04 June 2018

Basic Concepts: "Accepting the Yoke of Heaven"

21 Sivan 5778

Continuing the process of examining and internalizing the basic concepts which are integral to authentic Torah Judaism...
G-d's ways, His mitzvot and attributes, must be accepted by a Jew precisely like a king's orders by his servants, without provisos, without injecting alien reasons for complying, and regardless of whether or not one "agrees" with them emotionally or intellectually. The moment someone does a mitzvah because he agrees with it or personally consents to it, it is no longer a mitzvah. He is no longer obeying G-d's command. Rather, he is following his own thoughts and heart.

If someone does so, he is not just failing to fulfill his task in the world of suppressing his evil impulse and vanquishing his ego. Quite the contrary, since he is performing the act out of intellectual or emotional "agreement," he is only reinforcing his own arrogance and conceit, contradicting his reason for existing on this earth, and, in fact, that of the world itself.

...The essence of Torah is to learn, to know, to become familiar with Divine attributes, concepts and ideas and to walk in G-d's ways - to cling to Him. Ritual observance is only the external expression of the internal idea.

...Clinging to G-d, accepting the yoke of Heaven, demands full submission and readiness on a Jew's part to accept upon himself all the details of the mitzvot, especially the Divine concepts, values and attributes, precisely as G-d commanded; although some of them may conflict with his world view or his innate feelings. G-d, and not man, establishes religious concepts, ideas and commandments. He defines precisely what is kindness, justice, uprightness, and mercy. It is entirely possible that a person will disdain some command or Divine value, or that one of them will conflict with "kindness and mercy" as he sees them. In his false perception, G-d's ways may border on "cruelty." Yet if someone rejects Divine attributes and concepts as our Father in Heaven determined them to be, then despite his continuing to fulfill the rituals, he is not a "mitzvah observer." He cannot be labeled "one who fulfills G-d's commands. Such a person does as he sees fit. He is a slave to himself, pronouncing that he is G-d. He denies Hashem's existence.

[Source: Or Hara'ayon, Chapter Five: "Accepting the Yoke of Heaven," pp. 76-79]
Compare this to the prevailing religion of our day...
...The humanist religion worships humanity, and expects humanity to play the part that God played in Christianity and Islam, and that the laws of nature played in Buddhism and Daoism. Whereas traditionally the great cosmic plan gave meaning to the life of humans, humanism reverses the role and expects the experiences of humans to give meaning to the cosmos. According to humanism, humans must draw from within their inner experiences not only the meaning of their own lives, but also the meaning of the entire universe. This is the primary commandment humanism has given us: create meaning for a meaningless world.
Accordingly, the central religious revolution of modernity was not losing faith in God; rather, it was gaining faith in humanity. It took centuries of hard work. Thinkers wrote pamphlets, artists composed poems and symphonies, politicians struck deals - and together they convinced humanity that it can imbue the universe with meaning.
...For centuries humanism has been convincing us that we are the ultimate source of meaning, and that our free will is therefore the highest authority of all. Instead of waiting for some external entity to tell us what's what, we can rely on our own feelings and desires.
...Humanism has taught us that something can be bad only if it causes somebody to feel bad. Murder is wrong not because some god once said, "Thou shalt not kill.' Rather, murder is wrong because it causes terrible suffering to the victim, to his family members, and to his friends and acquaintances. Theft is wrong not because some ancient text says, "Thou shalt not steal." Rather, theft is wrong because when you lose your property, you feel bad about it. And if an action does not cause anyone to feel bad, there can be nothing wrong with it. If the same ancient text says that God commanded us not to make any images of either humans or animals (Exodus 20:4), but I enjoy sculpting such figures and I don't harm anyone in the process - then what could possibly be wrong with it? 
[Source: Homo Deus, A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari, chapter 7 - "The Humanist Revolution," pp. 259 - 264.]
Despite whatever religion they profess, the vast majority of the world's population are now devotees of "humanism," thanks to the pervading culture. In stark contrast to that, Rabbi Kahane writes from the Torah perspective...
...Thus, before a person accepts upon himself the yoke of the mitzvot, he has to know that they are commandments. That is, he should perform them by dint of G-d's being Supreme King of kings, not because of his own intellect or feelings.
Therefore, man's first undertaking must be, "Hear O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One" (Deut. 6:4). This constitutes a declaration of unconditional submission to and acceptance of G-d's sovereignty. Then and only then can a Jew accept upon himself the yoke of mitzvot found in the second paragraph of the Shema, having the clear knowledge that the mitzvot he fulfills are based on an acceptance of the yoke of Heaven.  
[Source: Or Hara'ayon, Chapter Five: "Accepting the Yoke of Heaven," p. 81]
Now, we can begin to see how Western culture, which now pervades the entire world, is in direct opposition to the Torah and no one who follows it can possibly be practicing authentic Torah Judaism, even if they do slap an "Orthodox" label on it!

Now, we can see why the argument over conversion favors letting people call themselves Jewish if they feel Jewish or if they feel a connection, not to HKB"H, ironically enough, but to Jews, to Judaism (as they perceive it) or to the secular, anti-Torah State.

Now, we can understand the freedom with which many "Orthodox" rabbis are giving away Judaism to the masses of gentiles who want the privileges of being Jewish without the obligation. They want to observe Shabbat and other mitzvot because it makes them feel good, it makes them happy, not because they are commanded.

The mass of humanity wants to be completely free of restraint unless it is self-imposed by their own choosing. They are unwilling to have God's will imposed upon them externally. They are unwilling to accept the yoke of Heaven. As such, they are not fit to live in the kingdom of God which Mashiach will establish on this earth.


  1. Excellent! Also, it is the EGO in these people that tends to sway them to this thinking (in reality, these people can also be easily swayed to be cruel). It is easier for them to accept that humanity (which has shown very little 'humanity' since creation) be in total control and even god-like without having to have the fear of Heaven, which they seem to not be able to grasp the meaning of. History proves that 'humanism' also known as 'socialism' very easily leads to 'fascism'. This is the snake in them (yetzer hara) which makes them war against G-D. We see that when man creates laws to his (and not necessarily, the public's) liking, how civilization descends to the pits. If man would have enough intelligence to realize who he really is and what his end is; and Who created him and the universe, they would not come to such an inane conclusion believing 'humanism' is the answer. Now that most of the world seems to have accepted this 'sick' idealogy, it will lead to their end but to 'our Geulah shleimah'.

    1. Like they say, know your place