I don't want to brag, but I must publicly acknowledge God's gifts: I have been mightily endowed with the art of self-justification. I can already hear you asking why it took fifty years to figure this out. Please believe me; I can justify it!
I received a well-deserved powerful slap this week and I am in awe of my ability to still justify my behavior. The issue is quite disturbing: G-D gives us a gift to have our intellect and we can turn it around for self serving purposes. As usual, we deal with the duality of things. There is no absolute, just our ability to take what we have and directed towards good. In this case, use our intellect and turn it into self accountability (AKA responsibility) as opposed to self justification.
L.F. of Santa Monica gently pointed out to me that I opened a Pandora's Box in last week's What is the Reason, and missed an opportunity to address Bechira - Free Choice. Well, if Mr. F. could have heard the hundreds of reasons why I didn't answer his questions in the essay, he would understand.
Self-justification aside, Mr. F's questions are raised and answered in this week's What is the Reason
. We have an opportunity to mull the terrible effects of Israel's skill at self-justification in the transcript The Foundation Stone found of a News Report
from the battlefields of ancient Egypt. The Music of Halacha
reminds us challenge of using our intellect for its original purpose in The Piano, The Horse and The Pool. Rabbi Irwin Katsof, in Words Can Heal
, reminds us not to practice justification skills too much when it comes to speech.
So we encourage you to take upon this challenge as the assignment for the week. To use the gift of our intellect and redirect the energy we use for self justification into self accountability!
Rabbi Simcha L. Weinberg
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