Bewitched

A number of years ago I wrote a dvar Torah for Parshat Mishpatim. Please read it.

This is based on that same verse, “Do not allow a witch to live” (Exodus 22:17).

I appreciate that there are all different types of people. Different levels and types of intelligence, personalities and preferences. Even without my own personal experience of this, Chazal (our Sages, of blesses memory) long ago said about us Jews: Each one has his own mind, different from all the others (Berakhot 58a). So I know what I say satisfies some of the people all of the time, and some of the people some of the time, and some people none of the time.

It is very distressing that many people build their faith in Judaism or their practice of Judaism on the flimsy foundation of “magic,” on promises made to them that they will have financial success, marital bliss or health. I’m not talking about guarantees made by charlatans in rabbinic-clothing. I’m talking about blessings and assurances offered by sincere, well-meaning people (basing themselves on who-knows-what). Some go so far as to promise the whole pie, trumpeting that Mashiach is absolutely, definitely and certainly coming by [pick-a-date] or “will come this year, or by the end of next year.” (One well-known rabbi made this claim on his web site—in 2005!)

My point is not to not have emunah (faith)—God forbid! The Torah herself tells us that if we properly observe God’s laws, we will be materially rewarded. And we believe whole-heartedly that today’s the day that Mashiach’s gonna come!

My point is have emunah, but “Do not allow a witch”—magical results, “to live”—to be vital to your Jewishness!

Because a Jewishness and Judaism built on hocus-pocus is bound to fall. To survive—and flourish—one’s Jewishness has to be founded on daat, a combination of emunah and an honest eye, that is greater than the sum of its parts.

May we be worthy to properly follow Rebbe Nachman’s advice and have everything good, in this world and the next. Amen.

(Based on Likutey Moharan I. Lesson #255)

Author: Ozer Bergman

Ozer Bergman is an editor for the Breslov Research Institute, a spiritual coach, and author of Where Earth and Heaven Kiss: A Practical Guide to Rebbe Nachman's Path of Meditation.

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2 Comments

  1. This dvar is very meaningful to me, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the short ones are the most powerful. I still want an answer to the last question I asked you.

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  2. What a great blessing to read this beautiful article. As Hashem lives in each person, event and object that comes to us, why do we crave one thing and not another? Why do we beg for this and not that? This seems to me a reunication of Hashem and the fullness of all that He has created. I have always felt that Judaism teaches us to honor, bless and love all we receive…not to take over and direct Hashem’s wonderful world.

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