Wednesday, September 03, 2014

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On Being Simple

There was a time of simple people, simple Jews, simple faith.  For most life was tough but not complicated.  Politics was something that happened far away, and interactions with any government or authority was limited to paying taxes once a year, sending a letter through a post office to a family in another town, and occasionally (not a minor issue) the drafting of boys for the army.

Life was focused on the struggle of actual survival.  Farming enough or doing enough business – producing something and selling it or buying from the bulk producers and running a retail business, or providing a service such as transport. 

The “complications” were left to the mayor, in the Jewish communities to the community leaders and rabbi.  Complications such as running the synagogue and community facilities, and organizing help for those in need were taken care of by the leaders (who would call for community involvement as needed).

It was a hard life, with many painful events, but simple.  There was plenty of room for simple faith. 

Today life is incredible complicated.  Everyone learns at least 12 years of material.  We interact with so much government and authorities daily – police, tax, school, city, federal.  We need multiple forms of identification, approvals and accounts, to do almost anything. 

With all the complications, the sophistication, we’ve lost something. It’s become extremely difficult if not impossible to be…simple.

Can we learn to be simple? Can we acquire enough complicated knowledge of G-d and His relationship to this world to understand the Infinite – and thereby understand what is beyond our understand… to reach the simple connection to G-d?

This is the path of Toras HaChassidus via the Baal HaTanya.  It is a sophisticated path for a complicated time. 

It is the long shorter way for today.

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