There have been angry accusations, hate-filled slanders, wild over-reactions and just about every variety of sin of unkindness in the past week to ten days. This has had an understandable point of contention which has led to sins of commission and omission which will burn heavy next Yom Kippur when we all will need to cleanse our souls even if all we did was hear of these things and agree even in the slightest. We are Jews and we are all family and we need to treat each other as family, as our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers, our sons and our daughters, as our closest or distant relative who needs our love and help to turn our lives in a better direction. Many are reading these words and claiming innocence because your cause or anger or protestations or actions were for the good of Eretz Yisroel and you were acting in the service of Hashem. We, as individuals or as groups have absolutely no idea what Hashem counts as in his service as even our prayers may not be sufficient to pass the desires of Hashem and if we are not satisfying Hashem then we are most definitely not serving the good of Eretz Yisroel. We must observe the rules which were the ways of the most holy of our sages and leaders from Biblical times and during much of our history where their actions always seemed to be guided by the cautioning of first do no harm and cleanse your mind and its thoughts of all bile and spite while speaking only truth and words which heal any rifts bringing Jew together with Jew and always healing any differences. Quiet thoughtful words which have been reviewed ten times before spoken should be what passes through our lips, something I would be well advised to observe. Our actions should be restrained by an even greater restriction with a review which includes reviewing as to would such be appropriate if you were receiving the act you are about to commit and if not then find a different avenue for your acts.
These are not easy restrictions for one to place on oneself but if we all were to adopt truth and only kind action between us and our fellow we would not have some of the disputes or unkindness currently being reported in our news. Yes, defending the state and pursuing justice are also noble acts but only when pursued by people who first assure that they commit no sin nor breach the bonds of family and commit only acts which would be permitted to be committed before Hashem. This includes not demanding of placing others in the position where they would go astray of such restrictions as to do through another does not absolve you of the deed but actually makes you more responsible than the one you instructed carrying out your desires. Make only the order or demand of another an act that you yourself would commit before Hashem in the same situation because by giving such an order you are committing such an act before Hashem. This is why a good leader does every act they would demand of another before requesting such and a good manager is one who only requests or gives instructions to do as they would do in any given situation. There is also the responsibility of the employee to refuse any order or assignment which goes against that which they know to be righteous and a blessing before Hashem as every action we take is an action before Hashem. Live a life in this mode and you will find that your life becomes easier and less stressful, not to mention more rewarding.
There is something which many people find excessively difficult, and that is leaving their life in the hands of Hashem. What they do not believe is that Hashem will provide and protect them from harm as Hashem knows mostly love for all his creations and allows more leeway than most would imagine and still treats one as a child of Hashem. That trust may be the most difficult act to allow in one’s life when things are falling apart or deadlines are coming and coming fast and you are not prepared to meet even the minimalist of these demands. But believe us or not, Hashem does indeed intervene even for the least deserving amongst us. All Hashem asks is that we live our lives thinking about those we meet even for a second or two and above all else, be kind and to quote Rabbi Hillel when asked to summarize Torah while a prospective convert was standing on one foot as a test for their conversion would depend on this and the great Rabbi answered, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation of this–go and study it!” We could all probably learn a lot from that scroll full of ancient wisdoms which have held truth still applicable today and along with the remainder of the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible, has many wisdoms to impart and predictions which when read appear beyond belief and of such things as to defy belief and yet even the most unusual have already been validated by history which leads one to wonder about those remaining to be fulfilled. We have no wonder as we are assured in our hearts and minds that they too will come to pass as stated.
Remember that the Torah contains the one set of rules which one can rightfully claim were written in stone, the Ten Commandments which were written in stone twice; the first were thrown down at the sight of the golden calf and Moses gathered those who would stand with Hashem which were the Levites who took revenge on the sinners to the number of three thousand before calling a halt. Moses then returned and begged Hashem not to take his anger on the people and if Hashem were to do so Moses requested “But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.” Hashem put aside His anger but in a following Parsha read a few weeks later the name of Moses does not appear presumably as a sign that Hashem had reserved this as a sign of how close the Children of Israel came to meeting the full wrath of Hashem and how Moses’s threat of being wiped from the book. Still, the Ten Commandments were indeed written in stone; and there is a message in there for even Moses thus definitely should be amply warned that there is a correct life and a million other paths. Torah and Hashem directed life’s path is a safe path and makes for a safe and respectful community but only if the State is first righteous as an example for the people. A holy and righteous state can expect its people to act accordingly and the people seeing the state keep Torah and witnessing the advantages of such a state will then seek the same for their lives seeking similar rewards as collected by the righteous state. But should the state be less than righteous, then nothing can be expected of the people as how can a people hold to the law if the state does not itself act with righteousness with the people; then the people will soon turn away and also act with disregarding the laws, both those of Torah and of the state as why should the people obey laws derived by those who ignore the Laws of Hashem. Only a righteous state can expect to have a righteous people under their rule and only a righteous people deserve a righteous state. This is a two way street but where there exists a state where anarchy has set in as the people no longer respect their governance, then it is the responsibility of the state to correct their actions and then the people will soon follow and respect the state and their dedication to Torah. Can it be that simple? Well, if we ever find a government which can obey the restrictions and guidance of Torah and would that be sufficient to have their people live by the laws given by Hashem? We may never know.
The Torah might be too Jewish, too strict; too many unnecessary laws or even too many restrictions which make no sense or have no Earthly rhyme or reason and these complaints are genuine. So perhaps we can find some other laws. There is English common law which inspired some food and solid sets of laws. Perhaps the Bill of Rights, which are the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution which delineate some solid ideas, and if added to the Noahic Codes, seven laws which are an ancient but useful code for the basis for building a just society would work. The Code of Hammurabi has some good ideas but falls short as for far too many crimes the judgement was throw the person in the river and if they drowned then they must have been guilty which would have left me at a younger age about as innocent as any person could desire. There are other basic laws under which one can start a society but the one item from Torah which was a good concept was that the King, or anybody in a position of power or decision making, was forbidden building themselves any great sums of wealth which can be adjusted for any government where those in charge of decisions or enforcement must be refrained from amassing wealth through their practices or through any knowledge received from their holding office or inside information gained by access to plans and executions of decisions. Finally, in forming governance one must take steps for equal protection from the government for all citizens and others who might come under the enforcements of government laws and regulations. Further, there have to be limits on the use of practices to gain knowledge, confessions, information or other desired information when investigating crimes and these restrictions should apply without any references as to who is being questioned or suspected. Further, those suspected of crimes must be considered innocent until trial has produced a guilty verdict. Torture, denial of religious rights and practices, sleep deprivations, denial of food, lack of respect for their personal hygiene, refusal of access to a lawyer or other council, refusal of a minor being visited by immediate family, and denial of anything which would be considered over the top by the average member of the society in any case with treatment of all suspects, potential accomplices, or others believed to have critical information as the assumption must be if innocence rather than acting as if the individual must be guilty and thus be broken into providing a confession no matter the methods or costs to the health of the investigative bodies’ reputation within the society. These are a few ideas which may or may not be useful.
Beyond the Cusp