This is Illuy Nishmas my Father, HaRav Yisroel Ya’akov ben Tzvi, a”h. Good Shabbos,

July 14, 2019

4 min read

GOOD AND EVIL. Ancient concepts. FUNDAMENTAL concepts. Confusing concepts. How it is possible that one person’s idea of good can be so different from another that the other calls it “evil”? It is one thing to be a little off, but 180 degrees off?

When Hitler ysv”z murdered SIX MILLION PLUS Jews, he called it “good” for mankind. Others called it the worst evil imaginable. Others yet only considered it to be a little extreme, and some just remained indifferent.

If good and evil are merely subjective concepts, then no questions need to be asked. No two people are alike, and many are VERY different from one another. “Good” is what works for THEM, what enhances THEIR lives. Everything else, to them, will just range from “bad” to “evil.”

The goal then becomes to find like-minded people, and live with them, and to stay away from the people who are different. But war will be inevitable, because contrary ideologies tend to butt up against one another at some point in time and in some place. And that, in a nutshell, has been the history of mankind.

Is unity possible?

Only if OBJECTIVE TRUTH is possible.

“Shalom bayis” requires a SINGLE priority for ALL of mankind. Differences can remain, but they have to be secondary to some more ultimate truth to which every individual can be devoted. Otherwise, if people step out of line, friction will result, and society will go back  to Square One all over again.

If you’re a lover of war, you need a therapist. If you dream of world peace, then you are normal, human, maybe even divine. And, you agree de facto to the idea of a universal truth. You may not agree yet about what that universal truth is, but you certainly agree that there is necessity for one.

Theoretically, there are only two possible ways to live in life, with selfishness or selflessness. We’re BORN selfish. We grow up and hopefully become selfless. If a person remains selfish, and to what extent that they do, they will be offensive to others. THEY will be their own priority, and that is usually at the expense of others.

Sometimes a person has to be selfish, because it is the “right” thing to do. But when selfishness is the result of a higher truth, it stops being selfishness and becomes selflessness, as long as the person is being honest about their motivation.

Sometimes a person can APPEAR to be selfless, giving themself over to some cause. But if the cause is not ultimately truthful, then their support of it can only be self-serving, and therefore, selfish. They may be standing up for a principle, but if it is a mistaken one, then they are doing pure evil. That is when “the road to hell is paved with good intention.”

Only an objective truth can sort it out. If you only look at a shade of gray, it will be hard to determine just how gray it is. But if you hold up the sample against one of black and white, it becomes much easier to estimate the grayness, and make adjustments accordingly.

Some propose that an objective truth does not exist, or that if it exists, man cannot know it. But that has NEVER been true after an exhaustive search for it. It has certainly NEVER been true after learning Torah on the four levels of “Pardes,” after which time the idea of an objective truth becomes the most OBVIOUS truth there is.

If this is so, then to NOT believe in objective truth is an act of SELFISHNESS. The person opts out of important realities such as world unity for personal reasons of convenience, and to the detriment of others. They are self-serving, no matter HOW much they argue to the contrary.

After all, NOTHING in the history of man-kind has EVER claimed to be objective truth as much as Torah has. Others have claimed to speak God’s truth on His behalf, but only the Torah is God speaking on His OWN behalf, and in such explicit detail. It confidently outlines the parameters of truth like no other ideology.

As history winds down, and the polarization of society to the “right” or “left” continues, it become increasingly more important to a have a good handle on the idea of right-and-wrong. Want it or not, a person has to confirm for themselves that an objective truth not only exists, but is accessible. There are a lot of people out there doing their idea of “good,” and it is really “evil.”

And vice-versa. A lot of people are being called “evil” because of what they fight for, when in fact, according to Objective Truth, they are really doing the best good there is. Without an objective truth, it is easy to become confused like this.

Once I thought I knew the Truth,
Had known it ever since my youth.
Then I realized what I did not know,
That the truth I knew was just for show.

When, how hard had I tried to find it?
To REAL truth had I just become blinded?
Society feeds me what IT wants me to know,
To escort me down the path IT wishes to go.

Help! Please help! someone throw me a line,
Of OBJECTIVE TRUTH for which I truly pine.
It’s not enough to just have good intention,
If you version of truth is mere convention.

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