by Rabbi Label Lam
"Let My Person Grow!"
Let's envision the battle of Moshe and Pharaoh as an internal struggle
within the psycho-system of one person. The struggle to let the Jewish
people escape mirrors the conflict of every man and his huge reservoir of
greatness being oppressed by the Lilliputians of daily minutiae. The
Egyptian culture is our material make-up and the physical world around
us. As Reb Yisrael Salanter said, "A person is a drop of intellect in a
sea of instinct." Moshe's job, should he decide to accept it is to salvage
that drop intellect; the last piece of personal sanity.
The genius of the human personality to remain irrationally addicted to the
status quo in the face of clear evidence is manifest profoundly in the
conflict. Each time Moshe calls another successful shot, Pharaoh and his
wise men find some other loophole, no matter how minuscule, to escape. He
holds his nation on a path of self-destruction but not to admit or
submit. The music turned louder, the walls built higher, the pace of life
quickens only not to hear the small voice of Moshe, the conscience whispering.
The story is not as old as we think. Consider the words of biologist
Michael Denton; "It is the sheer universality of perfection, the fact that
everywhere we look, to whatever depth we look, we find an elegance and
ingenuity of an absolutely transcending quality which excels in every sense
anything produced by the intelligence of man. Alongside the level of
ingenuity and complexity exhibited by the molecular machinery of life, even
our most advanced artifacts appear clumsy."
Even the words of Charles Darwin betray more than a particle of uncertainty
in these words written only twenty years after publication of his "Origin
of the Species" ; "There is still considerable difference as to the means,
such as how far natural selection has acted or whether there exists some
mysterious innate tendency to perfectibility."
There is the institutional inertia of social thinking and teaching to
contend with as Hoyle described; "Once the whole of humanity becomes
committed to a particular set of concepts, educational continuity makes it
exceedingly hard to change the pattern."
Nobel Prize winning chemist Dr. Harold C. Urey admitted: "All of us who
study the origin of life find that the more we look into it, the more we
feel that it is too complex to have evolved anywhere. But we believe as an
article of faith that life evolved from dead matter on this planet. It is
just that its complexity is so great, that it is hard for us to imagine
that it did.
George Wald who won the Nobel Prize for medicine wrote in Scientific
American the following: The reasonable view was to believe in spontaneous
generation; the only alternative was to believe in a single, primary act of
supernatural creation. There is no third position. For this reason many
scientists, a century ago, chose to regard belief in spontaneous generation
as a 'philosophical necessity'. I think a scientist has no choice but to
approach the origin of life through a hypothesis of spontaneous generation.
(He concludes) One has to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede
that spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet, here
we are, as a result I believe of spontaneous generation." (Were their
awards for accomplishments in science or philosophy?)
Aldous Huxley, of "A Brave New World" fame in an essay titled
"Confessions of an Atheist" bravely expressed the heart of Pharaoh's
hardened heart, "I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning;
consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty
to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. For myself, as no doubt,
for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was
essentially an instrument for liberation from a certain political and
economic system and a liberation from a certain system of morality. We
objected to morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom."
Consider the words of the leader of a great modern state as Pharaoh in
his time; "It is true that we are barbarians. That is an honored title to
us. I free humanity from the shackles of the soul, from the degrading
suffering caused by the false vision called conscience and ethics. The Jews
have afflicted two wounds on mankind-circumcision on its body and
conscience on its soul. They are Jewish inventions. The war for dominion is
waged only between the two of us, between these two camps alone-the Germans
and the Jews. Everything else is but deception."
The story of them back then is the story of every man and now. The Pharaoh
within is no fool nor peculiarly insane. He's suffers from a common form of
cognitive dissonance, rationalization, denial. The Moshe deep within us
quietly proves his point and cries persistently even still, trying to bend
Pharaoh's ear and arm, pleading, "Please let my person grow!"
Text Copyright © 1998 Rabbi Dovid Green and
Project Genesis, Inc.