Divrei Torah

The Divrei Torah in this section have been translated by Rav Reuven Ungar, Director of Alumni Affairs

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Da Ma LeHashiv- Democratic Values- Part I

By: Rav Moshe Ganz

We are not dealing with Democracy as a form of government- the rule of the  people. We accept this form of government in the present absence of a  superior type. Rather, we will engage the value system of Democracy. These  values were established during the French Revolution "Freedom, Equality and  Fraternity". As of late, these values have virtually reached idolatrous  levels. It is a mitzvah to shatter them somewhat.

Why do I refer to democratic values as idolatry? By his nature, man is  inclined towards the good. At times he is not ready to act in accordance  with this desire; man frequently falls and stumbles. Yet, a hidden dream is  present-for a good world, to be a good person. This internal desire is the  hope of the world to achieving rectification (tikun).

However, what constitutes good (and bad)? This desire must receive clear  guidelines! Thus, wise men have provided the formula- freedom, equality and  fraternity. If they are achieved, the reasoning follows, we have greatly  advanced. We must educate towards these concepts; abandoning them is  tantamount to desist from living!

This formula does not necessarily facilitate grasping the exalted goal of  goodness. Certain fundamental spiritual issues are not attained by the above  concepts. At times they even conflict with proper relations with fellow  human beings. Certainly freedom, equality and fraternity contain positive  aspects. Elevating them to absolute values is what is improper. Contemporary  society enthusiastically accepts the democratic values-both the positive and  negative aspects.

Nowadays an enlightened individual undergoing self-introspection will not  gage if his actions and direction in life are good. Rather, he examines if  he conducts himself in accordance to "the values of democracy". For this  reason I refer to democracy as idolatry; due to the people who accept it as  an ultimate value (everything else is subservient to it). The worship of  democracy includes high priests- judges, journalists and public figures.  Democracy contains halachot, decrees ("seyag lesayag), and decrees to  decrees. It includes sacrifices; even children are sacrificed on the  democratic molech!

In the upcoming Torahletters we will examine manifestations of the idolatry  of democratic values.


Categorized under: 1: Machshava > General
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