Human Nature: A Torah Perspective

Our parashah ends on a somber and dreary note, as the Almighty is allegorically saddened to His core, and regrets having created Homo Sapiens. Why? Because “Man’s inclination is evil from his youth.”

The Torah, unlike some other philosophies, does not believe that we are all inherently altruistic and compassionate by our very nature. The Torah is right. Suffice it to see how soldiers loot and violate in every war, when they think that nobody is watching or supervising them. Suffice it to remember the mayhem and chaos which often-times ensues in the aftermath of natural disasters, as was the case in New Orleans for example, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Our sages teach, in the name of the Almighty: “I have created the evil inclination, but I also created the Torah as a remedy.”
The raison d’etre of the Torah, which we recommence reading this Shabbat, is to create persons endowed with integrity, character, compassion, profound spirituality and respect for all of being. The entire purpose of the mitzvoth system, teaches the midrash, is “to refine the soul.”

Left to our own devices, we humans would wreak havoc upon ourselves and the entire planet. Such is the purpose of Torah therefore; To cultivate a conscience, to transcend our physical urges, to grow in soul, and to build true lasting bonds of intimacy and love with fellow human beings.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Sessler

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