The Seven Habits of a Civilized World…writes Rabbi Laibl Wolf

September 27, 2014 by Rabbi Laibl Wolf
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The more we know, the less we know. Who would have thought that the Arab spring would become a ‘winter of our discontent’?

Rabbi Laibl Wolf

Rabbi Laibl Wolf

Who would have anticipated that iron dome would be perfected in the very year that a thousand rockets rained down upon Israel? Who would have thought that a record icing up of Antarctica would challenge climate change theory? Who would have thought that Scottish bagpipes would still be an integral part of Great Britain? Who would have thought that the i-phone would outlive Steve Jobs? Who would have thought that beheadings would become a popular Islamist pastime?

The weather, economies, political landscapes, and football scores will continue to defy prediction. Not so human behaviour. Ever since Cain killed Able, humans have been hell-bent on destroying each other, showing intolerance, and greeding after each other’s possessions. Yet life is really simple. All you need to do is choose good from bad, right from wrong. The rest of life is mere details.

Our track record however is not great. Our choices are rarely principled. As a result, crime, war, and poverty remain world scourges. The human feels helpless despondent, listless, depressed on the one hand, and enraged, pained, and explosive on the other. The Martian observer would be excused for thinking that as far as Earthlings are concerned, the passage of time is in inverse proportion to human progress.

Yet each year we receive another opportunity, another chance. The deeply spiritual and ancient teachings of Kabbala describe how each year, on Rosh HaShanna (the Jewish new year) a new aura of Divine energy descends to re-characterise life in a novel way. That opening begins this Wednesday night when a new creative force will resonate vibrationally with each individual soul. Sensitize to these new waves and you will successfully surf to the shores of the new year – 5775.

That makes the Jewish people a very ancient people, possessing life experience and secrets of survival beyond any other culture and people of the world. So what does this ancient wisdom inform us about qualitative world survival? Answer: seven simple principles:

The Seven Habits of a Civilized World

  1. Acknowledge that there is only one G-d who is infinite and supreme above all things.
  2. Respect the Creator
  3. Respect human life.
  4. Respect the institution of marriage.
  5. Respect the rights and property of others.
  6. Respect G-d’s creatures and don’t let them suffer.
  7. Maintain a system of true justice.

The same Torah that gave each individual the code of Ten Commandments for personal guidance and practice, also gave the world these seven basic laws of international behaviour.

In the new year of 5775, the Jew’s role is not only to display the belief in and adherence to the Ten Commandments, but also to encourage all the peoples of the world to practice the seven guidelines for a just society and ethical world.

Your role goes far beyond the shores of your home. You can change the distant world much for the better. Simply live the truth of who you are, unashamedly, and share wisdom and teachings with your neighbour, no matter what their creed, religion or social orientation.

You can’t predict the future. And yet the future depends on you.

Rabbi Laibl Wolf, Dean, Spiritgrow – The Josef Kryss Center, Australia

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