Thursday, June 18, 2009


Layers of Impact

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Commentor Ms Mimm wrote... Maybe this is not the place for it, but there I was reading some right wing (religious) blog and trying to stomach and get passed the faint racism and hatred there as I read about Obama, Al Sharpton, Sotomayor, and endless others. And then from talking with a friend, it hit me.

If the whole problem is that we need to do teshuva, what's the point of photo shopping yet another picture of Obama for a headshake? What's the point of naming names that are safe to hate? What's the point of any of it?

Shouldn't we be focusing on bringing back our "captives"? Shouldn't we concentrate better efforts towards at-risk kids as my friend pointed out?

Do we really believe in our "Yaakov" power of prayer? Or perhaps Esav has been so busy, we're still reeling from his dazzling show of power?

We live in This World, where everything is masked by nature. As a baby, we don't even take gravity for granted! (Watch as a 1 year old drops something off the high chair again and again, amazed that it falls.) But once we absorb the way it works, it takes focused conscious thought to overcome the background perception of 'natural' patterns.

There are multiple layers of reality that come into play as we discuss Ein Ode Milvado - there is nothing else besides Him (G-d). If I decide to stand up and punch my friend, it could be my friend had a din (judgment) upon him to receive a smack. Or it could be the path of my friend's life was plotted with a negative event to motivate him in a new direction (or give him an opportunity to reflect). Or it could be he had lessened his connection to Hashem and was being given over to 'nature', to the random forces in the world.

But what about me, the giver of the punch? I made an action choice, bechira, free will. He was going to receive a smack, but I _chose_ to be the one to give it.

So commentor Ms Mimm is right. If we, the Jewish people, get smacked, we have only our own actions to examine and our Father in Heaven to whom to turn. But at the same time, those acting negatively towards us don't get a free pass.

Now we don't countenance racism here at Mystical Paths. President Obama is a charismatic intelligent man who has overcome ethnic obstacles and negative stereotypes. But it is our opinion that his actions as president are doing significant damage to the US domestically, and are particularly dangerous to Israel and the Jewish people internationally.

Though these events are divine providence, his involvement is his choice.

And indeed, our best response is HaKol Kol Yaakov, our power of prayer and teshuva in turning to our Father in Heaven. But the mask of the natural tends to draw a natural response - trying to sway public opinion, protests, influence campaigns. Hey, at least people are trying to do something, and maybe that will move up to the true Jewish strength.


Akiva said...

I'm sure someone is going to comment with "the heart of kings is in the hand of Hashem". Yet there's something a little different in a time when someone chooses to try for president and chases after it with all his might, versus a king by position of birth and passing of their kingly parent.

Anonymous said...

blessings. i am a noahide living in SE Asia.
In my humble opinion, the punch we give another is also by Divine Providence. Probably we need to be punished also for some misdeed, however small, so instead of walking away like the saintly chofetz chaim, we behave thus. i believe its one of the fundamental beliefs of judaism that all is from Heaven, except for the Fear of Heaven.
i dont think obama is charismatic or very intelligent, as can be seen by his stammers when help is not near. it has nothing to do with color as i am also colored.
one can only console oneself that G-d brought him to this prestigious place for a purpose. i can only pray that this would bring redemption for the Holy Land and in israel's merits to those of the 70 nations who do sincere teshuva.

ms mim said...

Rabbi Akiva, thank you so much for posting this and for the response. It was a real turning point for me and I hope to galvanize this energy for good.

I'm not pro Obama, I think he's bad news but neither am I going to go overboard about it (i.e. place the whole economic crisis only at his feet, etc) --that's a recipe for invoking sympathy for him.

Thanks so much.

Shiloh said...

I don't totally agree Akiva with your comment. I think he was born to be groomed for what took place. There where too many open miracles for this to take place without haShem directing the movie. I don't think the One really has a choice.

I have seen haShem work with me at times that I had free will, and times He forced an issue to where free will had no bearing.

Shabbat Shalom.

Anonymous said...

intelligentely written , a lot of common sense .

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