What's written in Tehillim 19:8 is very true: "...edut Hashem ne'emanah; machkimat peti — The Testimony of Hashem is faithful; it enwisens the simple."
"Faithful" is the complete translation of ne'emanah. Ne'emanah means that the Testimony is faithful to the Absolute Truth.
It is 100% trustworthy.
Rashi basically says that the Torah is faithful testimony for those who study it.
Combine this with Kohelet 1:9 "...v'ein kol chadash tachat hashamesh — there is nothing new under the sun," and you've got a recipe for increased wisdom & understanding, regardless of your current level.
A tremendous benefit to learning basic Tanach is to help you see through your own social conditioning.
For example, if you grow up in American culture (and Western culture today), you will think that mass unity & brotherhood is the highest goal.
"World peace" sounds lovely. It's certainly presented as the answer to all our problems.
But Tanach, particularly Parshat Noach and Megillat Esther, tell a very different story.
The Brotherhood of Overblown Ego
The gathering of reshaim is bad for them and bad for the world; the dispersion of reshaim is good for them and good for the world. And regarding tzaddikim, the exact opposite is true."
They got it from Tanach.
And you can't get more straight-forward than that Gemara: World "peace" and global unity is ONLY good if it unifies GOOD people.
If it unifies bad people, then it is...BAD.
You can see the Kli Yakar on Parshat Noach for his view on the entire dynamic.
Basically, he states that when bad people wish to gather together in unity & peace, they do so as a farce.
In reality, each one only wishes to indulge his own desires. One desires wealth & honor while another desires illicit relations. If, for example, opening borders helps them achieve their desires, then that's what they'll do.
It has nothing to do with peace or unity.
When bad people get together, explains the Kli Yakar, they concoct harmful ideas for others and fight with each other.
We see this in our own times.
For example, candidates of the same party often attack each other when competing for who will be the presidential nominee.
No loyalty and no unity there.
People like the Obamas and the Clintons never seemed to like each other, but pretend to in public when it suits their nefarious goals.
Heck, Bill & Hillary Clinton don't seem to like each other at all, but they remain married and even present a united front because it supports their goals of wealth, honor, and illicit relations.
Hillary really seems to despise her husband (and it's said she hates men in general), yet she developed a reputation for standing by his side & bullying into silence the women her husband mauled, seduced, or violated simply because it suited her ambitions.
This also explains the behavior of many feminists who pretend to support women's "rights," then support politicians who harass or abuse women & children.
These types also target their own female employees for workplace bullying, discriminating against subordinate or competing females, and in other words, do almost everything they accuse chauvinist male bosses of doing.
They want all the money & prestige for themselves; it has nothing to do with women's "rights."
Obama and other liberals clearly do not care about the lives of black people, yet they sing that song because it's the way to acquire honor & influence.
Even the riots in America, both before & now, clearly show both black & white people destroying businesses also in black neighborhoods, including those owned by black citizens.
They claim to do this on behalf of a black man (apparently on hard drugs & trying to cheat a business out of money) unintentionally killed by a white police officer (who yes, seemed to have issues with egoism & sadism), yet trashing someone's livelihood & neighborhood is obviously not an act of caring.
All the rioters unite simply to be violent and steal things, regardless of race.
And the fact that the predominantly white media unites together to support rampaging destruction and murder (a Las Vegas officer was shot by rioters) under the auspices of proving how much they care about black people ironically shows that they care ONLY about their own wealth & prestige.
(And how convenient for them that their own homes are far from the rioting...)
Personally, I am against violence and destruction regardless of race.
I don't think anyone should hurt anyone else (unless out of direct self-defense).
Isn't it sad that needs to be stated as if it's some kind of chiddush?
When Libertarians Get Seduced by the Dark Side
They had nice tents. (If you've spent time in a Bedouin tent, you will know that they are indeed quite relaxing. People even pay money to experience this.)
They lived their lives in a way that satiated all their basic needs, and all was pleasant.
But there was a vast plain nearby, perfect for creating a whole intricate kingdom, complete with politicians & monarchy.
People wanted to live in nifty walled houses, rather than tents.
And so, rather than spread out & fill up the land as Hashem originally commanded, everyone decided to congregate together in one area.
They also planned a massive tower to reach into the heavens to act as a conduit for bringing down abundance — not from Hashem, but from the heavenly bodies and spirits they worshiped.
Interestingly, the Malbim said not everyone was involved.
I always thought it was the whole world of that time, but Malbim says it wasn't. Yeah, it was a LOT of the world, but not everyone.
This generation was dispersed before its heresy could infect all Mankind and the dispersed people managed to learn about monotheism from Avraham Avinu.
When Global Unification Divides
We see things like clan wars & tribal wars even in our times.
However, the Kli Yakar emphasizes that when disparate nations unite together under any banner other than to serve the One Hashem, their unification actually CAUSES more internal strife and war than anything else!
You could really see this in Communism, in which even children ended up reporting their own parents, leading to their parents' execution.
We also see this today in the USA & Europe, that these societies are spiraling downward with increasing internal friction.
"Equality" has actually brought about more fragmentation and divisiveness and strife.
Ironically, the last few decades prove that the more "equality" increases in society, the less equality people perceive, and the angrier they become.
The Kli Yakar also explains that in a smaller group of people with whom you identify, everyone values self-preservation, which leads everyone to behave better.
Unprecedented Pluralism & Equality in Shushan!
And now, we get to Achashverosh's 180-day feast on Purim.
Once again, the "unity" theme is playing.
Another major theme of the event was "equality."
King Achashverosh dispatched invitations to all the city rulers and princes of provinces to his home.
Officials & servants, all the generals of the armies of his vast empire, the rulers & governors — all were clad in shiny white caftans & seated before the king.
All together, regardless of rank...how progressive! How liberal! How equal!
He also displayed his wealth & all the inner workings of the place, as if these people were intimates.
(Please note the modern custom in America to peek inside a leader's home, shows offering you a peek in the homes of the wealthy & famous, tours of the White House, and filming the President taking a jog — that started with Clinton, I think — and so on.)
Chazal says he revealed everything about himself due to foolishness and drunkenness.
Then Achashverosh invited the regular citizens, but seated them outside in his courtyards, gardens, and orchards (which was still a big treat and meant to show off the king's estate even more).
People were seated according to social rank (the better people in the courtyards, then the gardens, and finally the lesser people in the orchards).
Despite this ranked seating arrangement, even the simplest citizens were treated like nobles & princes.
Gold & silver couches spread with the finest linens stood on floors of precious stones.
The finest sculptures and paintings decorated the area, along with numerous fruit trees in bloom and marble pillars studded with pearls and precious gems.
Freedom was declared for all merchants; their taxes were pardoned.
Palace servants were commanded to serve each person according to his individual preference...which included respecting each individual's cultural custom and even included the wine from his native country.
O, the cultural tolerance that abounded during that feast!
At the same time, no one was forced to drink.
You could just be yourself!
Yet what does Chazal identify as the underlying motivation of Achashverosh for all this equality & unity?
- To gain the loyalty of his subjects in order to subjugate all the nations worldwide
- To enhance his self-glorification
- To show off his phenomenal wealth & success
- To "compete" with Hashem
In other words, King Achashverosh wished to rule the entire world.
He wished to subjugate every person on Earth.
And this was the best way to get everyone under his thumb.
So this "generous" feast was a type of glittering, sparkly, shiny, aromatic, gratifying, comfy form of self-enslavement.
And where were the Jews in all this?
The Ugly Truth behind the Shiny Veneer
And he warned Bnei Yisrael not to go to the feast.
Mordechai even told them why: Achashverosh held self-gratifying motives against the Jews too.
As part of his world dominance, Achashverosh wished to cause Hashem to reject the Jews.
This is why he was so accepting of Jewish customs during the feast.
If the Jews sinned willfully (by willing attendance and then willing indulgence — starting with kosher food & wine), then the king was sure that Hashem would reject His People.
Mordechai warned his people that the feast would pile Heavenly accusations against Bnei Yisrael.
But "the fear of the kingdom was upon them" and they went anyway.
During the feast, the king uttered blasphemy, which made the elders flee. But other Bnei Yisrael remained and responded to his blasphemy by asserting the Truth.
Yet they did not leave altogether.
Much to their distress, they saw the vessels and garments of the Beit Hamikdash used profanely at the feast.
Ultimately, they secluded themselves in their own group at the feast.
They longed for Redemption, but at the same time, they faced wealth and worldly success & enjoyment on a level never seen before.
And they found themselves smack in the middle of it.
How had Hashem granted such goodness and power to such a degenerate heathen?
Feeling confused, fearful, and helpless, Bnei Yisrael joined the festivities and sinned.
(But they still weren't as bad as the surrounding pagans. For example, when the Jews got drunk, they spoke words of Torah. The pagans spoke obscenities & folly.)
Anyway, all the guests from other nations noticed the less-than-sterling behavior of Bnei Yisrael, as did the king. And they all took satisfaction in causing Bnei Yisrael to stumble.
Their ability to bring down Hashem's Nation made them feel good about themselves.
And they all said, "Now we will erase their memory as a nation."
So there was no REAL acceptance, tolerance, equality, or unity.
Underneath the shiny sparkly surface, everything was dark & destructive.
Seeing Events through Chazal's Eyes
Even as King Achashverosh and Queen Vashti schemed for world domination and the downfall of Bnei Yisrael, they sinned & blasphemed so badly that the same feast which brought accusations against the Jewish people ALSO brought even GREATER accusations against the enemies of Bnei Yisrael.
As we know, Vashti was dispatched more or less on the spot.
And Bnei Yisrael was saved in a massive miracle celebrated until this day.
But the point is that the more one studies authentic Jewish sources, including the authentic Jewish interpretation of historical events, the more one gains the ability to see through the propaganda.
There's nothing new under the sun. We've seen it all before.
We just need to recognize it.