As a young woman I decided I could not — would not — give up my right to self-determination. I would not “mindlessly” conform to the strict Orthodox Jewish lifestyle within which I was raised.
Other people in my life, people very close to me, took another path. They weren’t mean about it, although some were pretty judgmental and still are. At one point I recall someone telling me that when the Final Redemption comes, with all its painful birth pangs, only the “Torah-true” minority stands a chance of being saved.
I remember going to the Orthodox synagogue nearby one Shabbos, very uncomfortable in my overly warm body armor of an outfit. Children in tow, I hid out in the furthest of the back seats in the back row — a habit I maintain to this day — and listened uncomfortably to the sermon.
“Beware of fake Jews!” the rabbi said, at some point, rousing me from my usual “eyes glazed over” stance. Instantly I was furious, as he continued to lecture from the pulpit about people who only pretend to live an Orthodox lifestyle, while secretly promoting immorality.
I say all of this to you to let you know how fully I get it. I grew up on all of the debates about hypocrisy and religion, how people seem to either observe the first half of the Ten Commandments (between humans and God) or the second (human decency between one another). My childhood was filled, filled filled filled with righteous anger at those who judged me, and judged my family, too.
Somehow, no matter where we went, we just…weren’t…good enough.
But over the past 4–5 years or so, and the last two in particular, I have come to see the world in a different way. As more and more victims of child sex trafficking come forward, I see that an immoral lifestyle is the “gateway drug” to this disgusting cancer on society — and that we, humanity, are in Stage 4.
What does it mean to be immoral? At the most basic level: Denying that we must obey God to the best of our ability.
If you are a Jew, and I’m sorry if this offends anyone, the “best of your ability” means putting the Torah at the forefront of your life, and assessing your worthiness by how many of the 613 mitzvot (commandments) you keep.
If you are a Jew, you are right to distinguish between a Torah-true lifestyle — one that centers around the observance of the mitzvot — and a lifestyle that does not.
Most of the world is not Jewish, and so your mileage may vary.
No matter what religion you are, of course, this doesn’t mean putting people into your convenient buckets of “good” versus “awful.” It is about assessing behavior.
Child sex trafficking is simply the natural extension of a world where people view God as optional. Without the fear of Him, without the need for a conscience, every extreme behavior can be explained and normalized.
How bad have things gotten? You don’t need a research paper or a lot of links. Just look around you, at the filth that populates your typical Hollywood movie nowadays.
Even the most seemingly benign family movie is chock-full of pedophilic symbolism, to the point where one film, “Show Dogs,” raised such an outcry that it was literally pulled out of the theaters to edit out some obviously inappropriate portions for children.
Today Harvey Weinstein was arrested for rape. Speaking to reporters, Weinstein lawyer Ben Brafman actually tried to argue that Weinstein is innocent because everyone else is guilty too.
It is a remarkable quote, because in effect Mr. Brafman is indicting the entire industry. Let’s read it in full:
“Weinstein did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood, to the extent that there is bad behavior in that industry… Bad behavior is not on trial in this case. It is only if you intentionally committed a criminal act, and Weinstein vigorously denies that.”
In other words, forcing women to have sex (RAPE) because of your clout in providing a movie role is okay, because it’s standard operating procedure. Why should Weinstein pay for behavior that he didn’t perceive as wrong?
Unfortunately, most of us are uncomfortable with the discussion of what behavior is actually moral and what isn’t. Deep inside our souls there is that voice, that nagging voice: “Who are you to judge?”
It’s classic Western democratic secular thinking — you do your thing and I’ll do mine, and the only rule is “stay out of my business.”
A not-so-fun fact: “Do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked” is #1 in the “11 Satanic Rules of the Earth.”
You don’t need me to tell you that things have gotten pretty bad out there — or as another rabbi put it in his sermon last week, “The world has gone off the deep end."
The insanity of a world without moral boundaries is corrected, he noted, by the giving of (and adherence) to Torah, a moral code. Doing what is right puts the world back on its axis; it bring sanity to all.
At the end of the day, you will be as good or as bad as you want: Nobody will know your deeds, except at the end when you meet your Maker.
But if you think that we can end the pervasive sexualization, sale and even cannibalization of our world’s young simply by engaging in a rational discussion about “win-win solutions,” I would have to politely disagree. You need very little godless genius to make seemingly “logical” points with their smooth-talking, prime-time punditry.
I leave you with this thought: God is real. And He will make His justice known to you, either while you’re living here or after you’ve passed.
The moment of His judgment is arriving.
Repent your sinful ways now, and speak up for the victims if you can.
Before it’s too late.
Copyright 2018 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. CC0 Photo by Republica via Pixabay.