Seen on the web: “I can resist anything … except temptation”

Can a person be trained to resist temptation?

While designing role playing games more suited to kindergarten than marriage therapy, the scientists finally concluded:  “…your commitment may depend on how much a partner enhances your life and broadens your horizons.”

In other words, “If you don’t satisfy me, honey, I’m out of here!”

It astounds me that in this study of betrayal in marriage, not even once do words like wrong or evil appear.  Needless to say, neither do the words sin or God.

The character Ivan Karamazov in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov seems to decide that God doesn’t exist and that therefore, logically, nothing can be judged as wrong or immoral.  Those researchers at their universities would agree.

However, the Torah does not.  A marriage is not just a contract between two parties.  It is a holy covenant between three entities: man, woman, and God.

One spouse might believe that an extra-marital fling will complete his or her life while the other spouse is convinced that such a fling is destructive. Who is to say which belief is more compelling?  But there is one more party to the marriage—God!  And He is pretty unambiguous about it.

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Submitted by Doria2

I Don’t Believe in Gravity!

 

I Don’t Believe in Gravity!

by Rabbi Daniel Lapin

Don’t you agree that gravity is a nuisance? Think of the dropped items that wouldn’t break, and of the tumbles we would never take, if only Sir Isaac Newton, the 17th century British scientist who stated the Law of Gravity, had never been born. Life would be so much better without gravity, right?

 

Wrong.

Does anyone really think that until Newton stated the Law of Gravity, Englishman were free to float around above the countryside like untethered children’s balloons?

Of course not. Newton described gravity; he didn’t invent it. Gravity was never optional. Through Newton we understood it. There are spiritual laws of reality, as well, that are not optional. Those of us who believe that the good Lord created us regard Him as the expert in human nature. Therefore the instruction book He gave us, the Bible, is filled with guidance that matches our inborn natures.

For instance, when the Good Book labels promiscuity as a sin, believers understand that God is not merely indicating His displeasure at this behavior. Just as importantly, He is assuring us that it runs counter to our human needs. Promiscuity violates the spiritual laws of reality and causes just as much damage as diving out of a 20th floor window.

Consider taxation, whose first Biblical mention appears in Genesis 41.

Bewildered by his disturbing dreams, Pharaoh unsuccessfully seeks explanations from his courtiers. Finally his butler remembers the dream interpreting Joseph, who has been unjustly imprisoned for alleged sexual harassment. Joseph interprets the king’s dreams to be God’s forewarning of seven years of plenty to be followed by seven years of famine.

In verse 34 Joseph recommends applying a tax upon the Egyptian economy during the good years. “Let Pharaoh appoint officers over the land and collect up a fifth part during the seven years of plenty.” He very specifically suggests a figure of one fifth -or 20%-as the total tax on the country’s gross domestic product. Although he was an outsider to Pharaoh’s court, an alien jailbird, his counsel was acceptable not only to Pharaoh, but even more surprisingly:

“…the thing was good in the eyes of all his (Pharaoh’s) servants” (verse 37).

That a Jewish outsider’s recommendation to tax an entire country should please the monarch stretches credibility. That his subjects also found the recommendation pleasing can mean only one thing: Joseph was not imposing a new tax; he was reducing an existing one.

The tax rate they were all paying according to ancient Jewish wisdom was considerably higher than Joseph’s twenty percent. Being allowed to retain eighty percent of the fruits of their labors threw them into work with renewed energy. This tax reduction invigorated the Egyptians and, as one would expect, their economy thrived. Verse 47 confirms that”the earth brought forth by heaps.”

Most everyone accepts the need for some taxation. But when rates exceed certain limits, even law-abiding folks rebel by whatever means they can. This is no stain on their characters. They are responding to human nature. On tax rates, as on so many other issues, the Torah does not proscribe as much as it describes. It tells us about the immutable laws of human affairs.

Similarly when the Book of Numbers, 36:8 insists:
“the children of Israel shall enjoy, each man, the inheritance of his fathers,”

it is also telling us something of enduring importance: how to link consecutive generations.

Societies build healthy economies over time when citizens continue building upon the foundations constructed by their parents. People will labor and create tirelessly if they know that in so doing, they are bettering the lives of their children and their grandchildren. Men and women legitimately seek immortality through their children, which is why the Bible devotes so much space to the complexities of inheritance law.
When deciding whether to walk down a few flights of stairs or whether to take the quick route out the window, it helps to accept gravity as a fact.

When deciding rates of taxation, whether to live promiscuously, or whether a deceased parent’s wealth should belong to society or to his children, it is just as helpful to accept the Bible’s laws of human nature as fact.

Submitted by Doria2