By Rabbi Dovid Markel
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The Talmud (Avoda Zara 17b) tells of the Roman’s trial and execution of the sage R. Chanina ben Teradion:
“They then brought up R. Chanina ben Teradion and asked him, ‘Why have you occupied yourself with the Torah?’ He replied, ‘This is what the Lord my G-d commanded me.’ At once they sentenced him to be burned, his wife to be slain, and his daughter to be consigned to a brothel.”
When one considers this story, there are essentially four points and questions to note:
A) The Roman’s question was why have you “occupied” yourself in Torah (במאי עסקת) which has the connotation of toiling in thing as if it was his livelihood, vocation and contribution to society.
They were not bothered by “learning Torah,” per se, but could not tolerate that Torah should be one’s occupation.
B) While one can appreciate that the Romans were not excited by Torah study, what did they see in it that was so terrible that it should be an executable offense?
C) What is R. Chanina ben Teradion’s response “this is what G-d commanded me?” The Romans surely knew that this was the Jewish religion. Is there some explanation to his response?
D) From the Roman perspective, what is the meaning behind the various punishments?
(The Talmud explains why they were each deserving of the punishments from a spiritual perspective due to their specific sins, but one can employ the same reasoning to understand the Roman perspective as well.)
It can perhaps be said that the argument embedded in this dispute and court case reflects the crux of the argument between Jerusalem and Rome.
If the argument between Jerusalem and Athens is human philosophy vs. G-dly philosophy, the argument between Rome and Jerusalem is the argument between those that see themselves as civilization builders versus those that see the highest ideal as engaging and toiling in the revelation and enlightenment that is expressed in Torah.
(Although the Romans were not against philosophy, or enlightenment as can be seen in their initial adoption of Greek Philosophy and later, accepting Christian doctrine, they could not stomach the distinct Jewish version thereof…)
The Journey of Humankind
When one considers the story of humankind, civilization, and the homo sapiens, one must ask themselves: when is the commencement of the human story? When does man cease being akin to the monkey—leave his cave—and commence the journey of creating advanced civilization?
The normative answer to this question is that man begins his journey when he stops babbling like a monkey, merely accepting the fiction of the cave, the “wise” cave-man, and decides to leave the cave and discover the world for himself.
The initial step begins with questioning the premise of the “cave-man” and whatever fantasies about reality he may have and discover the world for himself.
Homo-sapiens then advances into a hunter-gatherer stage which creates some social order and primitive civilization and cooperation—where the greatest hunter becomes the chieftain and alpha.
He then advances to the next stage of agriculture, which creates land ownership, where the owner of the most land becomes the king. This in turns leads to empires and complex social orders and civilizations.
Indeed, in Plato’s Republic which describes how to build his ultimate version of civilization, he begins with his famous allegory of the cave.
Individuals are sitting in a cave they are born into, and see images on a wall that they think are reality. Surely, they discuss these images as if it is the ultimate revelation. However, the true revelation is grasped by the person who leaves the cave, and discovers and interacts with the actual world around himself. Only by leaving the cave, and seeing reality for what it is, does he experience true enlightenment.
He then goes back, returns to the cave and teaches those cave-men, who convince themselves that their fiction is enlightenment. He drags them out of the cave so that they too can see the light.
The first step then is to spurn the cave, leave it, and begin the path from hunter-gatherer until one can build the ultimate pinnacle of civilization not dependent on a revelation received in some cave, but through interacting with the world and creating the ultimate utopian civilization, where man works in perfect symbiosis with both man, beast and the nature around him.
When man leaves the cave and becomes a hunter-gatherer, the story of civilization begins. A few steps later and he creates complex social orders and civilization and eventually the state of our civilization today.
Yaakov & Esav
This is the essential argument between Jerusalem and Rome as conveyed in the two archetypes and fathers of their respective nations, Yaakov and Esav.
Esav is described in the Torah as a hunter and the father of Edom (Rome), while Yaakov is described as the one that dwells in tents.
Esav looks at Yaakov’s tent and despises it. Where Yaakov sees a tent of enlightenment, Esav sees a dark cave. He looks at Yaakov and says:
“You sit in the cave talking and talking without actually contributing to society. You claim to be enlightened and have the ultimate commodity, yet all you do is sit in your cave. I, on the other hand, am the father of civilization. I am the hunter-gatherer, who spurn your foolish fiction of enlightenment. I am the one who is truly enlightened and am the true father and builder of civilization.”
(He styles himself after Nimrod—and believes that he surpasses him—in civilization building. Nimrod too is described as the hunter-gatherer turned civilization builder. He too commences the journey of leaving the cave, becoming a hunter, and ultimately building the ultimate civilization of humanity working as one without the “need” of G-d.
Nimrod says, I can build the ultimate civilization, I am “mored” with G-d and I don’t need him, and Esav says the same. He too spurns the life of living in the cave, in his desire to build the ultimate civilization, he kills Nimord and sets out on his path to become the ultimate civilization builder, starting with becoming a hunter, and eventually being the father of Rome.)
Yaakov, on the other hand, is content with sitting in his tent or cave studying the received enlightenment of his father’s.
Initially, the two have nothing to fight about: Esav sets out to build civilization and becomes the hunter while Yaakov has no interest in all of that, and would rather sit in his cave or tent and study. Esav desires this world—creating a civilization in it—and he does not mind if Yaakov gets his imagined world to come.
Their spheres and their desires do not overlap and there is no discord.
The problem starts though when Yitzchak blesses Yaakov worldly and physical blessings.
It is one thing to sit in your tent and think you are enlightened—says Esav—but if you want to be the king of civilization, that’s mine, as I’m the one that engages in it, and builds it.
This is what I invested in, and you know nothing about. It is an audacity, says Esav, that you claim to be king of my world as well when all you are is a cave man. Esav thinks it is the greatest audacity that Yaakov—a caveman—who knows nothing about the world, should be the pinnacle of civilization to the point that his bother—with all his civilization—is the one that serves him.
When Yaakov tells Esav that he is the “king of this world too,” and in his tent (cave) he has found the greatest enlightenment and the secret to creating the perfect civilization, Esav not only laughs, but sees it as the greatest audacity punishable by death.
“It is one thing to say that you have discovered religion and have no interest in the world, but to claim that you want the world as well, and all my endeavors are to serve you is unconscionable and for that you deserve to die.”
This is Esav’s fight against Yaakov, and is expressed in Rome’s execution of R. Chanaya ben Teradion because his vocation being Torah and his belief that it is Torah that is the ultimate commodity and endeavor.
Rome as the builder of civilization places value on contribution to society and sees a person’s value predicated on his contribution to society. The more society is dependent on him, the greater his place in society.
In any civilization, there is a give and a take and the essence of economy and markets are predicated on having what to sell and barter in exchange for something that another person desires or needs.
In a utopian society there is no excess, each member contributes a commodity that he produces that is needed by another member, and they barter sustenance in exchange for that commodity. A person who has no need should not exist in an objectivist civilization as they merely serve as a parasite.
(While perhaps one would sustain someone charitably, one would a) only give charity to someone who cannot serve society but has some reason why he *cannot* work, and b) one would only sustain him from excess money to the bare minimum of his needs, not like a king as if he is selling the greatest commodity.
The one who studies Torah a) could theoretically find another profession that can help society as he exhibits that he is intelligent, and focused and b) he surely should be the lowest rank of society, not the highest and rewarded for his laziness.)
The basic premise to civilization and economy is the following: The more needed a commodity is, the better it is to invest in it. Being that everyone needs it, and you have it, everyone is dependent on you, and you end up rich through selling and bartering your commodity.
In a hunter-gatherer society, the greatest commodity is strength, strategizing, the acumen of danger etc. The individual that contains the greatest skills in these areas essentially has the most to sell to his civilization, so he essentially becomes its king or chieftain.
In a society that is predicated on agriculture and the domestication of animals, the individual that owns the most land becomes its king. As the owner of the lands, the members are dependent on the commodity that is under his jurisdiction for their very survival.
As the commodity of the societies morph, so do their kings, so that a person is essentially the king of the commodity that he controls; Mark Zuckerberg is the king of his Facebook empire, Larry Page of his Google empire, and Jeff Bezos of his Amazon empire.
In truth though everyone is the king of their own the commodity under their jurisdiction, and the person who controls the commodity that everyone needs and wants has the most control of that given society. People will buy the product and commodity at the price that he asks for it.
It is here that the argument between Rome and Jerusalem is expressed:
Jerusalem claims to have the *most* valuable commodity, that effectively makes them the product that everyone needs, and therefore the top of the societal pinnacle and its king, while Rome claims, that not only does Jerusalem not have “the ultimate commodity,” but their commodity is altogether useless and serves no societal need or value.
The Romans—with their focus on the value of civilization building—turn to R. Chanina ben Teradion, and say that what you consider the most precious commodity to work in, we view as a societal parasite with no value, a veritable caveman and a useless animal.
You have no place in society, and your attitudes are so dangerous that they are worthy of the death penalty.
Jerusalem’s perspective is that total absorption in Torah study is not only not a waste of time, but is the most valuable commodity and export.
The Jew says (Tehillim 119:72) “The Torah of Your mouth is better for me than thousands of gold and silver,” and states (Kiddushin 82) “I abandon all trades in the world and only teach my son Torah.”
Rather than being viewed at as the least worthwhile pursuit, it views it as the most precious commodity and export.
This can be better appreciated by way of the episode of Onkeles the convert and the Judaic depiction of the ultimate utopian civilization of its Messianic era.
The Medrash (Tanchuma, see also Talmud, Avoda Zara 11a) tells a story Onkeles’ conversion to Judaism:
“Onkeles, the nephew of Hadrian–his sister’s son–being anxious to embrace Judaism, yet being afraid of his uncle, told him that he wished to embark on a certain enterprise.
When Hadrian offered him some money he refused to accept it, but said he wanted his uncle’s advice, as he was inexperienced in the ways of the world. “Purchase goods,” replied his uncle, “which do not, at present, command a high price, and are not favorites in the market, but for which there is reason to believe a demand at higher prices will eventually arise.”
Onkeles betook himself to Eretz Yisroel, and gave himself up to study…. On his return home he again visited his uncle Hadrian, who, noticing that his nephew did not look as well as was his want, inquired whether he had met with any monetary reverses in his new enterprise, or had been injured in any way. “I have met with no monetary losses,” said Onkeles…
Onkeles told his uncle they were due to his excessive studies and to the fact that he had undergone circumcision. “And who told you to do such a thing as to undergo circumcision?” demanded Hadrian.
“I acted on your advice,” replied Onkeles. “I have acquired a thing that stands at a low price just now, but will eventually rise in value. I found no nation in such low esteem and so sure to rise in value as Israel.
For ‘So said the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, about him who is despised of men, about him whom the nation abhors, about a slave of rulers, “Kings shall see and rise, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, for the sake of the Lord Who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, and He chose you.'” (Yeshayahu 49:7)
Onkeles, the righteous convert to Judaism and its values tells his uncle, the Roman emperor that not only are his endeavors not worthless, but it is the ultimate commodity.
Onkeles says “I realized that the true commodity that is worth investing is Judaism and the singular focus on Torah study.”
Rather than it being a waste of time, it is the ultimate commodity that eventually even the greatest kings will realize that they wished they had invested in it.
The Messianic Era
Indeed, the perspective of the ultimate utopia, in the Judaic perspective is a time as described by Rambam (Laws of Kings 12:5):
“In that era, there will be neither famine or war, envy or competition for good will flow in abundance and all the delights will be freely available as dust. The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d.
Therefore, the Jews will be great sages and know the hidden matters, grasping the knowledge of their Creator according to the full extent of human potential, as Isaiah 11:9 states: ‘The world will be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the ocean bed.”
However, there seems to be an inherent problem in Rambam. Rambam is his description of the messianic era says (ibid 12:1-2)”
“Do not presume that in the Messianic age any facet of the world’s nature will change or there will be innovations in the work of creation. Rather, the world will continue according to its pattern…Our Sages taught: “There will be no difference between the current age and the Messianic era except the emancipation from our subjugation to the gentile kingdoms.””
Now, if the Jews “sole occupation” is studying Torah, and the whole of Eretz Yisrael is like a giant Kolel, “each under his fig tree and under his vine,” yet the world is living naturally, how is Israel supported? Why should the world invest in the Land of Israel and its people when it isn’t exporting anything of values?
What is their export and commodity that they are selling the world, that gives them the ability and the luxury of singular pursuit in Torah?
Or to put the question in other words: If Israel is existing at that point, not as a contributing member of civilization, but merely sitting in their tents and studying, why should the world invest in them, listen to them, and support their endeavor?
Yet, the essential messianic claim—even according to Rambam—is that it is a time when the Jewish empire will finally be supreme.
This is conveyed in the statement (Yalkut Shimoni, Yeshaya 503): “In the future, the land of Israel will spread to all the lands.”
This does not need to mean in the literal sense that the land of Israel spreads to all lands, but just as with the Roman empire, it spreads to wherever it places its flag, and its influence is expressed, the messianic claim is that at that time the Judaic empire and its flag will spread to the entirety of the world?
How does it expect to run its empire while it does nothing but study Torah? Indeed, why is the world beholden to it when it doesn’t participate at all? It would seem, that it would be better were better to cut out the middleman instead of supporting a nation of people that seem to be doing nothing for society?
Jerusalem says no; while today you might not see the value of “singular occupation in Torah study,” being a “yoshev ohel – a tent dweller,” instead you call us, barbarians and cave dwellers, eventually our empire will reign supreme, and the entire world will buy our product.
This is essentially in contrast to Rome, and its western values of civilization which says that it has the greatest commodity to sell.
Our commodity in the ultimate civilization of the messianic era—claims the Jew—is the pursuit of Torah study. What you view as something utterly valueless is, in fact, the commodity that all the world truly need and will come to realize its supreme value.
(Today, the Jew that instead of pursuing business, instead pursues Torah study, is in a certain sense living the messianic reality—if he does so honestly where he is not duplicitous in his statement that Torah is of supreme value.
The Jew sees the value of Torah study, even if involved in business. He nevertheless wishes to invest in Torah as well and forms a partnership of Yissachar and Zevulun. Although he doesn’t focus on Torah, he doesn’t deny that it is something valuable to invest in that has value to society.)
The Jew says, as expressed in the Talmud (Gittin 62) “Who are the kings? the Rabbis.” Meaning to say that most valuable commodity even from the perspective of civilization is the individual that is osek in Torah.
Not only does the Rabbi claim that religious acts should be done according to his words, but it claims that civilization should be built on it.
The Jew claims that their revelation in their tents is the most valuable commodity that there is, while the Romans say that their Torah babblings are just senseless nonsense and of no economical or civil value.
The Romans argue that for something to have a right to exist, they cannot be a leach on society and most at least impart *some* economic value.
R. Chanina they judge to be burned:
He is the one with the audacity to claim that his worthless babble of some G-dly revelation is of supreme value; his actions, therefore, cannot be tolerated.
It is one thing, to desire to cleave to G-d and be burned up with G-dly passion while abandoning the world, as they thought was Yaakov’s desire for Olam Habba, but they cannot tolerate that the Jew who thinks that his religion and revelations creates the ultimate civilization as well.
After all, they are the hunter-gatherer, and civilization builder, while Yaakov and his progeny, the Jew, is the guy who can’t even leave his cave.
They judge him to be burned. “If you seek to burn up with a passion with G-d, we’ll send you there on a one way flaming ticket,” they say, “but you cannot partake of this world as well.”
They judge his wife to be executed by sword: The Talmud explains (from G-d’s perspective) that she should have protested his behavior.
So too, the Romans said the same: “You facilitated his Torah study, you let him study, and waste his time, not being a healthy member of society, which shows that you too support his actions.” You should have protested with your voice, so that’s what we’ll chop off.
His daughter was consigned to a brothel: This too was an expression of the same point. To have a value in society, and to live, one must have something that they can barter and trade.
They claimed; even if you have nothing of value to offer, or commodity to produce, you do have one value, to sell your body The most degrading profession, is also the oldest one.
It is society claiming:
“You have no inherent dignity that tells us that we should support you, merely because of your human dignity. If you have something to sell, sell it. If there is a market trade and a fair trade of good and services, we see nothing wrong with selling your body. We’ll purchase your essential dignity, vulnerability and privacy, if you’re willing to sell it. As such, what is expressed in placing her into prostitution is that Torah pursuit is so valueless, that for a person of your stature the only contribution you have to make to society is through selling your very dignity and vulnerability.”
Slavery in Egypt
Israel goes through a similar journey is Egypt. Egypt has built an advanced civilization, and the question becomes “where is the Jews place in such a society?”
Egypt’s answer is that the Jew—and his value—are essentially valueless. He has no contribution to civilization, and he is essentially a caveman who refuses to leave his tent.
While they enslave the Jewish People, their slavery is not for purpose, but mainly to degrade them. They have them build buildings that cannot stand and give the men’s jobs to the women, and the women’s jobs to the men.
This expresses though, that the whole point of the slavery is *not* economic value, but only serves to degrade them. Until Israel leaves its cave, and continues to cleave to its desire for revelation, the only civil value that it serves is to be a slave to self-degradation.
Upon leaving Egypt though, after 40 days makes a similar claim, saying that their revelation in the desert is the revelation that not only is religious in nature but creates the greatest civilization.
Indeed, this is the heart of the reason why “Esav hates Yaakov” and why, out of so many religions, Judaism is so despised.
Judaism not only claims to have the greatest religion—as all religions do—but inherently believes that if only the world would follow its path for civilization the world would reach a state of utopia.
It is this claim about civilization that really bothers the world.
The world says to the Jew: “Here you are babbling and incessantly discussing this one book, never leaving your tent and discovering the world, and you claim that it holds the key to civilization? How would you know if you never left your cave?”
The Paradox of Man
The Jew though believes that while on one hand, his objective is to never leave the cave, and stay in the tent, he nevertheless is tasked with improving the world as well and creating the ultimate civilization.
This leads to a certain paradox in the story of humankind that is conveyed in the Torah’s story of Adam:
As expressed above, the journey of man to embark on civilization where he becomes sentient is when he questions the premise that life is as is, and exits the cave to discover life on his own.
The question essentially is: Is man better off before he questions, or after he questions?
The story of Adam in the Garden of Eden is about man the animal. He is the human creature in its original and natural form, the beast that G-d created, before man goes into the world, discovers and creates civilization.
He is living in the world, running around naked like all the animals, picking the fruit he desires, and experiencing the world without questioning it only living in his natural state and the “enlightenment” that he has before he questions anything.
That state can either be called the greatest state of natural enlightenment, or the opposite, the state of the cave-man living a jungle, believing some imagined myth that you can run around and do what you want and it will all be good, but if you eat the fruit of a tree at the center of the garden, the world will spiral into chaos. That is either the most enlightened notion, or the foolish ravings of a cave man.
The argument at play between Jerusalem and Rome is how do you view the initial state of history and the primal state of man as a creature in nature.
Rome views that state as an uncivilized and chaotic reality, while Judaism views it as a veritable Garden of Eden. Rome says, “eat from the fruit,” and don’t trust primitive religion of a cave-man who has never attempted to create a civilization, while the Jew says, that the world in its most natural and pristine state, before man complicates things, is a veritable garden of Eden.
The natural state of the world—says the Jew–is of complete harmony, where man and beast are in perfect step, and everything is working perfectly. The dance of nature is divine, and man needn’t do anything to it, to live in a state of perfection.
There is what to eat, drink, and it is all perfect. A human being can literally walk around completely expressive and naked, and there is no worry of crime, rape or anything else. There is only one directive, believe the “myth” unquestionably that there is a master to the garden and there is one fruit that you cannot touch.
Its belief is predicated on the premise that man did not create religion, it is not a fiction or a myth, but man in his most natural state is cognizant of G-d and the greatest enlightenment and truth. Rather than religion being the primal fiction that man creates, it says, the human in its natural state is not broken, but perfect. The revelation that it sees, and the religion that it is cognizant of, is not a fiction of the imagination but the very reality of nature.
Rather than man being the creature that *creates* religion, it is somewhat the opposite according to this perspective. Man, in his natural state has religion, and beliefs that he instinctively develops—like any other animal—it is when man questions these premises that he abandons religions.
(Indeed, we see in the animal kingdom that animals create religion and belief systems. Why shouldn’t they? They observe for example that an animal died and suddenly rained, so they create a belief system that correlates to that. Certain animals do rain dances, as they observe that after they danced rain came down, so they adapt that into a cultural belief.
Indeed, the atheist claim of religious belief that it is primitive, irrational and they are like a bunch of monkeys. However, that essentially expresses, that indeed, if man acts in merely its animal state it will believe in some belief system and attach himself to some religion. The “human-animal” believes in a god.)
It can be said that the first homo-sapiens that questioned the “religion” of cavemen and thought for himself and defied the premises of his “primitive myth” of the way things are to be done is the conceptual “first Adam” who commences the journey of civilization.
The disagreement though is how you view that first step.
Is this action the first step towards *building civilization and a true utopia* or is the action that destroys the pristine utopia of the natural world?
For example: In Artificial Intelligence where man creates an intelligent sentient creature, we end up with a doomsday dystopia when one essential thing happens; the machine questions that the human is the master.
If the machine knows that the human is the master, it need not be worried about the robot, as even if it is smarter and views the human’s ideas as foolish, it accepts the myth the master tells it.
When man creates a machine that can question man’s inherent supremacy, it is there that there is a danger of instead of the machine assisting in creating a utopia, it creates a hellish dystopia.
It is this ability though that man bequeathed to humankind—to question the supremacy of our creator—which hopefully man doesn’t give to an IA that is at the heart of man’s free choice.
Man has the ability to question the notions of the master to begin with, claim that they are a fiction, and create the world as it sees fit. It can choose to eat the fruit if it so desires, or do anything that it desires, and no G-d can force it to act differently.
This is expressed in the consumption of the tree of knowledge:
(Bereishit 3:5) “On the day that you eat thereof, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like angels, knowing good and evil,” and (ibid, 3:22) “Now the Lord G-d said, “Behold man has become like one of us, having the ability of knowing good and evil, and now, lest he stretch forth his hand and take also from the Tree of Life and eat and live forever.”
The essential consumption of the tree is the statement, “I know better than G-d about what is good and evil, and I don’t need him to make my own decisions. I can make my own decisions about what is good and evil.”
It is this state, where man stops accepting G-d’s definition for good and evil and makes his own that he transforms the Garden of Eden, a place working in symbiosis into a jungle of disharmony.
The Judaic perspective is that Adam-Man would have been better never questioning the premise, and deciding what is good and evil and eating from the tree, and instead continued to rely on his revelation that he is aware of naturally, of not eating from a certain tree.
The domino effect of his single action is to wreak chaos on everything. In a world where people rely on their wants and whims to decide good and evil (or what is a commodity), it is dangerous to walk around unclothed, as that would lead to the most basic of crimes.
This is as well is reflected in the argument between Rome and Jerusalem.
They view “uncivilized” man (Adam HaRishon) as a worthless ignorant beast, while Torah views first man as a perfectly enlightened creature living in the garden of Eden. Where we say, rely on the revelation, don’t sin and eat the fruit, they say, if I don’t go out of my cave and question my assumptions and try the fruit I will never grow into a civilized man.
It would seem then, that Torah believes that man should never have taken that initial step of questioning the premise of his reality.
It seems that it believes that it is better were man to have remained in his natural, and naked state in the garden of Eden without ever venturing out and creating civilization
However, this is not the case; the verse (Bereishit 2:3) states:
“And G-d blessed the seventh day and He hallowed it, for thereon He abstained from all His work that God created to do.”
The Midrash (Bereishit Rabba, 11:6) remarks that the verses statement “to do” conveys that man is tasked with the undertaking of repairing the world—improving the world by transforming it from a raw state to a cultivated one.
Each aspect of the world must be fixed and fashioned into a tool and man is given the mission of subjugating the world.
Ben Zoma remarked (Talmud, Berachot 58a) “How much effort did Adam the first man exert before he found bread to eat: He plowed, sowed, reaped, sheaved, threshed, winnowed in the wind, separated the grain from the chaff, ground the grain into flour, sifted, kneaded, and baked and only thereafter he ate. And I, on the other hand, wake up and find all of these prepared for me. Similarly, how much effort did Adam the first man exert before he found a garment to wear? He sheared, laundered, combed, spun and wove, and only thereafter he found a garment to wear. And I, on the other hand, wake up and find all of these prepared for me. Members of all nations, merchants and craftsmen, diligently come to the entrance of my home, and I wake up and find all of these before me.”
On one hand, man must improve the world, create a civilization, and on the other hand, his eternal guide should be the received revelation of the Torah.
This is essentially the argument conveyed in our initial discussion of the argument between Rome and Jerusalem.
Rome says that we must build civilizations, and the revelation of Torah is the talk of cavemen that has no importance in creating civilization and Jerusalem says that they are dead wrong.
“The Torah of Your mouth is better for me than thousands of gold and silver,” and “I abandon all trades in the world and only teach my son Torah.”
Torah is the true commodity and focus in it leads to building the ultimate utopia of the messianic era – may it be speedily in our times!