- כח וַיַּעַן יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן-נוּן, מְשָׁרֵת מֹשֶׁה מִבְּחֻרָיו--וַיֹּאמַר: אֲדֹנִי מֹשֶׁה, כְּלָאֵם.
28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the minister of Moses from his youth up, answered and said: 'My lord Moses, shut them in.'
כט וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ מֹשֶׁה, הַמְקַנֵּא אַתָּה לִי; וּמִי יִתֵּן כָּל-עַם יְהוָה, נְבִיאִים--כִּי-יִתֵּן יְהוָה אֶת-רוּחוֹ, עֲלֵיהֶם.
29 And Moses said unto him: 'Art thou jealous for my sake? would that all the LORD'S people were prophets, that the LORD would put His spirit upon them!'
ל וַיֵּאָסֵף מֹשֶׁה, אֶל-הַמַּחֲנֶה--הוּא, וְזִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.
30 And Moses withdrew into the camp, he and the elders of Israel.
Moses wants so much for everyone to be capable of what he has, for everyone to have the ability to prophecize. He wishes that everyone could be prophets. He wants to share the grandeur and glory of God with everyone else.
But have you ever considered what that would really mean? If every single person was a prophet? Each person connected to God, each person giving over his own understanding of the law? Perhaps they wouldn't even be consistent with one another! There are plenty of times in Tanakh where God speaks to two different people during the same time period and gives them conflicting messages or ways of understanding. Imagine the chaos that would ensue if everyone were prophets.
Damn it, but Moshe wants it so much. Can you understand how lonely Moshe must have felt, being the one man able to speak to God in that way, without anyone to understand him, anyone to truly stand beside him? Even the slightest touch of understanding moved him; he was glad, yes, glad, glad in a fierce and terrible way when others attained what had been forced upon him.
The difference between Moshe and I is that what I believe to be an ideal is not an ideal outlined by God. We can all agree that prophecy is an ideal state to reach, man's highest connection with God. When it comes to human ideals, we can debate them and see that perhaps they are not ideals at all.
But leaving that aside: let's take something I believe to be an ideal. I believe in a thinking society of interested, committed individuals, and I believe this can work within a Modern Orthodox structure and educational system. I believe it has worked for me, though God knows there are plenty of people who wouldn't hold me as any kind of example. And I want so much to share everything that moves and motivates me with others, and I imagine the way to do it is by wishing that they could all think and did think and in some ways, were like me.
Of course this is wrong, because creating people as reflections of yourself is never a good thing to do; you must accept that people are different. And this is terribly difficult for me, because I am used to thinking of things as being "better" and "worse," not equal, and I believe and feel that it is far, far better to think than not to think or wear blinders. Though of course we could all argue the extent of thought; perhaps I too am wearing my blinders unlike people who are truly searching. But that is tangential.
Anyway, a couple insights that have been afforded me lately:
1. Chana, you cannot judge everyone by yourself
2. Until you can come up with a workable system that offers a practical solution to the flaws in the current system, you have no right to argue
3. You must accept that people are different (I've been given this example a thousand times, but in an army, there are commanding officers and people taking orders. And I would be very bad at taking orders, because what if I saw a different and presumably better way to go about things? Creative thinking has no place at certain times and in certain venues. And perhaps there are people who really don't and really can't think creatively, much as you Chana don't want to accept that!)
4. People do think differently and/or they think on different levels
5. It is possible, that much as you don't want to admit this, and much as you hate this, and much as you resent this answer because it was given to you as an excuse for everything that ever hurt you, you Chana may not be the norm. And what works for you may in fact only work for the minority of people.
There's more, of course, but that's what I'm turning over in my mind at the moment. And oh, I hate it! I hate it so much when something that seems so good and true for me may not be good and true for others.
Moses wanted everyone to be prophets and everyone to have the ability he had, because he had such a desire to share what he saw and felt and knew of God.
But not everyone can be prophets.
And perhaps it is unfair to expect it of them.
And that, that is what I don't like to realize at all; I hate to think that people can't attain or won't or choose not to take ideas that are so good and healthful and pure- though of course, they may only be this way for me. I assume that every person has the ability and the desire to climb to the highest of heights, to think and create and to be Howard Roark, to be creative man, and I also selfishly assume that this must be done by being intellectually honest and dealing with problems rather than avoiding them.
Maybe I have to accept that people really don't have the ability to deal with problems?
But for me, that's thinking less of people, that's saying that they've given up, that they're choosing not to see because they can't deal with the truth, and I don't want to say that; I think so highly of people- I don't want to think less of them! I don't want to hold anyone and I don't want anyone to hold me to less than the highest standard (whose standard? Good question...)
You know in the movie A Few Good Men where Colonel Jessep says, "You can't handle the truth?"
I have always, always thought that everyone should, can and must be made to be handle the truth, to deal with facts.
But perhaps, even though I hate this, I am wrong, and not everyone can.
Or perhaps I am the one who is really messed up here; I am the one who is making this pursuit of questions and delving into ideas and attempting to be intellectually honest, who believes in exposure to the world and different types and system of thought, who believes that people must live examined lives because the unexamined life is not worth living- into an ideal when it really isn't. Maybe I'm just crazy.
Well then, isn't this pleasant. Either I have to believe that people cannot attain the supposed ideal and standards I set for them or I have to believe that I'm crazy. Unless there are middle sections here that I'm not getting because I am incapable of nuanced thinking.
Oh, this is not the happiest morning for me.