God is Our Keeper
Rivka Olenick
"The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your soul." Psalm 121:7
How can the Lord keep anyone from all evil if a person can choose evil? What is meant by: "He will keep your soul?" What is intended by the word: will? "He will keep" means he doesn't keep now. "Will keep" is dependent on how we should live in order to merit God as our "keeper."
All the evil that God will keep you from is evil that people bring on themselves and each other, since God does not cause evil. "No evil comes down from above." (Bereshis Rabba Chapter I). Most evil is caused by peoples intentions, desires and opinions regarding religious beliefs and stem from ignorance, not wisdom. The greater a person's ignorance the greater the evil one causes to oneself and others. A person who lives a life dedicated to truth removes him/herself from hatred of the self and the hatred of others. Knowledge of God, which is truth, also removes a person from the hatred that instigates war. In order for The Lord to keep you from all evil, one's life has to be directed to and immersed in truth by being involved in the will of God. Each person has to be cognizant of God at all times, and in all activities. Every person has the ability to use their free will and choose truth or the good, rather than ignorance, which produces evil. We all have the ability to live a life that adapts itself to the highest moral standard. As Jews we were chosen to be the nation that exemplifies this moral standard that the rest of the world must observe. Being kept from all evil is that through our actions and speech we are to cling to and internalize all possible knowledge of God. As His chosen nation we are to teach the world that truth, which in essence, is God can remove a person entirely from evil. God will keep us from evil when our lives are committed to Torah knowledge and the mitzvoth that He gave us and commanded us in. We will not stray from what is good, which is His will. We will not choose evil, which is the absence of good, the absence of His will. We have the ability to always turn to God for assistance and help. We should not allow ourselves to be dependent on or be afraid of man's powers in the world. It is God that created the entire world, which is subject to His continuous, ongoing rule. Even when we feel estranged from God, we should always remember that He created us to obey His laws. He provides everything that is needed for all His created beings and His creatures, continuously. "The earth is the Lord's" (Exodus 9:29). Our existence and desires are completely subject to and dependent on His rule, not man's rule. As we live our lives we should remember that our soul is His. Meaning, that the knowledge we acquire is His knowledge and He will keep our soul as long as we keep His knowledge. The Rambam says: "The wise and virtuous see and understand the wisdom of God in the world." "All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies." Psalms 25:10.
The definition of "soul" is often misunderstood and thought to be something mystical, it is not. The wisdom or chachma that we acquire for our soul through Torah study is what brings us closer to the understanding of what God wants from us and for us. Ideally, our soul, which is also our intellect manifests itself in obtaining wisdom, and to the best of each person's ability, allows each of us to be involved in our own perfection. When we keep our commitment to the commandment of acquiring knowledge, we will want to do the actions of kindness, justice and charity. This is a natural result of understanding God's laws. This is being involved in one's own perfection and being worthy of God's protection. This is what: "He will keep your soul," means, that each person; through the use of their intellect can search for and obtain the knowledge that is essential for perfection. In Bereshis Rabba: "In one place Scripture says: And all things that are desirable are not to be compared to her (Proverbs 8:2); and in another place, And all things that thou desirest are not to be compared unto her By "things that are desirable" the performance of the Divine precepts and good deeds is to be understood, whilst "things that thou desirest" refer to precious stones and pearls. Both- things that are desirable, and things that thou desirest - cannot be compared to wisdom, but "in this let him that glorieth glory, that he understandeth and knoweth me." The Rambam adds: "God is near to all who call Him, if they call Him in truth, and turn to Him. He is found by everyone who seeks Him, if he always goes towards Him, and never goes astray."

Philosophy | Tnach | New Postings | JewishTimes | Audio Archives | Suggested Reading | Live Classes | Search | Letters | Q&A's | Community Action | Volunteer | Links | Education | Chat | Banners | Classifieds | Advertise | Donate | Donors | About Us | Press | Contacts | Home


Mesora website designed by NYDesign.com
© 2003 Mesora of New York, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Articles may be reprinted without permission.