Friday, August 24, 2007

Access Control

Security is a hot topic in Joburg. Actually, since 9/11, it’s become a hot issue throughout the world.

We have surrounded our homes with high walls, electric fences, security gates and burglar bars to keep the baddies out. Airports around the globe have introduced security screenings that would unnerve even the most ironclad heart. Our home PC’s and office networks are protected with firewalls to keep the rubbish at bay. It’s now not only acceptable, but fashionable to limit access on just about every level of our lives.

We know how to keep the burglars, terrorists and spammers out. Ironically, we still remain vulnerable to trespass of a different kind.

A wise man commented: “Jews have always considered it taboo to enter a church, yet nowadays they bring the church into our own homes”. “Church” represents more than a place of worship, it symbolizes anything antithetical to Jewish values.

You could sit in the comfort of your Jewish home, flanked by a silver mezuzah, Shabbos candle sticks and a portrait of your zeida. Flip a switch on the “black box” and you invite people, images, sounds and themes that are contrary to every Jewish value.

“Judges and policeman you shall place at all your gates”, states the Torah. You could just read that at face value- a Jewish town needs to have a judicial system. Or you could approach this line as a Jew should: The Torah is a book of personal lessons. If you cannot find the relevant lesson in the story for you, you have missed the point.

Let’s read that sentence again, with different emphasis this time. “Judges and policemen you shall place on all your gates”. Your gates are the access points to your soul: your eyes, ears and mouth. That is what the Torah is talking about. Just as it’s important to keep unwanted visitors out of your house, it’s just as important to keep them out of your head (and your kids’ heads).

We’ve invested a fortune in physical security, we should at least equal the effort for our spiritual security.

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