Time to Answer the Call

Time to Answer the Call

Vayera (Genesis 18-22):

In this Torah Portion we read of Abraham pleading with Yehovah to spare the wicked city of Sodom.

Rabbi Sacks in an excellent article on this Torah Portion suggests that the key theme of history up until Abraham is a “failure of responsibility”.

He writes: “… Adam and Eve lack personal responsibility. Adam says, “It wasn’t me; it was the woman.” Eve says, “It wasn’t me, it was the serpent.” It is as if they deny being the authors of their own stories – as if they do not understand either freedom or the responsibility it entails.

Cain does not deny personal responsibility. He does not say, “It wasn’t me. It was Abel’s fault for provoking me.” Instead he denies moral responsibility: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Noah fails the test of collective responsibility. He is a man of virtue in an age of vice, but he makes no impact on his contemporaries. He saves his family (and the animals) but no one else. According to the plain reading of the text, he does not even try.”

Abraham on the other hand passes all these tests of his character. He displays personal responsibility, moral responsibility, and collective responsibility in relation to Sodom.

This lesson is so much for our time right now, this week and most especially if you live in the USA.

It’s one thing to take personal responsibility and even be morally responsible in how you live, but collective responsibility means being prepared to stand up against the crowd, against fear and intimidation and stand for the principles of Torah, for truth, for honesty and integrity and for justice.

Some years ago I wrote an article ‘Why is the Church Silent?’ which discussed the rights and wrongs of ‘rescuing’ (standing up for the unborn).

See http://circumcisedheart.info/Christian%20site/Where%20is%20the%20outcry%20-%20CETF%20Version%20Apr%2007.pdf

While this issue is still in my opinion more important than almost every other issue and seemingly much more important than who wins an election in a foreign country (speaking as an Australian), but there is a very strong sense that this is a watershed moment in history, not just the history of the USA, but world history, redemptive history.

There is no doubt that the current election counting for the President of the USA has been seriously corrupted  in at least 7 distinct ways by the Democrats and those in bed with them, and it seems likely that a Socialist Dictatorship is about to be inaugurated in the USA which will then become a puppet of the Communist Party of China.

As pointed out by a dear friend and kindred spirit from Texas, while the election decision this year will most likely involve the Courts and go all the way to the Supreme Court of the USA, it is not likely to change the fraudulent outcome, as he argues that the Courts really don’t wish to be caught up in political fights.

But before we turn off and lie down in submission to the will of the criminals behind this massive fraud, now seems the time to head the call to engage, to demonstrate as Abraham did, collective responsibility.

This can be done through prayer and protest, through social media activism, through supporting those on the frontlines in anyway you can.

But how many will heed the call. Sadly, it has been my experience as someone who has stood up and stood in front of the ‘murder mills’, that most find this a bridge too far.

Why? Because it costs. It costs in a way that taking personal responsibility rarely does. It can cost you your livelihood, your friends, even some in your family.

Whether or not it is Yehovah’s will that the country that is the leader of the free-world descends into a Socialist nightmare or not, it is very clear that all lovers of righteousness and Torah are called to be counted.

Rabbi Sacks also quotes the very powerful works of the poet John Donne, which have always been amongst my favourite call to arms:

“No man is an island,
Entire of itself …
Any man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.

Therefore, never send to know for whom the bells tolls, it tolls for thee’.

May all lover of Truth, of Torah, of Yeshua and Yehovah, answer the call and stand up and be counted at this momentus time.

Link to Rabbi Sacks article ‘Answering the Call’:     

https://www.aish.com/tp/i/sacks/Answering-the-Call.html

PS: Only a few hours after writing this I heard that Rabbi Sacks has passed away. (1948 -2020). May his memory be a blessing! Baruch Dayan Ha’Emet.

The Ten Happiness Principles: #1

Finding Happiness and Finding God: 

One of the greatest minds of this era, and one of the greatest thinkers in Judaism is, in my opinion, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (the very recently retired, Chief Rabbi of London). He gives what he believes are the top ten most important things we can do to find happiness. I wish to give his top ten and expand a little on each one through the next 10 short blog posts.

Some research studies have shown the Westerners, despite years of improving economic conditions, are generally no more happy than they were, and continue to seek the answers to their lack of happiness, through the masses of pop psychology offerings.

Research does appear to suggest that the wealthier people are, the happier they are (to some degree at least) and yet, research also seems to suggest that when adults have children they end up being less happy!!?

Given all the significant challenges of trying to quantify such as elusive emotion, or state of being, as happiness, perhaps we shouldn’t rely to heavily on such research!

At the same time, we all can reflect on our own personal experiences and on anecdotal evidence from the life experiences of our closest family members and friends, and how their happiness has changed through various significant life events.

For example, I saw first-hand how someone, very close to me, overcame a life-time of severe depression by taking on a job which involved taking significant responsibility for the welfare of vulnerable members of society.

I believe that these 10 Happiness Principles are 10 action steps which are foundational to a good and happy life. elizah1

Happiness Principle #1:  Give thanks:

Being appreciate for what we have is always a good approach that demonstrates a good attitude. There seems no question that those who are appreciative for whatever good, no matter how small or great, that comes their way, are generally much more content with their lives, and hence less jealous of others and consequently happier.

Part of this appreciation is the recognition that we normally have no control over the circumstances, or country, or economic state we are born and grow up in, but as adults, we do have control over how we respond to our personal circumstances.

As Rabbi Sacks states it: “For it is not what happens to us on which our happiness depends.  It depends on how we respond to what happens to us.” 

Of-course, that’s easy for him to say!  In reality, the practice of a good attitude is never easy!

To awake and start the day by being thankful that you have the day, that you are alive is a great start. Even being thankful that your normal bodily functions are working helps to engender a sense of calm and serenity.

The first waking prayer of Judaism fits this mold. It states: “I thank You, living and eternal King, who has restored my soul in mercy. Thank You, God, for giving me back my life.”

Giving thanks to the Almighty is a very common refrain in the Psalms. Just a few examples are Ps 7:17. 9:1.18:49, 30:4, 33:2, 35:18. 44:8, 45:17, 53:9, 54:6. 57:9. 75:1, 79:13 and so on.

The wording of Psalm 107:1 is often repeated: Give thanks to YHVH, for he is good, for his loving kindness endures forever.”

This attitude or thankfulness is also quite common in the Apostle Paul’s writings. For example see 1 Thessalonians 5: 14-18

“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.
See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Messiah Yeshua for you.

If  you take the time to read through just some of the many Psalms that speak of giving thanks you will also see what Happiness Principle #2 is.

Next: Happiness Principle #2