Our Moral Code
and economic system
Our Moral Code
Our Torah is called Toras Emes and Toras Chayim as it speaks words of truth and kindness. The proper attitude towards its commandments is one of deference to and acceptance of the Almighty’s Authority, but the underlying message is “Parental Guidance” offered by a caring Father who selflessly instructs His children “You must obey Me for your own good”.
As a people, we are constantly evolving and discovering new truths and realities. We are infinitely distant from knowing everything. We will never know the far-reaching effects of our actions and behaviour patterns. G-d has given the human race the freedom to choose from a rich variety of healthy lifestyles while caringly guiding us with His Commandments (The 7 Noahide Laws: Universal Morality) to save us from making scholarly and philosophically inspired mistakes similar to those made in Germany during the second world war where the value of human life was left unappreciated and disregarded. The human mind is limited and without the proper guidance from Above, man is often unable to recognize the proper and appropriate moral principles so that he could make the right choices. [See here for the Lubavitcher Rebbe's thoughts and advice regarding certain mental health issues and problems.]
The Torah was gifted to the Jewish people some 3300 years ago, and the time will come when mankind will acknowledge its vital role in ushering in the final redemption where peace, prosperity and happiness will be the only conditions we will know.
Tradition has it that at the end of Israel’s exile, the Jewish people will be in a better position to share G-d’s wisdom with the nations of the world. Old school mentality assumes that the Gentile nations will ignore G-d’s Advice. This contrast would prove virtuous for the Jewish People who as a nation remained steadfast to His entire Torah (613 Mitzvos) throughout the millennia of their challenging and tough survival. The Rebbe suggested otherwise. His vision was that the Gentile world would eventually heed the loving Words of our Living G-d and this merit would grant them too a portion in the World of our righteous Redeemer, Moshiach.
Our economic system
The golden standard
Like many other modern countries today, Australia is a meritocracy where advancement is performance based. Everyone with skill and imagination may aspire to get ahead.
But like any other system, meritocracy isn’t flawless.
Yale University Law Professor Daniel Markovitz (author of The Meritocracy Trap) argues that meritocracy "banishes the majority of citizens to the margins of their own society". In his view, the tyranny of merit serves no one in the end. "Meritocratic inequality divides society into the useless and the used up."
Man made political systems aim to achieve certain particular social advantages. For example, Capitalism places a greater emphasis on productivity and personal growth whereas Communism aims to provide fairness equality and sharing of resources. The ideal approach is the one we are obliged to follow according to Torah (God’s Law) as it incorporates the advantages of each economic and political system. It allows and even encourages successful (honest and fair) private enterprise while, at the same time, obligates the affluent and wealthy to support those less fortunate. According to Torah Law, the Court must enforce a partial redistribution so that everyone is left comfortable.
Tzedoko is often incorrectly translated as ‘charity’. Tzedoko means to do what is ‘right’. God created rich and poor people so that through the magical act of sharing we can become partners with Him in creation. Listen to this amazing story!
Instead of insatiability and greed, the desire to become an even greater benefactor and philanthropist should be one's primary motivation and reason to achieve greater wealth and a more comfortable life style.
In this context, the term 'wealthy' does not refer to a person that possesses a big house, a luxurious car or a yacht but rather to the more generous donor and benefactor who exploits his ability to support the insolvent or impoverished. Accordingly, the ‘poor’ man isn't poor because he's destitute or penniless; he’s poor because he’s a ‘beneficiary’ or ‘recipient’ of another person’s generosity. His money isn’t his because he earned it. It's his because someone else decided to share.
Competition shouldn’t only function as a motivation for productivity by expecting its players to outdo one another and get ahead. As in all healthy relationships, the human race as a whole should behave like one organic body where competition finds predominant expression in its constituents' desire to give more than it each one receives.
Isn’t it about time that this system be restored and reinstated?