Letters May 2007
God’s Will I
Aurora: You said that you are not allowed to retain ill feelings, but this is not always easy. And as you said, thoughts are sometimes difficult to control. But how could we be capable of controlling an ill feeling when it comes to our mind? I don’t think it can be imposed. I would say that we are less prone to retain ill feelings, in proportion to the level of perfection we achieve…but I see it just as a consequence.
Mesora: You are correct: we cannot control ill feelings, and for these feelings, we are not judged as sinners, since we cannot avoid certain thoughts. But what we must control is how we “act” upon them. For example, it is proper that we recognize the verbal abuse of another as inconsequential...than merely suppressing harbored feelings of hatred. In the former, we no longer value the words of our abuser; in the latter, we still attribute value to inconsequential statements...statements that have no affect or impact on our internal values.
The best route is to realize that the words of others have no value before God, and to further accept that all which matters, is our own perfection: the words of others plays no role in what God values.
If in our lives, God is our concern, then we will seek only His values. However, if we are insecure, living life for human accolades, we will then yearn for social approval, and we will be disturbed at the mocking of others. This latter lifestyle is truly an empty pursuit, for why shall we value human words, over God’s approval?
God’s Will II
Omphile: Just recently
down here in my country, some thieves decided to steal someone’s cow. Nothing
new, except that they decided that killing and then skinning the cow would take
too long, so they just cut
off one of the cow’s legs and left the cow, no doubt in unimaginable pain. The cow had to be killed to end its misery when the owner found out. This crime immediately reminded me of one of the 7 Noachide laws: the
prohibition to “Eat the limb of an animal in its lifetime”. When I first saw that mitzvah, I asked myself, “Who would ever do that?”. Now I know better.
Still on that mitzvah, since I understand it’s really a HEADING as opposed to one commandment like one of the 613, what are the subheadings under “Eating the limb”?
Mesora: Subheadings will be animal castration, since both - taking the limb and castration - are distortions of God’s designation of a living animal. God meant living animals to procreate their species. And by relating to the live animal as food (taking the limb) or by castration...we do not view the animal, as is God’s will...that it should procreate. We are, instead, viewing the animal as “we” desire: either as food, or as a species member that we can terminate. True, once dead, animals are now categorized as food, as they no longer can procreate. But while yet alive, they must be treated as God desired...fit to procreate. It is therefore perfectly appropriate that one of God’s 7 Noachide commands must be the “Acceptance of His will”, demonstrated in this law.