Wednesday, Jul 24, 2024

On Logic

 

The United States is currently facing something it has never previously faced. Its presidential elections are several months away, and its president, who is also his party’s candidate for president, is senile. No, he didn’t just now become senile. He has been slipping for several years, likely even prior to his election to his current term. The more astute citizens were able to perceive that Joe Biden, the candidate in 2020 and president since 2021, is not operating at full capacity.

The media and his fellow politicians have been hiding the president’s condition from the American people. His administration governed following a leftist agenda, embedding it deeply into American governance, culture, and society. Expressing the truth about the president and his abilities risked the return of Donald Trump and his traditionalism and America First agenda.

Journalism today is less about objective reporting and more about framing occurrences to advance agendas and objectives. So, when there were clips of the president demonstrably weakened, saying silly things, or speaking gibberish and displaying that he was in decline, the right-wing media reported on them while the prevailing mainstream media, whose objective is to advance social progressivism, ignored them.

Biden was kept hidden from the general population. Sometimes they would trot him out to read speeches or comments from cards or a teleprompter, but he would rarely interface with people for long and didn’t engage in small talk. Invariably, when he did, he would say something foolish, wrong, or incomprehensible.

He would meet with leaders and dignitaries and read his comments from cards. It was poor form for foreign leaders to tell anyone that the president wasn’t with it. At summits, everyone would play along and cover for the American president. Liberalism was enabled to govern and lead the country and the world.

Generally, the gambit worked, and when the media and Democrat politicians were unable to ignore the instances, they blamed them on the right and said that the right-wing media was dishonestly editing clips to portray a healthy, sharp, vigorous president as incoherent and weak.

But the campaign messed up. They believed their own narratives about Donald Trump and assumed that, in an early debate, he would expose himself to the world for the madman they told everyone he is. The country would see that he is insane and wants to be a dictator. They would be rid of him once and for all.

But the tables were turned, and even after a full week of rest and preparation, their candidate could not perform. He spoke in incomplete sentences, was unclear and unfocused, and at times made absolutely no sense at all. There was no way to sugarcoat what 50 million people saw with their own eyes in real time. So instead of Trump being exposed, Biden was. And the jig was up.

Once they realized that, everyone who had been covering for Biden ran for cover. Then they made it seem as if they were surprised. They knew that if permitted to run for reelection as their candidate, Biden would lose, and the liberal enterprise they had going would implode. With little choice, they began sacrificing their man and playing up the incompetent woman he had chosen to serve as his vice president, hoping that they would be able to do for her what they did for him and convince the low-information voters to vote for her and then carry her over the finish line.

They say that their campaign is all about democracy, yet here they go and seek to upend the results of a primary in which Democrat voters across this country voted that Mr. Biden should be the Democrat nominee for president. However, because they fear that he will lose, they are now preparing to do something that was never done before and simply disgorge the democratically chosen candidate for president. Then they tell us that they are the ones fighting for democracy and Trump is the dictator. The media is gleefully formulating and driving this instead of simply reporting what others are saying and doing.

The process is now playing out, and it is an eis tzorah l’Yaakov. The left has now gained power in England and France. Should there be elections anytime soon in Israel, al pi derech hateva, the left will win. Should the left somehow be able to hang on to power here, expect the world to seriously tip to leftist positions and the cultural slide will continue at a faster pace. Western support for Israel can seriously decline, as that country goes through an anti-religious crusade.

Where does that leave us? How are we to live our lives in a period such as the one we now face? Should we engage in outreach, attempting to explain the Torah to those who mock and vilify us? Should we demonstrate the truths that have been guiding us ever since we stood at Har Sinai? After all, we are in the 21st century now. Perhaps we should be using modern tools to explain to the world how wrong they are about us. Maybe they hate us because we have a marketing problem.

This week’s parsha opens with the high ideal we are to live with: “Zos chukas haTorah adam ki yomus ba’ohel.” This is the way of the Torah: If you wish to be a student of the Torah, you need to be consumed by it, without giving consideration to physical desires. To grow in Torah and kedusha, it is essential to avoid activities that do not contribute to spiritual growth.

The first Rashi of the parsha quotes the Medrash Tanchuma, which states that the Soton and nations of the world mock us and ask for the rationale of this mitzvah. Therefore, says Rashi, the Torah spells out that Parah Adumah is a chok, a gezeirah min haShomayim, and we do not ask questions about it.

The nations of the world, and those who mock us and attempt to steer us from the path of our forefathers, question us and our practices. They say that the mitzvos are backward and without reason. We don’t answer them. We don’t try to explain it to them. We reinforce to ourselves that we are following the word of Hashem, which is a chok. This way, we are able to succeed and flourish in a world of sheker.

A lion once encountered a chicken and began to choke it. “Why are you trying to kill me?” the chicken called out to the lion. “I never hurt you. You don’t know me. Why are you doing this to me?”

The lion looked at the poor little chicken it held in its grasp and responded, “Do you know why I am doing this? Because I can!”

For thousands of years, that was how the nations of the world treated us. They tortured and tormented us. They questioned our loyalty and intelligence. They asked us many questions. The Torah tells us not to bother answering and not to engage in debates. They are not interested in our answers and explanations; we gain nothing by engaging them.

Besides, the ways of the Torah do not lend themselves to mortal explanation. We accept its teachings, chukim as well as mishpotim, because we acknowledge that we are bound to the bond of Torah living, which goes beyond what the world considers reason and logic. The Torah was presented to us by the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the world and all the constellations. He gave it to us and we promised to study and observe it.

We have been dedicating our lives to following its teachings for thousands of years and have been spending our spare time delving into it and working to know and understand its teachings. The Torah and the life it instructs do not lend themselves to simple, one-sided explanations, for it is only those who are sworn to its allegiance and subscribe to what has been handed down for dozens of generations who can excel in it and gain differing levels of comprehension.

Torah is more than a compendium of laws that can be memorized and followed.

A community was facing a crisis, and a group of well-intentioned people held several long meetings to discuss the issues involved and formulate a solution to the problem. After spending much time on this, they believed that they had arrived at a resolution. They met with local rabbonim for their approval. The proposed solution was impressive and sensible, and the rabbis went along with it. However, since this took place in the time of Rav Elazar Menachem Man Shach, one of them suggested that he would present the idea to Rav Shach for his final blessing.

Surprisingly, upon hearing the plan, Rav Shach immediately shot it down. He said, “I saw from the Chofetz Chaim that this solution is improper.”

The group who had worked so hard to solve the communal crisis was convinced that they had thoroughly analyzed the issue and arrived at a perfect solution. They were convinced that the reason Rav Shach didn’t go for it was because it wasn’t properly presented to him, so they arranged to go themselves and explain the problem and why their solution was most appropriate.

They were taken aback when Rav Shach told them that he could not agree with them. He explained that he would not get into a discussion with them about their ideas. It may be that your proposal is logical, but Klal Yisroel is not guided by the logical conclusions and thoughts of smart people; Klal Yisroel is led by mesorah, tradition.

“If the mesorah from the Chofetz Chaim is that we don’t pursue that avenue,” he explained, “then we don’t do it, no matter how smart it seems.”

He added that he had spent time with the Chofetz Chaim and discussed many issues with him, and this idea was not something the Chofetz Chaim would have supported. Therefore, despite its brilliance, it should not be implemented.

We face many problems and an uncertain future, but as we seek solutions, we must know that our people are not led by what is referred to as logic. We are led by the Torah, by the logic of the Torah as handed down through what we refer to as the mesorah.

No one, as smart as he thinks he is and as pressing as the issues are, has the ability to formulate plans that differ from our mesorah. Doing so fails to solve the problem and leads to more difficulties. Though the logic may be compelling, it is wrong.

So, when it appears that the kochos of tumah that the left promotes are gaining, the way we fight back is by increasing kedusha in the world. We are seriously impacted by what takes place around us. The leftists talk about climate change and preach that it threatens the world’s existence. Tumah is much more real than climate change and affects us significantly. It affects the underpinnings of the western world and country in which we live in many spiritual ways, and it also trickles down to us in our cloistered world. We are not immune to anything unless we immunize ourselves.

Hundreds of years ago, the Kotzker Rebbe closeted himself in his room. He famously commented to a chossid who opened the window to the room, “Der velt shtinked. Farmach dem fenster. Close the window and don’t allow the stench of the world into this room.”

How can we effectively close the windows to our homes, rooms, and offices?

How do we protect ourselves from the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel onslaught?

How do we protect ourselves from the anti-Torah forces in Eretz Yisroel?

For as long as people alive today can remember, gedolim such as the Chazon Ish and Rav Shach have been saying that the proper response to such situations is to add more yeshivos, more Bais Yaakovs, more elementary schools, and more kollelim. The way to respond to those who curse our existence, to those who seek to stem our growth and to the various festering issues, is by ignoring their calls and dedicating ourselves to increase our own study of Torah and to increase the study of Torah in general.

In our personal lives as well, when we are acting properly and people mock us and seek to harm us, our reputations, and things that we have worked hard to build up, our response shouldn’t be to get in the gutter with them. We should instead take the higher road and do our best to continue living our lives according to the Torah, halacha and darkei mussar.

We shouldn’t let detractors get us down and lead us to curtail our good actions. We should seek out seforim based on the Torah and mesorah to strengthen ourselves and give ourselves chizuk.

Life is tough enough without us stopping to engage with detractors of all types and fretting over the future.

Zos chukas haTorah: If we stick to the chukim of the Torah, follow the Torah no matter how difficult it is, and are honest, caring, and loving as the Torah tells us to be; if we act correctly according to the Torah, remain strong in our emunah and bitachon, and rely on the chochmas haTorah instead of our logic, then we are guaranteed that Hashem will protect us and do the best for us.

May we all merit to go in the ways of the Torah and mesorah, without falling prey to the many vices of the yeitzer hora to divert us from the proper path, which should lead us to Moshiach bekarov.

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