Sunday, June 14, 2015

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The Wisdom of Others

​   by Reb Gutman Locks   
   

The Wisdom of Others

 

     Why are we told not to praise the good of idolatrous religions? If it's good, it's good. What's the problem with it?

     We are warned; if we praise the good that they say we will come to praise the bad. Quite often we read an ancient saying that seems so easy to agree with. But then, when we think about it deeper we see that really it is not for us.

     Here are a couple of good examples that are going around the internet. They seem so wise, so right on, and since one is talking about depressed or anxious people, and the other is talking about evil, what they say might even be right for them, but these are not the words to guide a Jew's life.

 

An American Indian saying;

     "We all have a fight going on inside us. It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil. He is anger, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority… and ego. The other is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion …and faith. Which wolf will win? The one we feed will win."

     This certainly seems to make sense. But the Jewish answer is even better.

     We do not try to starve that evil wolf; we feed it good food. This means that we show the evil animal how to use its strength and determination to accomplish good things instead of bad. We show the evil inclination within us how even it will have a better time if it does good.

 

Lao Tzu founder of Taoism teaches;

"If you are depressed you are living in the past.

If you are anxious you are living in the future

If you are at peace you are living in the present."

     But Jews should not lose sight of our past, present, or future. We are told to remember every day that Hashem brought us out of Egyptian slavery, and we should anticipate the coming of the Moshiach, the Temple, and the Redemption.

     We remember that Hashem brought us out of Egyptian slavery way back then so we will remember if we do what we did back then, i.e. rely on Hashem, He will take us out of our current bondages, too. We think about the future Redemption so we will do things today that will help to bring it. As for the present, we are to make proper choices today, and we are to rejoice in the result.

     Jews should use Jewish sources for wisdom to live by so we remember that we are Jews and do the things we should be doing.

     So how are we to think about the past, present, and future? Maybe like this;

Learn from the past, plan for the future, and do something now.

 

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