To be righteous, with the full awareness that nobody will ever know the real story, and to have one’s deeds condemned, is one of the most painful human experiences and is a great tragedy. Only the knowledge that the One Above knows the real story, and the conviction that it is more important that others benefit from one’s deeds than to be assured of the recognition of one’s real intentions, gives the ultimate feeling of spiritual satisfaction for which the tzaddik strives.
Judaism suggests that at certain times God sends emanations to this world so as to awaken human beings to act, just as Pharaoh received his dreams in order that Joseph’s imprisonment would come to an end.
The Torah teaches us to erase Amalek’s memory by doing everything in our power not to give cause to hostile feelings within ourselves toward other nations.
We are not asked to dream the inconceivable. We are asked to dream what is actually achievable. It is the Halacha that rescues us from unrealistic dreams, substituting them with those that are viable. Mount Sinai and the giving of the law replaced impossible dreams with those that are within our grasp.
When even God can’ make a “mistake”, and admit it, we can rest assured that it is nothing less than honorable to act similarly.
If one invests in one’s faith by singing God’s praises during times of prosperity and good health, then, in the loneliness of difficult and sorrowful times, one may be able to continue believing in God’s faithfulness even when there is little evidence of such Divine allegiance.
Young people are developing a fresh approach to what Judaism is really all about—open to new adventures. They are keenly aware that one cannot inherit Judaism but only discover it on one’s own through an often difficult spiritual struggle, and even warfare.
Moshe asks God to reveal His name to him before he conveys the message to the Jews that He will redeem them from Egyptian bondage. God refuses to do so, and His answer is astonishing: “I will be Whoever I will be.” I am not a “what,” or a “when.” I am not even a “who.” There is no term you can use to describe Me. Any attempt to give Me an image is a serious violation of My very being. Any conclusive explanation of My deeds is idol worship. I permit you to describe Me in human terms only as long as you know that any such description will ultimately break down. No word can ever contain Me.
Must we believe that the whole universe was created only to test man’s moral and religious conduct? Is it not be more logical to conclude that God’s reasons for creating the universe are much greater and more significant than the problem of human behavior?
Learning Torah requires human authenticity; it means standing in front of a mirror and asking yourself the daunting question of who you really are, without masks and artificialities.