Kenneth Cohen

Man’s Laws-God’s Laws

We are told at the end of פרשת בראשית that as the population of the world increased, G-d made an observation of man’s nature. He noticed that the inclination of man’s thoughts was evil. Here was a telling realization that man was incapable of making a workable system of laws for its society. Because of this inclination towards evil, it is almost impossible to come up with moral and just laws. The obvious conclusion is that man made laws would not be sustained, and only a system designed by Hashem, Himself, would last through the generations.

Rabbi Twerski pointed out that the principle of, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” has been substituted with, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of pleasure.”
There is a big difference between happiness and pleasure. Happiness can come by way of the satisfaction one gets for having accomplished a noble task. Pleasure is usually based on some kind of physical self gratification.

If man is guided by the pursuit of pleasure, he will make laws that allow an individual to do whatever “feels good,” whether it is moral or not. We have been witnessing such a degradation of society where laws that we would have thought unthinkable a generation ago, have now become the law of the land. Legalizing drugs, gambling, and abortion, are only a few examples. The Torah is making a very strong statement. Without Divine laws, society will increasingly decay. Because the thoughts of man are only evil.

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