Wednesday, April 11, 2007

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The Trap of Cynicism

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

We live in an age when it pays to be cynical. Every ad is trying to sell us something that's "good" for us, or rather good for us to pay our hard earned dollar/shekel/euro for. And those ad's, there everywhere, on the road, on the train, on the radio, and of course, on the TV. Seeing is believing, so if the guy on TV can create an incredible 8 course dinner with that must-have knife, it must be incredible! Gotta get me one!

So we build up defenses. We learn to ignore the ads in our face everywhere. We live in a time where we are forced to learn not to believe. Cynicism becomes a survival trait. Trust goes out the door, most messages must be ignored, the remainder, scrutinized.

One of the reasons I started this blog was people were actually believing the fad & fake kabbalah that started being sold. With a general public hungry for a little truth swimming in a sea of lies, fad kabbalah had the glimmerings of truth to it and sold like crazy. Though just a small voice in the multitude, I did what I could.

But this cynical survival trait, which we can't do without in this day and age, is also a trap! Everything is examined looking for the flaw in the picture. But this is not a perfect world, there is always a flaw. In comments on the news report about statements of a mekubal (kabbalist) speaking of an upcoming war, a commentor said,

"Another fake, want proof, he opened a restaurant!" - Another commented, "Impure powers! Where do you think the money to open a restaurant came from?"

If a rabbi sits and learns, he's accused (especially so in Israel) of taking money from the public and refusing to support himself. And now, if he goes around and raises money, and takes that money to open a business to support himself and his yeshiva, he's accused of being a fake and using impure powers! Oy vay.

I have personally met HaRav HaMekubal liyahu Leon Levi, shlita. I benefited from the meeting, and saw only indications of the proper path. He is among those who's words I would take seriously. I know nothing of his restaurant, but if it's for personal support or for support of his yeshiva, I wish it great success. And if it's for tzedakah, as in offering low cost meals in a dignified atmosphere for those in need (which some of these are, especially in Bnei Brak), then I wish it complete success in it's mission and that it may speedily close for lack of need.

Cynicism is dangerous. In today's world we need it to survive, but it's antithetical to emunah (faith) and clouds the vision to the good.

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.

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