By Itty Kay
You will not find a more skeptical group of people if you turn the world over. Have you ever tried to sell something to a Jew? The moment we saw G-d on Mount Sinai, we already turned around and said “Yes, but…” and we haven’t stopped questioning. Not for a day.
We are a stiff-necked people, yet he chose us. We whine and complain and take him for granted. We demand and question and ignore his requests. We turn against him. Yet, he chose us and chooses us anew every moment. He wouldn’t have it any other way.
And he is still waiting for each of us to choose him back.
Hashem saw our souls and saw that if we only had the opportunity to choose him freely, we would be able to become one. He created an entire world and all of these distractions so that we can have free choice, and then see beyond it and choose him.
So that Rabbi you trusted went and did something you know is immoral. He stole money, he eats too much, whatever. Are you going to use that as an excuse to be let down? To question everything he taught you? Are you going to use that to condemn his community and his nation?
The fact that he did what he did proves the truth of what he taught you all along; we all have free choice.
We have free choice that is non-negotiable. It does not go away when you learn more, and it does not go away based on the kind of lifestyle you choose. You can learn about G-d so that you can almost see him… and you can still choose to go against him.
Every moment of every day of your life until the day you die you are faced with open options between which you get to choose freely.
No matter what you see, and no matter what you read, no matter what you hear or learn or experience; no matter what anyone around you does, your free choice can never be taken away. Not even if G-d speaks to you himself. Not even if you are a Rabbi.
When I see a teacher or role-model misbehaving, it doesn’t scare me and it doesn’t derail me. It just makes me feel sad. Sad that the person in question is going through a tough spell, but not so sad because I know it is just a step in the learning process.
Yup, I am confident that it is part of a process just like everything is. We are all going through the process of finding the creator and serving him, and a process of learning to get progressively less attached to the superficial layers of reality and less distracted by them.
Sometimes it takes a real interaction with temptation to realize how void it is. The interaction is always temporary, and when you get over it, when you learn the lesson, it weakens the layer of illusion for the whole world. The attachment to illusion gets weakened the world over and G-d is that much easier to find.
So the rabbi you trusted went and did something you know isn’t right. He was caught smuggling drugs or exotic animals, whatever. Are you going to use that as an excuse to be let down? What are you going to do in response? Are you going to grab onto that to attach yourself to illusion too?
We have free choice and life’s tough. We are a skeptical, stiff-necked people and we’ve held onto the thing we know for certain is true for over three thousand years.
On the whole we are getting closer and closer to a time when the bond will be simply too great to ignore anymore. Time is running out. Get with the program while the choice is still yours.