Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Decalogue

The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass
In the Decalogue, we find a basic instruction on how to progress.
Given by the Lord, the Decalogue, a central part of the Torah, reflects again the underlying unity of Grace and Law . While it is well known that one tablet deals with the commandments between Man and God, and the second with those between Man and Man, we should also note that the Torah tells us about these two tablets: "on the one side and on the other side were they written". The one side reflects the strict order of law "not to make graven images", "not to kill", "not to steal", etc., while the other side reflects the grace by which the one who has been taken out from the house of bondage is guided by the Lord's spirit so that he "shall not make graven images", "shall not kill", "shall not steal", "shall not covet", etc.
In dealing with both law and grace, the Decalogue provides a clear instruction as to the right path. Grace can never contradict law. Rather, grace is a state of constant awareness of, and guidance by, the Divine presence. This idea is borne out by the very term Matan Torah. This Hebrew phrase does not speak of a one-time giving of the Torah in the distant past. It rather conveys the idea of a permanent giving of the Torah - a gift to be received by each generation anew.
We may now also understand why the Torah stresses that "The Lord is our God". We should not worship the forces of nature, including astrological charts, by considering them as ultimate truths; nor may we worship the gods and goddesses of fertility, nor brute physical force, nor the body as such by presuming that "in a healthy body would - automatically - dwell a healthy spirit", nor should we worship the more modern god of science as the 'ultimo ratio' which can answer all the needs of man.
To be sure, all these things contain some grain of truth. They are there to assist us, provided we have the right attitude. Yet adhering only to them would make them our masters, and we would stay 'undeveloped'. The Divine soul, ,נשמת חיים would remain retarded or wither away, leaving behind human husks in a state comparable to that of animals with some IQ.
Unfortunately, human history has provided ample evidence of this condition. However, the goal of Creation is Man in God's image and likeness, and not the 'animalization' of humans.
Numerous possibilities of development unfold in this process of man-making, This is partly due to free will on the part of Man which can be exercised within the framework of the natural and the spiritual laws governing Creation. Life itself, as well as the message contained in all the chapters following the record of Creation, show these possibilities vividly.
Thus, both the life of Adam and the structure of the Holy Scripture - which is in fact the Book of Man and his world - can be seen as complying with the Divine pattern outlined in the chapters "Meaning of the Triangles", and "Polarities".
The interwovenness of chapters I and II of Genesis and their meanings, i.e., the oneness of the material and spiritual aspects of our human nature, finds perfect expression in our star, whose two triangles may well stand for these two aspects.

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