Judaism vs. Other Philosophies

Moshe Ben-Chaim

I just saw a friend quote Buddha: "Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."

In contrast, Judaism does more than itemize truths; it offers insight, like: "anger equates to idolatry."  This forces the Torah student to ponder why this is so. And it also offers pathways away from the danger and the destructive quality, like idolatry's fantasy existence. Anger too attempts to reconstruct reality to please our fantasies; we express anger when unwilling to accept a disturbing reality. 

Koheles - read this Shabbos - presents numerous quotes of the foolish masses. Some readers think the words are King Solomon's actual convictions. Ibn Ezra, and reason, say this is not so. King Solomon merely verbalized fallacies, like "a live dog is better than a dead lion," in order that the masses would come out of the closet and admit they too have this feeling. Then, King Solomon rejects such foolish attachments to life, as if all is assessed for its value based solely in the range of Earthly existence. Again, "the righteous and the wicked have one end." As if death ends our souls. The King's approach is very effective in getting others to admit to their cherished beliefs, in order that they might be dealt with, and unveiled as falsehood.

Torah Judaism s God's wisdom; not man's. Buddha might arrive at isolated truths, while Torah penetrates to the core of each issue, presenting the studious mind with ample opportunities to come to the end of the matter, seeing all facets, problems and solutions.