Tuesday, 28 February 2017
The Difference Between Morality and Holiness (Video) - Feeling Totally You!
It's a famous expression - "just be a good person." Some people like saying it, because - strangely - it exempts them from performing practically any of the mitzvot (commandments) of the Torah. After all, once one is a good person, does one really need to perform G-d's commandments? Many feel that they already know what it means to be a good person in the world. Personally, I have often wondered what people mean by this. Do they ever speak about others? Do they disturb others' peace? Will they insult someone "for their good"? Tough Love after all! Now that is what being a good person could also be about! When confronted - will they acknowledge that what they thought was good - may well have hurt another - perhaps even destroyed their life!
Actually, most people don't actually go by any standard when it comes to "being a good person." They make it up as they go along - as to what they consider to be good! One person's good - is another's actual pain! Try asking someone what they feel to be the good they need - and one may find that it differs quite substantially from the good one feels one is actually giving!
The Torah provides the most objective view of what goodness is because it is a teaching which extends through every generation - for every single person. It reaches to the Jew as much as to the non-Jew - though the non-Jew need not observe all its commandments. In fact, it makes for a better world of goodness for everyone when one observes what one must. Let us not speak about "man-made" laws. Rather, let us speak about the objectivity of the Torah - which in essence allows one to express one's individuality within the boundaries of the Torah.
One becomes holy. One learns humility. One learns about the other - as much as one learns about oneself! His/her needs - as much as one's own! The beauty is its flexibility for the individual which allows for movement - within the realm of good. There is no one standard for everyone - but there is a level of good that exists on whatever level one finds oneself. Good - however, comes from understanding the values of the Torah - not from inventing in one's own mind what good actually is. As the Torah teaches, when one is cruel when one should be kind, one will be kind when one should be "cruel".
Much like a child must be completely prepared to hear from the teacher what the letters of the Alphabet are, before they can read - trusting the teacher no matter what they say - so too does one need to see and realise the value of the truth of the Torah as a basic standard - before one embarks on the process of growth and real learning.
Rabbi David Aaron shares a beautiful idea in animated form - so that we can see the difference between what we consider our own understanding of morality in life - and what the Torah wants from us - to be holy.