New to Torah?

Many people around the world are turning to the Torah and to the Jewish people.  It is an amazing time to be alive.  There are some issues that must be considered by all of these people if they are to live a happy and productive life.

One of the biggest avenues for this phenomenon has been social media.  It is a great way for people all around the world to connect and learn from each other.  But there is a problem with social media that is causing a huge rift between many people.  Most of these people don’t know each other personally and so they have no real connection with them.  What happens is that they have no problem bashing each other over subjects that should be considered holy.  Consider this, the Torah is holy.  If you enter into conversations with others concerning Torah, those conversations should be seen as having a certain level of holiness.  Your language must be on a higher level than what you use to discuss common subjects.

Lose the Arrogance

A person who is new to Torah might think that they have accomplished some great thing. Truly, they have.  But it is only the beginning of a long journey.  A person who learns Torah for six months can be a very dangerous person on social media.  Yes, they have come a long way in a short time.  That does not give them the right to force their understanding onto others.  There can be up to seventy meanings for the various concepts found in the Torah.  It is not possible to have learned them all in six months or even six years.

Arrogance is a tool of the evil inclination.  As such, it can affect you in ways you do not yet understand.  You might not even know it is happening.  Only a person on a high spiritual level will be able to detect an attack of the evil inclination.  If you are new to Torah, you are not at such a level.  So you must be cautious, especially with your speech.  Harsh speech causes discord.  Discord breeds confusion.  Confusion confounds the soul and will leave you in a place you do not want to be.

One of the biggest problems I see on social media is arguments among those who are new to Torah study.  I have seen people say wicked things to each other while attempting to prove their own interpretations of what the Torah says.  Understand that at the beginning of your study, you should also be going through the process of Teshuvah.  Teshuvah is not something that happens in an instant.  For some, the process can take years.  Those coming out of the church tend to be of the opinion that it actually does happen in an instant.  This is an idea that has stayed with them from the church.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  For more about teshuvah please follow this link .

Part of the teshuvah process has to be to rid oneself of arrogance.  An arrogant person will never find the truth.  They are more concerned with proving their own interpretations than learning.  Learning Torah takes a lifetime.  If you are new, it is time to learn and not to teach.  As you do learn new concepts, it is fine to post what you have learned.  If you are lucky, someone might just give you some insight that you may not have considered.  That is how Torah study works.  It does not work by learning something and beating it into someone’s mind.  Everyone is on their own journey and must discover things when they are able to understand them.  Forcing your own understanding on others is nothing more than arrogance and will never work if your intention is to teach others.  If your intention is to be a jerk, you will succeed.  Here is an article about arrogance.

Are You Doing More Damage than Good

I mentioned earlier that a person who learns Torah for six months can be a very dangerous person on social media.  Let me explain.  When I started down the path of Torah, I spent many hours watching lectures by great Torah teachers.  I learned a lot in a short time.  I became arrogant in my learning.  I got into arguments with people and ultimately saw myself becoming a person I really didn’t like.  I was in several groups where this was common.  When I realized what was happening, I got out of all the groups and stopped posting my opinions on other people’s posts.  Things got better.  This is why I can tell you with certainty that it can happen to you if you are not careful.

Doing damage to yourself is a bad thing and is forbidden in the Torah.  But it is worse to do damage to others.  A person on social media who is constantly arguing with others is doing just that.  How?  Ask yourself if the people with whom you argue have ever come around to your way of thinking.  Don’t fool yourself, the answer will be a resounding no.  Most likely, they will be even more resolved to their own way of thinking because you forced them to defend their position.  Their defense of their position makes perfect sense to them.  They become more resolved that you are wrong and they are right.  If you have done this to a person who is still living in idolatry, you may be liable for their remaining in it.  In your arrogance, you forgot to care for the other person.

If your purpose is to lead others out of idolatry, you must understand that other people learn differently than you do.  Not everyone is able to understand the concepts which you think are simple.  Know this as well, the reverse can also be true.  There are those who have been learning Torah for years.  They know things you have not yet imagined.  If you expect them to be patient with you while you are learning, you must be patient with others.  That which you would not have done to you, do to no one.  You might be pushing people deeper into their idolatry and that would certainly be a shame.

If you are new to Torah learning, which could mean anything up to a few years, be very cautious in how you handle your new knowledge in social situations.  You do not want to be the reason for someone to remain one more day in idolatry.  Take some time and get your arrogance under control.  You can’t beat it into them.  You can only persuade them with love.

Copyright 2018 by:

William Bouker

 

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