by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths
A gray-haired, non-Jewish man was standing by the entrance to the Kotel. I walked over to speak with him. He was friendly enough. I asked him what he did for a living. He said that he is a priest.
“Oh boy,” I thought, “these are among the worst in the world for idolatry.”
The prohibition against worshiping an idol rests upon everyone, not just the Jewish people. One of the central roles a Jew must take is to be a “light onto the nations.”[i] Practically translated, this means that we are charged with teaching the non-Jews the “Seven Commandments of Noah.” The very first of these commandments is the prohibition against idolatry. Although this commandment is stated as a negative commandment, “Thou shall not...” it really is a most positive commandment in that it directs us away from the foolishness of idols and toward the reality of the one G-d.
I thought to explain this to the priest. Not that I imagined a priest would simply turn his collar back around, although that could happen, but I thought maybe I could give him an idea that he would take with him, something to challenge his beliefs. I was wrong.
I started with my usual explanation that only G-d is everywhere, so we must not worship a limited being. He agreed.
“But your messiah is limited,” I said.
“No. He is everywhere,” he said.
I quoted from his bible. “When they went to the grave where he (yashke) was buried he was not there.”
“That’s right,” he said. “He was glorified.”
“Then he was not there.”
“That’s right. He was not there,” he said.
“Then he isn’t everywhere.”
“No. He is everywhere,” he insisted.
“Wait a minute. You just said that he was not in the grave, that he was taken up. If so, if he really was not in that grave like you say, then he is not everywhere. So don’t worship him.”
“He is everywhere,” he said, as he backed up and walked away.
We need belief to carry us over until we find knowledge. But our beliefs cannot be totally foolish and contradict reality. When our beliefs do contradict our actual experiences we have to challenge them to see that they are true. Belief is a wonderful tool, but it has to make sense, too. Far more people in the world believe in foolishness than in truth.
[i] Isaiah 42:6
Monday, February 16, 2009
// 2/16/2009 //