Friday, October 24, 2008

Natural Law

A friend showed me a really interesting Netsiv, on parshat B'rei'shit. On the first pasuk, he quotes the well-known idea regarding the use of the word, "Elokim," denoting Din - Law.

Now, the common explanation of this is that God initially intended that the Universe be governed by pure Din, but that Man couldn't live that way, so he subsequently infused it with Rachamim - Mercy, to accomodate us.

The Netsiv says we're reading it wrong.

He says that the Din being discussed here is NOT the Din of Torah, which basically deals with issues of reward and punishment. This, he says, is referring to is "Din Teva" - Natural Law!

He continues on to explain that, when God created the Universe, the first thing He did was create Natural Law, and then used it as the system through which He created the Universe.

In other words, the Big Bang theory is not at all at odds with a Torah viewpoint. Neither is any other scientific theory that explains Creation. All they're doing is attempting to unravel God's Natural Law. The Netsiv says there's no inconsistency.

He also explains the subsequent infusion of Rachamim as not being an afterthought. Rachamim is required for the maintenance of God's Creation. After all, if the Universe continued running by means of strict Natural Law, there would simply be no room for Hashgacha Pratit - the personal involvement of God in our lives; in the world.

Pretty cool stuff.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Direction-ish

Well, if you actually read this blog, you'll know that I don't post here very much. I'm not sure why... Maybe it's because I try to have something good; something solid to say. But maybe I'm being too picky.

Well, I picked up this here app on my phone, which will allow me to post remotely... Maybe that'll stimulate more frequent posting. We'll see.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Obama, MLK and Irony

I often listen to NPR in the car. I don't always agree with what I hear, but I do gain insight into things I would never have thought of otherwise. This morning, I heard a very interesting report called, Obama's Triumph: A Turning Point for America?, and this time, like many times, I had to actually shut off the radio in the middle of the piece, to mull over what I'd just heard.

In this particular story, they quote a woman named Jewel Plummer, who works as a secretary for the Black History Museum, in Alexandria, VA. This is what Ms. Plummer had to say:

"I don't think it has sunk in, the reality of it — of the first black president of the United States. Did you hear what I just said? The first black president of the United States."

"This is the first time, to me, that it truly represents 'we the people.' Finally, equal rights, not being judged on the color of your skin but the character — that's what this whole thing means to me."

I find this incredibly ironic. She celebrates the possibility of an Obama-Presidency as an example of not being, to quote MLK, "judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." And yet, Ms. Plummer is stating, outright, that the reason she is voting for Mr. Obama, because of the color of his skin!!!

Is it just me?