Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Buddhism, Secularism, and Socialism

 

Two weeks ago, I decided it was time to give away the meditation mats and cushions that I had originally purchased for the meditation group I led. (As many of you know, I practiced Buddhism for over 20 years, and broke with my teacher several years ago. I also re-discovered my love for Judaism, and that is where I find myself now.)

I remembered that there was a Zen center about an hour away from here, and wrote them an email, asking if they would like my cushions and mats. They were delighted. When the representative came to pick them up, he asked if I knew a fellow at their center. As it happens, this fellow, a very nice man, had practiced at the same center in San Diego where I had practiced. We’ve agreed to have a phone conversation.

In the meantime, that contact stirred up many painful memories about my former teacher and my relationship with her. The teacher/student relationship is an intimate one, and we had known each other for many years. Unfortunately, the deeper I explored my practice and pursued my path to becoming a teacher, the more toxic the relationship became. Ultimately her demands were more than I was willing to meet, and I ended it.

It occurred to me, as I was re-visiting my relationship with her, that Zen Buddhism has a built-in potential for violating boundaries. Students are encouraged to use good judgment when choosing teachers, and for a long time, I thought I had. A teacher is meant to assist a student in breaking through (not eliminating) the ego, so that the student may experience the oneness of the universe that is always present. The danger is that breaking through the ego does not mean destroying it. I was certain that my teacher was using her power to do just that. I left when I knew she had gone too far, intellectually, spiritually and emotionally.

* * *

The abuse of power by spiritual leaders and teachers is not unique to Buddhism. Every religion has stories of leaders manipulating their followers; the potential is built into the system. We try to train these leaders to behave appropriately. Sometimes, however, their desire for power and ego satisfaction override good judgment and compassion for the student. A noteworthy issue with Buddhism is that G-d is not included. As a Jew, I always believed in G-d, but He was not directly included with my Buddhist practice; a built-in issue was that if there is no superior power to guide and judge teachers, they become the ultimate power. These conditions make relationships ripe for violating interpersonal boundaries.

Before I found my way back to Judaism, I still identified with the Zen community. I began to realize, however, that the organization had publicly taken a far-Left political position on nearly every major issue. That clinched the deal: I broke with Zen completely. For the record, I believe that no religious community should take political positions

* * *

But religion is not the only practice where boundary violations can occur. The same problem exists in secularism. (Yes, Buddhism could be called a secular religion or philosophy.) Once again, when there are no overriding beliefs, rules, and commitment to a higher power, every secular human being has the potential to try to control others. Violating the boundaries of others becomes secondary to using power to accomplish what a secularist might believe is the “greater good.” Given these beliefs, secularists often see religion (and therefore G-d) as a threat. So secularists violating the boundaries of religious believers is not an issue for them; their use of power is of prime importance.

Finally, the term “socialism” is on the radar of America. No one can agree with what that term means, which is a problem in itself. The lack of an agreed-upon definition allows the promoters of socialism to call it whatever they wish. Generally, socialism requires (whether people admit it or not) government control of the means of production. That means that private ownership is in conflict with the goals of socialism. In addition, personal freedom, free speech, free thinking, congregating outside of government-mandated meetings is contrary to the goals of socialism. As a result, our personal boundaries will be threatening to socialism and will need to be eliminated.

* * *

I have brought up Zen Buddhism (as representative of my experience with a potential abuse of power and boundary violation), secularism (which denigrates any religious institution which elevates anyone or anything above the individual), and socialism (which paradoxically denigrates the rights of the individual and extols whatever serves the state), because they are all potential threats to our ability to manage our boundaries and therefore manage our lives. I have experienced the threat first-hand. I now know and believe there is only one way which I will allow my personal boundaries to be vulnerable.

And for me, He is always present.

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There are 72 comments.

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  1. Kevin Schulte Member

    Susan Quinn:

    For the record, I believe that no religious community should take political positions

     

    I respect that. However, I will use an extreme and a not so extreme example. How do you feel the church should have dealt with the rise of Hitler and Nazism ? Would it not of required a political stance ? And then what is the church’s and synagogues roll in the abortion debate ?

    • #1
    • June 23, 2019, at 8:28 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    For the record, I believe that no religious community should take political positions

     

    I respect that. However, I will use an extreme and a not so extreme example. How do you feel the church should have dealt with the rise of Hitler and Nazism ? Would it not of required a political stance ? And then what is the church’s and synagogues roll in the abortion debate ?

    @kevinschulte, you bring up excellent points. Regarding Nazism, I think that if the churches acknowledged that Hitler was going to exterminate an entire population (which he promised to do in his writing), they probably should have acted, but I don’t think they could have done this publicly; they would have been shut down, if not exterminated themselves. They would have had to take actions underground. Regarding abortion, I’ll need to think about that. Perhaps with issues of life and death, they should speak out; people who don’t want to hear pro-life sermons can go somewhere else. But with issues like climate change, fracking, transgender issues–I don’t think the churches should be giving Sunday lectures; I’d include services in synagogues where they include sermons. But I’ll think about this more.

    • #2
    • June 23, 2019, at 8:51 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  3. Vectorman Thatcher

    Great post Susan!

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Regarding abortion, I’ll need to think about that. Perhaps with issues of life and death, they should speak out; people who don’t want to hear pro-life sermons can go somewhere else.

    I would still include a religious basis for the proverbial “widows and orphans” and other social issues. Charity should be done on a volunteer basis rather than a government mandate.

    • #3
    • June 23, 2019, at 9:04 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    Great post Susan!

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Regarding abortion, I’ll need to think about that. Perhaps with issues of life and death, they should speak out; people who don’t want to hear pro-life sermons can go somewhere else.

    I would still include a religious basis for the proverbial “widows and orphans” and other social issues. Charity should be done on a volunteer basis rather than a government mandate.

    I think those things we are called to do specifically by our faiths are very important, and should be spoken about from the pulpit. Very good point, @vectorman.

    • #4
    • June 23, 2019, at 9:06 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  5. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    I think the denial of God leads people into putting themselves into God’s place. It is the original sin. 

    I would think the Buddha would say that is mistake to do, but I wager it happens anyway. 

    • #5
    • June 23, 2019, at 9:19 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I think the denial of God leads people into putting themselves into God’s place. It is the original sin.

    I would think the Buddha would say that is mistake to do, but I wager it happens anyway.

    I forgot to mention that the Buddha’s values were conservative!!! The distortion of his beliefs and values are awful. Thanks for bring that up, @bryangstephens!

    • #6
    • June 23, 2019, at 9:20 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  7. MarciN Member

    I was sitting through a long town meeting one year, listening to the impassioned debate on whether the town would continue to pay for ambulance service through our general tax fund or start billing health insurance companies and individuals for it. Although I voted against it because the fire chief made such a compelling case to have the town continue to pay for it out of our general fund–he didn’t want to see people hesitating to call for an ambulance nor did he want to see people in the throes of a heart attack driving themselves to the hospital–the town meeting members voted for it anyway. It occurred to me that night that government is always about matters of life and death, which means that our religious beliefs will always affect our political decision-making.

    • #7
    • June 23, 2019, at 9:51 AM PST
    • 13 likes
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    MarciN (View Comment):
    It occurred to me that night that government is always about matters of life and death, which means that our religious beliefs will always affect our political decision-making.

    Certainly government was a factor for your town, @marci. But I’m not sure that is always the case.

    • #8
    • June 23, 2019, at 10:03 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. Rodin Member

    As an agnostic I believe that the mono-theistic G-d is, if not real, an incredibly wonderful invention. It puts us under an overarching “governance” that is superior to any human institution, thus freeing us to see ourselves as having agency in our own right.

    Sadly, organized religion has in its own modifier a mediating role between G-d and man. That role starts to strip away personal agency. The more “organized” the religion the more likely it is to make common cause with human institutions whenever their goals can be made congruent. Organized religion is not inherently antagonistic to collective governing structures.

    In the example of the Nazis, it wasn’t that structurally the Church and Nazism where incompatible, it was that the aims and objectives were incompatible. The lack of structural incompatibility always delays the alert and alarm when conflict is approaching.

    For conservatives seeking a spiritual home it is important to assess how much agency a particular religion is denying as a requirement for being member in good standing. The more agency it seeks to deny, the more likely it is to make common cause with collective movements whenever an advantage is perceived.

     

     

    • #9
    • June 23, 2019, at 10:30 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Rodin (View Comment):
    Sadly, organized religion has in its own modifier a mediating role between G-d and man. That role starts to strip away personal agency. The more “organized” the religion the more likely it is to make common cause with human institutions whenever their goals can be made congruent. Organized religion is not inherently antagonistic to collective governing structures.

    So true, @rodin. I think that although Judaism is an organized religion, I have not joined a Jewish community. It would be difficult to nail down the specific reasons, although in part, there may not be a community that is congruent with my own selective practice. That might be an excuse, but that’s where I am. I fill my community needs in other ways.

    • #10
    • June 23, 2019, at 10:46 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Rodin (View Comment):
    As an agnostic I believe that the mono-theistic G-d is, if not real, an incredibly wonderful invention. It puts us under an overarching “governance” that is superior to any human institution, thus freeing us to see ourselves as having agency in our own right.

    @rodin, I’ve been mulling over your statement here, and I’m not sure I understand it. I’d love for you to elaborate, particularly on the part I put in bold.

    • #11
    • June 23, 2019, at 10:51 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  12. Henry Castaigne Member

    Susan Quinn: For the record, I believe that no religious community should take political positions

    I’m thinking about Martin Luther King and the SCLC. I totally agree with you that in a Church politics should be secondary to religion. I even think that Churches shouldn’t have the American flag because they should be focused on Jesus or meditation all the time. But sometimes Churches need to end segregation. 

    • #12
    • June 23, 2019, at 11:44 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  13. Henry Castaigne Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I think the denial of God leads people into putting themselves into God’s place. It is the original sin.

    I would think the Buddha would say that is mistake to do, but I wager it happens anyway.

    I forgot to mention that the Buddha’s values were conservative!!! The distortion of his beliefs and values are awful. Thanks for bring that up, @bryangstephens!

    Was Buddha really a conservative. I always thought he seemed kinda apolitical. 

    • #13
    • June 23, 2019, at 11:47 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    But sometimes Churches need to end segregation. 

    I’m not clear on what this means, @henrycastaigne.

    • #14
    • June 23, 2019, at 11:59 AM PST
    • 1 like
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    Was Buddha really a conservative. I always thought he seemed kinda apolitical. 

    You’re correct. But the left has taken what he said and turned it on its head. The Buddha, for example, talked about following the Middle Way, which was a moderate path–that doesn’t fit the Left. Also, the Four Noble Truths talked about the source of individual suffering: ourselves. No victimization for him. And he said we could all do something about our suffering–it was up to us. He pointed to the Middle Way, but since Buddhism per se didn’t exist when he said it, I would point to the path of moderation, again.

    • #15
    • June 23, 2019, at 12:02 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  16. Henry Castaigne Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    But sometimes Churches need to end segregation.

    I’m not clear on what this means, @henrycastaigne.

    I am referring to the Civil Rights movement which emerged out of Black Churches primarily in the American South. Black Churches were the place where funds were collected for Civil Rights lawsuits and were people organized what marches to march and so on. The biggest organization that helped end segregation was the SCLC which stands for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The Catholic Church also provided assistance. Jews also participated in the various marches and helped fund the efforts of the SLCL but I don’t know if they were lefty atheist Jews or religious Jews. 

    I feel very bad that Andrew Klavan and yourself have to leave their religious organizations because of incessant woke nonsense but I rather like it when Churches move Heaven and Earth (or rather, move Earth because of Heaven) to end slavery, segregation and Female Genital Mutilation. I am not entirely sure where to draw the line but I’m worried that completely separating religion from politics might make politicians forget the infinite sanctity of the individual. 

    • #16
    • June 23, 2019, at 12:15 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    I feel very bad that Andrew Klavan and yourself have to leave their religious organizations because of incessant woke nonsense but I rather like it when Churches move Heaven and Earth (or rather, move Earth because of Heaven) to end slavery, segregation and Female Genital Mutilation. I am not entirely sure where to draw the line but I’m worried that completely separating religion from politics might make politicians forget the infinite sanctity of the individual. 

    Maybe I haven’t been clear, Henry. I left Judaism but unlike Andrew Klavan, I’ve returned and am more invested in it than ever. I said, however, that I’m not a member of a Jewish synagogue, but I have a regular home practice. And I don’t think that churches should preach politics from the pulpit. I don’t think it helps conservatives at all. And for those Christians who practice in liberal Christian churches and get an earful, many of them don’t recognize the sanctity of the fetus at all, since their churches are often promoting a pro-choice agenda. You’ve sort of made my point.

    • #17
    • June 23, 2019, at 12:38 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. Western Chauvinist Member

    Susan Quinn: Given these beliefs, secularists often see religion (and therefore G-d) as a threat. So secularists violating the boundaries of religious believers is not an issue for them; their use of power is of prime importance.

    Which is precisely why the Catholic Church has been the primary target of leftist movements and, it appears, has now been infiltrated by leftists all the way up the hierarchy — She claims authority over faith and morals. Radical individualist, secular, atheist, progressive, socialist, communist ideologies cannot allow such authority to stand. It is the main obstacle to their Utopian goals, and they know it.

    I think politics and religion are inseparable, both because of the question of authority (who says?) and because they’re based on fundamental values. Is it liberty or security you value first? What is the good life and what role does government play in it — securing one’s natural rights or finding positive rights to which you’re entitled in the emanations and penumbra?

    Our more conservative priests are finally beginning to address political issues which are underlain by our religious beliefs about the sanctity of human life and the family. They do it without mentioning specific candidates or parties (gotta protect that tax status!), but they’re getting back to fundamentals. I appreciate it and I admire their courage.

    • #18
    • June 23, 2019, at 1:19 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  19. Henry Castaigne Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: Given these beliefs, secularists often see religion (and therefore G-d) as a threat. So secularists violating the boundaries of religious believers is not an issue for them; their use of power is of prime importance.

    Which is precisely why the Catholic Church has been the primary target of leftist movements and, it appears, has now been infiltrated by leftists all the way up the hierarchy — She claims authority over faith and morals. Radical individualist, secular, atheist, progressive, socialist, communist ideologies cannot allow such authority to stand. It is the main obstacle to their Utopian goals, and they know it.

    I think politics and religion are inseparable, both because of the question of authority (who says?) and because they’re based on fundamental values. Is it liberty or security you value first? What is the good life and what role does government play in it — securing one’s natural rights or finding positive rights to which you’re entitled in the emanations and penumbra?

    Our more conservative priests are finally beginning to address political issues which are underlain by our religious beliefs about the sanctity of human life and the family. They do it without mentioning specific candidates or parties (gotta protect that tax status!), but they’re getting back to fundamentals. I appreciate it and I admire their courage.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcM4rdGWZKA

    • #19
    • June 23, 2019, at 1:38 PM PST
    • Like
  20. Rodin Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):
    As an agnostic I believe that the mono-theistic G-d is, if not real, an incredibly wonderful invention. It puts us under an overarching “governance” that is superior to any human institution, thus freeing us to see ourselves as having agency in our own right.

    @rodin, I’ve been mulling over your statement here, and I’m not sure I understand it. I’d love for you to elaborate, particularly on the part I put in bold.

    If we recognize an authority above all temporal authority, then that loosens the hold on us of any temporal authority. We attempt to comply with the demands of G-d as we understand them, but having something that takes precedence over all other demands frees us from those lesser demands. We are more autonomous, subject only to the judgements of our G-d, and care less and act less in a sense of obedience solely to temporal authority.

    • #20
    • June 23, 2019, at 4:23 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. HeavyWater Coolidge

    The main reason why I left the Presbyterian Church in 2017 was because the pastor’s husband, in my view, attempted to claim divine authority for his left of center political views.

    It’s one thing to have a political disagreement with another human being. But it’s quite another to have a political disagreement with someone who thinks his or her political opinion is God’s opinion.

    I think many of the ideas that were attributed to Jesus, accurately or inaccurately, in the Gospels are impractical and that’s why so many Christians say, “You need to put those words into the proper context.” But then there is a battle over what this or that passage in the Bible “really means.”

    Then there’s the problem of just checking our brains at the door of a church or while reading the Bible. I don’t believe that God actually exists. But the God that is depicted in the Bible isn’t a being that I want to follow any more than I want to follow a mass murderer in order to get on his good side.

    As an atheist, I do see that the non-religious community is vulnerable to the same sort of groupthink to which religious people are vulnerable.

    Once a bad idea is introduced, whether it’s the non-religious idea that all discrimination is bad or the religious idea that human beings are bad without God, the destructive concept of “original sin,” (and a religious leader will tell you what God requires for you to be regenerated from total depravity) it’s just a question of how consistently we will implement this bad idea.

    We can’t outsource our responsibilities to reason and evaluate ideas to religious leaders or secular leaders. We can only listen to the arguments, pro and con, and then decide what tentative conclusion we will reach.

    • #21
    • June 23, 2019, at 4:26 PM PST
    • 1 like
  22. Skyler Coolidge

    Susan Quinn: Once again, when there are no overriding beliefs, rules, and commitment to a higher power, every secular human being has the potential to try to control others.

    Susan Quinn: Every religion has stories of leaders manipulating their followers; the potential is built into the system.

    I’m trying to reconcile these two statements. It would seem to me that what you are saying, and I agree with, is that humans tend towards wanting power over others, regardless of religion or lack of religion.

    Those who seek power will almost always have an upper hand over those who wish to live and let live. The live and let live crowd are either religious or anti-religious, and will tend towards being victims of those who seek to control because when you don’t want to control others you tend not to be on guard for the ones trying to control others.

    • #22
    • June 23, 2019, at 4:50 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  23. E. Kent Golding Member

    I am both a theologically conservative Christian and a politically conservative republican. My faith informs my politics. However, I think the organized Church has let itself be used by conservative republicans ( and sometimes by progressives ) , which has somewhat helped the republicans but has truly damaged the witness and reputation of the Church. I think the Church needs to preach the Gospel clearly, and let the people in the pews reason from the Gospel to their own political conclusions. Faith is upstream of Culture, and Culture is upstream of politics. A faithful people are easy to govern well.

     

    • #23
    • June 23, 2019, at 4:59 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  24. Skyler Coolidge

    Rodin (View Comment):
    Sadly, organized religion has in its own modifier a mediating role between G-d and man.

    I would say this is not in the least limited to “organized” religion. I’ve seen very small groups of christians (my wife is a christian) who think that they should dictate to their fellows what to do and not do on every occasion. At one point, one group started telling my wife what foods she could eat, whether she could stay married to me (I’m an atheist) and some very disturbing behaviors that I would say are not very consistent with most main stream christian beliefs. The key was that even though the group was never larger than 20 or so, one man in the group declared himself the leader and sought to control the others in everything they did. (And it didn’t take too long for my wife to quit them, though she lost some friends in the process.)

    But I want to emphasize that this type of attempt to gain absolute control over others is a prime driver for many people. Sometimes they use religion, sometimes they use marxist/communism/progressivism (which is indistinguishable in many ways from religion), and sometimes they use the Uniform Code of Military Justice. People will control others simply because they want to control others and because they can. People are sneaky, or opportunistic, in how they gain control over others.

     

    • #24
    • June 23, 2019, at 5:02 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  25. Skyler Coolidge

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):
    A faithful people are easy to govern well.

    And this is a state of affairs that should be feared.

    • #25
    • June 23, 2019, at 5:03 PM PST
    • Like
  26. E. Kent Golding Member

    Skyler (View Comment):

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):
    A faithful people are easy to govern well.

    And this is a state of affairs that should be feared.

    Why? Governing well tends to be libertarian. The U.S. Constitution assumed a virtuous people who could easily be governed well.

    A faithful people are difficult to govern poorly — hence Catholic Poland’s revolt against communism.

    • #26
    • June 23, 2019, at 5:36 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):
    Sadly, organized religion has in its own modifier a mediating role between G-d and man.

    I would say this is not in the least limited to “organized” religion. I’ve seen very small groups of christians (my wife is a christian) who think that they should dictate to their fellows what to do and not do on every occasion. At one point, one group started telling my wife what foods she could eat, whether she could stay married to me (I’m an atheist) and some very disturbing behaviors that I would say are not very consistent with most main stream christian beliefs. The key was that even though the group was never larger than 20 or so, one man in the group declared himself the leader and sought to control the others in everything they did. (And it didn’t take too long for my wife to quit them, though she lost some friends in the process.)

    But I want to emphasize that this type of attempt to gain absolute control over others is a prime driver for many people. Sometimes they use religion, sometimes they use marxist/communism/progressivism (which is indistinguishable in many ways from religion), and sometimes they use the Uniform Code of Military Justice. People will control others simply because they want to control others and because they can. People are sneaky, or opportunistic, in how they gain control over others.

     

    Organized is organized. A group doesn’t have to be under some major sect. People must be attentive to those groups they affiliate with. Exercising one’s free choice and intelligence is key. (I think we agree. 

    • #27
    • June 23, 2019, at 5:45 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  28. Skyler Coolidge

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):
    A faithful people are easy to govern well.

    And this is a state of affairs that should be feared.

    Why? Governing well tends to be libertarian. The U.S. Constitution assumed a virtuous people who could easily be governed well.

    A faithful people are difficult to govern poorly — hence Catholic Poland’s revolt against communism.

    I don’t consider being “governed” to be a good thing. I am a free man. 

    • #28
    • June 23, 2019, at 6:47 PM PST
    • 1 like
  29. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Coolidge

    Shalom Susan,

    This story may be of interest to you.

    Be well,

    YBE

    • #29
    • June 23, 2019, at 9:45 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  30. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Coolidge

    True leaders are humble and seek to control no one. Moses, the only human being who spoke to G-d “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Exodus 33:11), is described as the “the humblest person on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Moses’ mission was to make us understand that only G-d has ultimate control over everything in the universe, including us. When Moses recaps what happened at Mount Sinai when the Torah was given (Deuteronomy 5:5), he says “I stood between the Lord and you.” The Rebbe from Kotzk saw in this verse an answer to non-believers. It is the ego (“I”) which stands between you and G-d.

    It is fair to wonder how the only person who spoke to G-d face to face could also be the most humble person on earth. Humility, the Chasidim explain, is self-nullification before G-d. An analogy to Moses (found in Netivot Shalom, a Chasidic work) would be a barrel of water. As long as that barrel of water stands on its own, it has value. However, when the water in the barrel is poured into the ocean, the value of the water in the barrel is completely nullified. Even if a million barrels of water were poured into the ocean, the value of the water in those barrels would now be nil compared to the water in the sea. This is what Moses understood. G-d is the sea and when we allow ourselves to be poured into that sea, we are completely united with Him, as close to Him as it is possible to be, completely merged with Him, yet nothing compared to Him.

    • #30
    • June 23, 2019, at 9:55 PM PST
    • 6 likes
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