It is no fun to be roped into a game whose rules are a bewildering mystery. It’s positively painful to start a new job and discover that nobody’s in charge and lines of communication and authority are as temporary as jet contrails in a windy sky. It’s rough on children to grow up amidst arbitrary rules and capricious consequences. It is downright depressing and alienating to try and function in a system that makes no sense at all.
Before the advent of the Global Positioning System, otherwise known as GPS, roadmaps were ubiquitous. I have heard that (before my time), gas stations used to hand them out for free. To this day when I arrive in a new city for the first time, I feel uneasy until I have acquired a large-scale street map on which I can locate my surroundings. Boating without a chart and a compass is quite unthinkable. Maps help me make sense of otherwise confusing environments that can feel almost unknowable.
The study of physics, chemistry, biology, and other authentic sciences help us feel less alienated from the physical world in which we live. Things happen for a reason and we don’t need to fall back on mythical monsters and vengeful deities to explain why thunder follows lightening, how microbes help our digestion and why certain elements undergo radioactive decay.
While science is clearly a vital tool in trying to understand how the world REALLY works, it cannot provide information about those things not measurable by scientific method. It can tell us little about the role honesty and integrity play in the life of a person and a culture. It provides no reliable data on the sources of profound human happiness and it often provides contradictory information on how to marry successfully and how best to raise the progeny of that marriage. For these and countless other questions vital to human survival, we have to turn to another system every bit as powerful and just as reliable as the scientific system.
I think of this system as the general theory on the totality of all existence, otherwise known as the Torah system of knowledge. It makes our world as comprehensible as a roadmap makes a new city and allows us to anchor ourselves to a unifying integrity.
This truth is reflected by the arrangement of the Days of Creation in Genesis 1, each of which concludes with an ordinal number; third day, fourth day, fifth day, etc. The exception is the first day of Creation. Rather than saying, “And there was evening and there was morning, the first day,” the verse reads:
… there was evening and there was morning day One
In Hebrew, the number one, ECHaD, has no ordinal form. If we need to say first, we use an entirely different word RiSHoN, that literally means, “head of” as in the head of the line. Each of the subsequent Hebrew numbers follows a pattern similar to four/fourth or seven/seventh.
The reason that the Lord’s language doesn’t admit an ordinal form of one is that when we use numbers such as sixth or eighth we imply that there are more of whatever we are counting coming along. However, ancient Jewish wisdom views one as unique by definition. It always references the singleness of God and the unifying integrity of His creation. There is nothing like it coming down the road to make it only the first (of several). Since one is associated with God, it is one and only one.
Yet, accessing this system of knowledge takes time and perseverance. Perhaps our best resource for sculpting your spiritual roadmap to reality is our Biblical Blueprint Set. This set of five powerful audio CDs provides many hours of Torah teaching unavailable anywhere else. The global grasp is hinted at by topics ranging from verbal vulgarity to Torah tips on time maximization and from spiritual serenity to escaping the strait jackets that sap our energies and prevent us reaching our objectives. I know you’ll be thrilled to access these teachings repeatedly in order to consistently rejuvenate your soul and revitalize your life’s purpose. Order the physical Biblical Blueprint Set or save even more by downloading.
This week’s Susan’s Musings: Scandals and Sweethearts
Where to begin? The most recently reported American scandal? Older scandals that the administration is hoping citizens will ignore? The newly released Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that pretty much turns us into a nation of troubled people? Iraq? Syria? China?
I’d rather start with the good news. Namely, the birth of our newest grandson, the absolutely delicious and adorable Joshua Hyam. (here’s a picture…)READ MORE
Dear Rabbi and Susan,
I am a young Christian college student and I have a question about healing. I was taught in church that God heals people from their illness with prayer. How does this work since most people don’t get healed?
Read Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin’s ANSWER HERE