How can finite human beings connect to the infinity of a spiritual being?
This is the number one question that must be answered. If we are mortals and die and have no human soul, or if we are part of the infinite universe?
How can human beings connect to each other? How can there be co-operation, collaboration, collective action, families, communities, and finally a nation, without the coercive use of power?
How can we form relationships of trust? How can we redeem the human person from his/her solitude? How can we create collective liberty such that my freedom is not bought at the cost of yours?
The caveman was like an animal. Animals communicate with each other without words, and work on instinct.
Man developed a language. Our holy Bible teaches it was when G-d took the animal like man and put a speaking soul into him.
Words communicate, words bind other beings, words let us communicate the ideas that are not tangible. Love, G-d, cooperation, inventions, everything that is possible comes because of words.
The bible teaches that G-d created the world through words. He spoke and the words became the world.
Words are how the finite being connects to the Infinite being and why our Bible takes using evil words so seriously. It is considered the greatest of sins to use words the wrong way, through false testimony (one of the ten commandments) or through evil speech that once spoken can never be called back (like feathers from a pillow blowing in the wind).
It is essential to our survival as the air that we breathe.
What has happened in today’s world that we have little ways of distinguishing in our internet world between truth and lies (sheker in Hebrew). We are exposed to words daily that say black is white and white is black.
The Bible is an explainer of what is good and what is evil. The whole idea of good comes from G-d and evil from the Devil. How do we know that family values are good and hedonism is not. Our Bible is the reality that tells us so. And as I have written before, The written Torah is only the Cliff notes to G-d’s instructions to us. One must have the Oral Torah (which is today written down in the Talmud) to have the instructions for life.
King Salomon in Ecclesiastes (Kohelet in Hebrew) emphatically proclaims all the actions of man to be inherently “hevel” (a word meaning “vapor” or “breath”, but often interpreted as “insubstantial”, “vain”, or “futile”) […] as the lives of both wise and foolish men end in death
King Salomon clearly endorses wisdom as a means for a well-lived earthly life, he is unable to ascribe eternal meaning to it. In light of this perceived senselessness, he suggests that one should enjoy the simple pleasures of daily life such as eating, drinking, and taking enjoyment in one’s work, which are gifts from the hand of God.
The book concludes with the injunction: “Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone” (12:13).
The Bible therefore teaches us through words how to connect with the Infinite G-d. For Jews it is to do the 613 mitzvahs. For non-Jews the same Bible tells them to follow the 7 (which in reality is much more than just 7-these are headlines for spirituality ) Noahite laws to connect through G-d. The ability of a finite man to become infinite is through the words of the Bible. For this the whole world turns to our teachers in the Bible, to learn how to connect to the Infinite G-d.
Now after that serious subject, time for a little humor
A Family Tradition
One day little Rivki Adler was watching her mother make a roast for Shabbat. She cut off the ends, wrapped it in string, seasoned it, and set it in the roasting pan.
Rivki asked her mother why she cut off the ends of the roast. Mom replied, after some thought, that it was the way that her mother – Bubbie – had done it.
Bubbie came over for Shabbat dinner and Rivki asked her why she had cut the end off of the roast before cooking. After some thought, Bubbie replied that it was the way her mother had done it.
Now the great-grandmother – Alter Bubbie as they called her – was quite old and in a nursing home. But Rivki went with her mother and grandmother to see her and again asked the question.
Alter Bubbie looked at them a bit annoyed and said, “So it would fit in the pan, of course.”