixth stage of apostasy. 

If the assumptions we made were correct, a person who is reckless enough to live his entire life in contradiction to His Divine Word must at the very least admit to himself the possibility that the Word was revealed by G-d.  "What if it is actually G-d's Word and will after all?"  How does a person rid himself of this bothersome uncertainty?  Only by eradicating any idea of G-d, or by reducing this critical idea to a dead idol that is so unreal and powerless that it can no longer annoy him.  

This weekend we observed the 9th of Av, a day of fasting and mourning when we remember the destruction of the Temple and various other tragedies throughout our history:

Lamentations 1:1;8

How lonely sits the city That was full of people! How like a widow is she, Who was great among the nations! The princess among the provinces Has become a slave . . . Jerusalem has sinned gravely, Therefore she has become vile. All who honored her despise her Because they have seen her nakedness; Yes, she sighs and turns away.

However, the cardinal sin was not neglect of the Temple, its services, or its sacrifices.  The cardinal transgression was neglecting the study of G-d's Word.  The destructive ignorance of G-d's Word and willful suppression of the Truth of G-d's Word, the corrosive ignorance which corrupts the mind and the heart and which causes it to fall prey to error and delusion, to recklessness and unrestrained passion. 

This was the destructive ignorance through which we allowed our minds and hearts to become preoccupied, preoccupied with every aspect of living, other than obedience and the fulfillment of G-d's will as revealed to us in that Divine Word which we no longer thought was worthy of study. 

Jeremiah 9:11-14  

"I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a den of jackals. I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant."  Who is the wise man who may understand this? And who is he to whom the mouth of the L-RD has spoken, that he may declare it? 

Why does the land perish and burn up like a wilderness, so that no one can pass through?  

And the L-RD said, "Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it, but they have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts . . . ."

Those of us who insist on walking to the dictates of our own hearts, while neglecting the study of His Word, would do well to remember that the heart is deceitfully wicked and not to be trusted.  We would do well to remember that we are no match for the Adversary and we are no match for sin which so easily entangles us.  How do we keep our way pure?  By meditating upon and hiding His Word in our hearts. 

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