2 Shevat 5767, January 21, 2007

Pay attention, open up and allow HaShem to speak His Words of Living Torah directly into your mind and heart...
Animal Smart
By HaRav Ariel Bar Tzadok. Copyright (C) 2007 by Ariel Bar Tzadok. All rights reserved.

There is an occurrence that I have witnessed many times that continuously baffles me.  Why is it that some people always rush to do that which is dangerous without taking the necessary precautions to protect themselves?  How is it that some people can be so blind and foolish not to see the dangers in what they do and the foolishness in not being prepared to embrace what they clearly should not embrace?

I have observed the behavior of animals, creatures supposedly less intelligent than humans and I see that they are very well aware of their own mortality.  They can sense danger from a distance and maintain that distance well to avoid any jeopardy. Animals know well when to flee, when to hide and when enough is apparently enough. 

I have never witnessed an animal being a thrill seeker or taking on a task that it is clearly and naturally not endowed to perform.  How is it that we say humans are of superior intelligence when those in the animal world act with greater common sense?  Human intellectual and spiritual superiority are supposed to make us better and wiser.  How can we maintain such a claim when we lack the most basic of instincts and parameters of limitations that every animal is endowed with?

In order for one to be fully human, one must do more than just be born.  While we inhabit human bodies, the question remains, have we developed a human soul?  Have we integrated that part of ourselves, that is our innate inner nature, that which makes us special and unique?

Many of us think that we are smart when we are not smart.  Smart is not what you think; it is how you act!  Intelligence is of the heart, not the mind.  One who is intelligent knows deeply within oneself one’s own parameters and boundaries.  One who is smart does not violate these boundaries.  Granted, one who is daring may wish to broaden his boundaries, but only the smart one will first do what is necessary to change oneself and transform to be enabled to do what one could not do before.

"Practice makes perfect," the old saying goes.  But how many are willing to take the necessary long time to practice and practice repeatedly, to achieve perfection.  So many want to accomplish so much but at the same time are not willing to invest what is necessary.  Achievement without effort is unnatural and abnormal.  This imbalance is foolishness and sheer disrespect and outright ignorance of what is natural.

Many try to take the crown but it will not fit their head.  Many try to become king, but only one can succeed.  Many try to reach out and touch Heaven, but only those who follow the ways of Heaven will ever reach it.  We cannot go against the natural way; we cannot change that which is ordained by a higher authority.  We must follow the way, and stay on the path.  Only in this way will we reach the proper destination, safe and sound.

This is sound advice, everything in nature knows this and follows it; with the one exception being human beings.  Created in the Image of G-d we are, yet so many chose to embrace an image far less intelligent than many animals.  Why is this terrible thing so?

One must know his limitations.  One must know the proper path how to expand one’s potentials.  One must be patient and diligent to do what is necessary to become more efficient, to become better.  There are no real shortcuts in life. 

All promises of quick results without invested effort are mostly lies and deceptions.  Yet, so many fall for these deceptions.  It is as if maybe some want to be deceived and seek out deception in order to believe a lie about themselves.  If an animal were to do this in the wild, it would be dead within a short time. 

It is no wonder then that the Sages of wisdom, from around the world, would seek to distance themselves from the ways of their fellow men and to commune with nature, to watch the natural way and to learn from it the true flow and ways of life.  The Hand of Heaven is concealed within the ways of this world.  One who separates from the lies of his fellows will become enlightened by observing the ways of nature, even that of the animals.

Therefore, learn this well; be fierce like the tiger, light as the eagle, swift like the deer and mighty like the lion, all in the service of Heaven.
Shalom, Ariel Bar Tzadok

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