Posts

I had some correspondence after the last post, which prompted me to clarify something that I’ve been thinking about writing about for a while.

Judaism doesn’t believe in ‘good’ or ‘bad’ people.

It believes in ‘good’ or ‘bad’ deeds, thoughts and actions. If a person’s actions are overwhelming of the ‘good’ variety, Judaism then tells us that person is a Tzaddik, or holy person, and we are further told that if we see a Tzaddik doing something bad, we should judge them favorably, and believe that they already made teshuva for it.

By contrast, xtianity teaches that the world is split into ‘good’ people – who believe in yoshki – and ‘bad’ people, who don’t. Once someone is assured they are a ‘good person’, they are then at liberty to do the most atrocious, awful, terrible things to other human beings, secure in their self-assessment that they are a ‘good’ person.

That thinking is behind most of the suffering occurring in the world, because even the most hardened, evil people in the world believe on some level that even their worst excesses and cruelties are somehow justified, and therefore ‘good’.

This thinking is also underneath a whole bunch of xtianity-inspired mental illnesses like Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), where the narcissist can’t accept that they are anything other than perfect, and believe that they always act in perfect, ‘good’ way regardless of how many bodies they leave behind them.

When a person believes they are ‘good’, fullstop, they usually aren’t so concerned with identifying, acknowledging and dealing with their negative character traits.

But here’s the thing: no-one is perfect, and for as long as we’re down here on planet earth, it’s because we still have work to do to improve and perfect our characters.

Even Moshe Rabbenu, arguably the most ‘perfect’ servant of God who ever lived and an indisputable Tzaddik of tremendous proportions still had some anger issues to work out, even when he was 120 already. When he hit the rock instead of speaking to it because Am Yisrael had gotten him so riled up, he was 120!

If someone like Moshe Rabbenu wasn’t embarrassed to admit his faults publicly, then surely we don’t need to be so coy about accepting that we still have stuff to work on.

Another big difference between Judaism and other religions, especially xtianity, is this notion that ‘good’ people go to Heaven, and ‘bad’ people go to Hell – and it’s a permanent, everlasting, unfixable thing, which is probably also why so many people are petrified of accepting they may not be perfect paragons of virtue.

Judaism teaches something completely different. Judaism says: every good deed that you do, you’re going to get some heavenly reward for it. And every bad deed that you do, that you didn’t make teshuva for, you’re going to have to atone for it somehow, either by spending some time in Gehinnom (for up to 12 months), or by being reincarnated again (if your sins were against your fellow man – Gehinnom only atones for sins between man and God.)

Again, there ARE some exceptions to this rule, most notably for atheists, who could end up spending all of eternity in Gehinnom if they persist in denying God for their whole life and don’t make teshuva before they die.

But if you’re a bog-standard person with issues who’s done a lot of bad things that you haven’t made teshuva for (like most of humanity…) BUT you believe in God, then your stay in Gehinnom is capped at 12 months – and then you get a measurement of eternal paradise as your reward for each and every good deed that you did.

To sum this up: xtianity says that only ‘good’ people go to heaven, and that a person is only ‘good’ if they believe in yoshki, regardless of how they act or treat other people in real time.

Hence, there is no motivation for a self-proclaimed ‘good’ person to examine their deeds or work on their negative character traits, because they automatically assume everything they do is justified and ‘good’ (which also happens to be the basis of a lot of mental illnesses, including NPD).

Judaism says: there are only good deeds. A person’s status as an aggregate ‘good person’ will only be determined after their death, by the Heavenly tribunal. Nearly everyone is going to go to both Heaven and Gehinnom (with some notable exceptions for Tzaddikim and atheists).

That’s why it’s such a mitzvah for a person to acknowledge their bad deeds and negative character traits in Judaism, so they can actually try to fix them, and why it’s such anathema in other religions.

We Jews have been in galut so long that we’ve imbibed a lot of the foreign dogmas and philosophies that are inimical to authentic Yiddishkeit.

Judaism teaches that our souls, that Godly part of us, is only pure and good. But the soul is surrounded by klipot, the husks of the dark side, that causes us to do things and think things we’re really not proud of. For as long as we’re in our bodies, we’re going to have to deal with the klipot that are causing our bad behavior, and to atone and make amends for the bad things we do.

When we deny that very human reality, we literally go bonkers. Remember, pretending to be perfect is the mentally-ill behavior of a narcissist. It’s the furthest thing in the world from Yiddishkeit.

Someone told me that the US has just legalized gay marriage across the whole country. That same someone (who lives in the USA) told me that she had a feeling she’d be moving to Israel sooner rather than later (even though she hasn’t been here for years) because “Once you start messing around with the 7 Noachide Laws, that has a way of diminishing God’s love for your country.”

I know reams and reams is probably being written about this landmark decision of the US Supreme Court. I’m not going to add to all the speculation with this post; what I DO want to talk about, though, is how important it is at this stage in Jewish history for us Jews to stand up for God.

When I moved to Israel 10 years’ ago, it was a little ahead of the first ‘gay parade’ in Jerusalem. Back then, I was still working for the British Government as a ghostwriter for Ministers, and one of my best clients (in terms of how much work they asked me to do for them) was the Women and Equality Unit.

But in terms of what I had to write for them, it was the most drecky, horrible job ever. In just one speech, I’d have to laud women who rushed back to work as soon as their kids were born (the ‘women’ bit); praise muslims for having 6 wives (the ‘equality’ bit), and then also toss in at least one comment about how great and wonderful same gender relationships were (more of the ‘equality’ bit).

And bizarrely, in that ultra politically-correct environment where any notion of ‘right and wrong’ had gone completely out of the window, no-one seemed to notice how all these ideologies were completely at odds with each other, out there in the real world.

I hated those speeches.

I hated the feeling that I was selling-out my soul and my beliefs just  to pay my mortgage – but of course, that’s exactly what I was doing because back then, the Women and Equality Unit paid me very nicely to turn those things around for them.

It was part of the equation of being a religious Jew in galut, or exile.

So we moved to Israel, and all the fuss of the gay parade broke out here, and I kind of watched it a bit bemused, over to one side. My Israeli rabbis were encouraging me to take a stand, and to sign petitions against it, and to register my displeasure. And part of me really wanted to do that stuff – but the other part of me was far too scared of dong anything so UN-politically correct, because, well, political correctness was a central plank of my career and bank balance.

Or so I thought at the time.

So I felt very uncomfortable, but I did and said nothing.

Fast forward a decade, and a lot of water has flown under the bridge since then. Firstly, I actually went and researched the issue about why spilling seed is so bad, spiritually, for my old writing gig at breslev.co.il. You can check out those articles HERE.

To sum it up, whenever a man spills seed that has no chance of impregnating a woman, (however slim that chance might be), the millions of souls contained in that ‘seed’ get trapped in the realm of evil, which then sucks all the spiritual strength out of those souls, to pursue its own evil agenda in the world.

Scary stuff! And a concrete explanation of why gay marriage, and why promiscuous self-pleasuring lifestyles really are destroying the world.

The other thing that happened is that I gave up my career, and went through a patch of ‘being’ instead of doing that lasted for quite a few years. In that time of enforced career failure, my ego took quite a beating, and I started to realize more and more that God is running the show.

God is putting food on my table (or not…) God is paying my bills (or not…) God is responsible for my successes in life (I’m ready when You’re ready, Hashem).

That understanding helped me to start shifting all the political correct brainwashing out of my system, and to stop worrying that if I stood up for what was right, in whichever way God expected that of me, that I was going to lose my cred, career or bank balance. I anyway lost all of those things, which was a very painful process, but now I see it has a huge upside:

I got out of spiritual galut.

I can say GAY MARRIAGE IS REALLY BAD, and not care about the consequences of making that statement.

But if I was back in the UK? Or still working for the Women and Equality Unit? Now, you’re talking about a huge moral test – and the chances are high that I would probably fail it.

The decision by the US Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage is both a huge test, and a huge opportunity for God-fearing Jews. Anyone who can stand up for God is effectively proving they’re out of slavery, out of exile, out of bondage to foreign beliefs and political correctness. Anyone who can’t (and man, believe me that I know that there’s bills to pay and tuition to cover) – is stuck, spiritually, in a very bad place.

A place where God is missing, and man’s desires and animal-self is ruling the roost.

So the choice is simple, but also incredibly profound: Stand up for God and protest gay marriage in whichever way you can.

Or stay in spiritual exile.