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Parshat Mishpatim: Unlocking Our Complexities

We would all like to believe that we could be intellectually honest.

Even when we make judgments about things in which we have a personal interest.

But would you trust another person’s judgment when there is a conflict of interest?

We are all highly complex creatures.

Our most distinguishable feature as a human being, is our intelligence.

Yet, at the same time, we all possess powerful impulses.

The mystics introduce a third dimension of existence, the G-dly soul.

Although it would be useless trying to define its identity, one can attempt to describe some of its features.

To explain this more clearly, let’s use the various contrasting domains that the human being is comprised of.

Our most basic human instinct is self-preservation.

This is our natural default position, and it will seek to manipulate all endeavors to that ends.

Beyond this biological domain, the human was endowed with intelligence.

It is this faculty which enables man to ascertain whether something is true or false, in an objective way.

But then there is our core identity.

It is the part within us that defines our humanity, precisely because it remains transcendent.

It is the seat of our conscience. It constantly seeks to fulfil a purpose, one greater than itself.

Whilst our intelligence allows us to determine what is true and false, it is our soul which provides a sense of right and wrong.

This is why the story of the Jewish people begins with revelation at Mount Sinai.

Because it is only when we are anchored in a transcendent force, that we are guaranteed a healthy and sustainable way of life, for all mankind.


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