Kenneth Cohen

Connect to Good

The Torah gives us clear instructions that we are to carefully obey the teachings of the Sanhedrin, the Rabbis, and the true prophets of Israel. Connecting to them, means a connection to what is holy and pure. They represent all that is good in the world.

The Torah contrasts this holiness to that which is the opposite. It is referred to as the צד הטומאה, the side of impurity, or in Kabbalistic terms, the סטרא אחרא, or, the other (dark side.)

The Torah gives examples of such forbidden practices. It gives examples of sorcery and witchcraft and trying to consult with the dead. Rashi referred to people who sleep in cemeteries, in order to get messages from those who have left this world.
The possibility of the “side of impurity,” being capable of doing supernatural things, is not negated. We are not to be swayed by such practices, as they are coming from a bad place.

In order for us to grow spiritually, and achieve happiness for that matter, is to remove all negative influences from our lives. King David said it clearly in Psalms, סור מרע ועשה טוב, “Turn away from evil and do good.” In order to do good in this world, we must separate from evil.

This idea must be taken seriously. We need to take a careful look at who we allow into our lives. If they do not have good character, are jealous, or are a negative influence, we must distance ourselves from such people; And this might even include some of our relatives.

It is very difficult to separate from the dark forces in the world. They are often hard to identify. But this should be a priority in our effort to get closer to Hashem and be connected to the good in this world.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at