Hippies and holiness

  • ParshaRabbiSackstein
The anti-establishment movement of the sixties questioned the core values of Western society. This movement was born by a motivation to challenge societal norms in the search for truth, meaning and morality. Unfortunately, all too often these noble intentions became blurred in the chaos of rebellion.

The Torah teaches us the essential value of order. Even during times of war, there was no free-for-all as is usually the case during war. This is seen in the Torah’s account of the war against Midian where there was an exact count of the spoils, from the captives down to the different types of animals.

Only through order in every aspect of our being can we develop in a positive way.

Order is an integral part of G-d’s creation. From the tiny building blocks of matter, such as atoms and cells, to the massive celestial bodies, there is meticulous order that characterises all of Creation.

This order testifies to the existence of a will that governs the universe - the will of the Creator. The staggering sophistication and order of the universe is clear proof there is a Creator. If there is order there must be a being who establishes that order.

Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe points out that the same is true in this world. If we see someone who is organised, we know that person must have a strong desire motivating that order. Likewise, in business, order in an organisation usually comes from the management implementing efficiency from the top down.

The same applies to our spiritual development. We need to have an orderly, organised approach. The starting point is a strong determination to improve ourselves and grow. The next step is the implementation of a framework with thought and wisdom.

There are two basic components in creating this framework. What goal am I aiming to achieve in life? What can I do to reach this objective? Serious thought must be put in to answer these two questions clearly and truthfully, and the answer should form a basic vision of how to structure our days and live our lives.

As Jews we are blessed to have been given the Torah. G-d answers the first question for us.

We were sent to this world to rise above our mundane physical existence and connect to the transcendent essence of our souls. We do this by fulfilling the commandments of the Creator - the mitzvot. Once we have the goal clear, it up to us to create an organised programme in our daily lives to implement these objectives in a practical way.

This goal is the destination in our spiritual GPS. Even if we sometimes veer off course and the route changes, we still have the ability to recalculate and adjust, eventually reaching our destination. 


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