This may sound too negative, I know, but this is just me expressing some of my thoughts. I’d like to call this age as the Age of Distraction. So many activities and things can take away one’s focus to connect to G-d, Our Creator, The Source of everything. There is primarily the television, then, there are movies and so many other sorts of secular entertainment. There is also career to keep you busy, or to possess as some kind of social status. People who do not have a career is sort of treated like an outcast. It seems that being busy with work is a hip thing. Or, the other way. Living life to the fullest without minding about work or responsibilities. Distracting yourself by relaxing on travels and frequently going out with friends just to enjoy life. Also, society since time immemorial has emphasized about passion. A person has to have a particular activity he or she is passionate about. You have to pursue it to be happy. Spend your time, focus, and most of your life energy on it and you won’t regret it. Forget about what others will say or forget your family, just focus on your passion and society and future generations will admire you. Lastly, falling-in-love without bounds. Just fall in love with whoever or whatever you want to love and just pour out yourself to that person because love is the sweetest thing of all. Well, that’s just it, it is a THING, another thing of distraction. Too much emphasis on love I’d say, without spiritual content. I’m not saying it’s bad but this generation seems to put so much emphasis on living life without thinking about the responsibilities of being a Human Being, as a created Soul and most of all having a genuine relationship with Our Creator. They clamor for a life made up of a good career, travels to faraway destinations, time spent with friends, even doing foolish things on purpose just so you can try it, and wasting time on entertainment. So many distractions that condition a human being to be complacent on the one thing that truly matters, our connection to The Source, The Creator.
But we are all called to elevate this world and that includes the distractions. It takes being mindful of Our Creator and our responsibilities in having a connection and relationship with Him. In the end, we won’t be asked how many works of art we created, how high we’ve reached in the corporate ladder, how many places in the world we’ve traveled, how many restaurants we’ve eaten in, how many people we’ve loved or slept with, if we lived a physically pleasurable life. We will be asked if we’ve done what we were sent here to do, and that is to always strive to connect with Our Creator, that we have done everything in service to Him.
How the Materialistic Point of View Distorts the Credibility of the Biblical Accounts
When historians and archaeologists all too often look back at historical events, they focus their attention on the artifacts, cross examinations of historical accounts, and lore. These are the remnants of the civilizations, the records of the rise of an empire as well as its downfall. However, when examining the factuality of the events in the Biblical accounts, experts tend to treat them as mere legends and fictional stories. They point out the utter lack of physical evidences which are most often than not are the great edifices and treasures that are supposed to be left behind by the prominent personalities and rulers mentioned in the Hebrew bible. This is based on how they also view other great civilizations such as Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Rome, and Greece which are very particular with leaving physical traces of their glory. The revered personalities in the Judaic history fall prey to the standards of these so called experts and the forceful current of the eagerness to bury the possibility of these religiously significant events under the helm of secularism and relativism.
One famous victim of such expert bias is no other than King David. Some or most experts would point out the truthfulness of the existence of a person such as King David, the shepherd boy who slew the giant Goliath and became the King of Israel, next to King Saul. They emphasize the lack of remnants of artistic expressions such as monuments and grandiose stories outside of the Hebrew bible. Although recent digs by some archeologists with inscriptions depicting a form of rulership of a certain King David have been great help, somehow, modern scholars are still doubtful of the existence of such an Israelite King. Yet, the existence of King David’s son, King Solomon, is something they could not erase due to the fact that he was able to erect the first Holy Temple in Jerusalem, one of the greatest edifices in the ancient world. Going farther back, another very prominent figure in the line of Hebrew leaders is also being questioned. It is no other than Moses. Most experts cite the inconsistency or uncertainty of the time periods of the events stated in the Hebrew bible with their own time table, based on their own analysis. But a recent documentary titled Patterns of Evidence has boldly questioned the reliability of the time table these experts are so dependent upon because it is based mainly on Egyptologists’ concepts and time table. It seems that the originators of this time table were too lazy to dig for deeper clues and alternative time frames or scared to explore beyond the limits set by local leaders of the land.
There are more to mention in the list of biblical figures who became victims of expert bias but the point here is that, there is an obvious trait that the Hebrew-Judaic culture has. I do not know if these experts have considered this or not but they may have pretty much dismissed this because of the fear of being viewed as a fanatic. All too often, we face in the history of the different civilizations a common trait which they built their empires upon, materialism. When simple towns grew into empires, it was propelled by the thirst for power and material gain. Empires built great edifices and monuments to show their power and greatness to the world. They acquired wealth and they epitomized the human body and intellect. These were basic components to build and maintain a society but these empires had it in surplus. This emphasis on power and materialism is what the G-d of Israel despises.
The Hebrews had a distinct culture that went against the flow of the majority. They were taught not to run after physicality but rather aim only of spiritual heights. The Hebrews were called as such because of their forefather, Avraham, who started the counter flow. The word Hebrew came from the word Ivri, or “from the other side”. The Hebrews stood in opposite to the world’s consummate lust for dominion and wealth. The G-d of the Hebrews taught and warned them to do away with building idolatrous monuments and too much material encroachment. This becomes their very culture and that is why they were not particular with building monuments for their leaders and creating edifices to boast to the world their greatness. The righteous kings of Israel did not go beyond what was required of them. They did only what was commanded by G-d. The Holy Temple was built in honor of The Creator and not the kingdom or the king who built it.
When experts say there is a lack of physical evidence, I’d say they were not looking at the right place or with the right mindset. They are plagued with the rather questionable standards from their predecessors. They forget that the spirit of the historicity of the kingdom of Israel is not only based on their physical standards. Or rather, they forget to exert effort more than they give for other explorations. If I could compare it to a woman, the boastful empires are like harlots who display their skin for all to see but the true gem that is Israel and the Hebrew bible, are like royalty that is protected and sealed. It has to be dealt with proper respect and a distinct thirst for the truth. These experts have to also at times challenge the conventions of set standards to find the truth.
We are all sojourners. As the sages of old say, one should not strive to become a permanent resident of this plane of reality, but rather continue to be a sojourner. It is because this is not home yet. We have to keep moving and take only the most precious and significant memories and relationships in our temporary journey. We have a limited time so we must choose wisely and make the decisions that matter most.
With Rabbi Manis Friedman
Video from 11213org
What should you do when you just don’t care about matters of the soul?