Torah, Deuteronomy 13:13 – 13:16: If thou shalt hear tell concerning one of thy cities, which the Lord thy God giveth thee to dwell there, saying: “Certain base fellows are gone out from the midst of thee, and have drawn away the inhabitants of their city, saying: Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known”; then shalt thou inquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in the midst of thee; thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.
We can’t interpret the Torah literally because it speaks only about spiritual qualities and spiritual states of a person. If it is written, “Smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword,” it doesn’t mean that it really happened that way.
To smite means to eliminate egoistic intentions within you: not the desires, they are all correct, but the intentions became egoistic. They must be cut off, as if with the edge of the sword.
There are four levels of desires: still, vegetative, animate, and human. Depending on what level the desire belongs, it should be either slaughtered, burned, or stoned, and so on.
It means that first of all, it is necessary to determine the level of the desire. Therefore, you should ask a person to figure it out and help him determine what it is. After all, you can’t climb into him and switch his intention from “for my own sake” to “for the sake of others.” You must make sure that he himself would perform this switch. This is a correction.
It is written in the Torah that “have drawn away the inhabitants of their city,” meaning they started to fall from the level of bestowal and unconditional love for one’s neighbor. After all, once the most important thing for society was the love of one’s neighbor and bestowal. “We” prevailed over the personal “I,” which was suppressed by each one.
We all move to correction; therefore, executions and punishments that the Torah speaks about are the punishments for all sorts of egoistic problems that are revealed and must be corrected by the influence of the environment, pressure, and education.
If suddenly the “I” begins to manifest in a person and he, driven by his egoism, draws others into it, arguing that this is the way we need to act, he should kill these impulses within himself. The society must care about it, worry, and prevent these states.
It is written, “Certain base fellows … from the midst of thee.” “The midst of thee” is the qualities of bestowal and love, and “certain base fellows” are the egoistic desires that lead a person to other gods, other values. Therefore, a person shouldn’t just act against them, but should clarify their internal motivation: where does it lead, where it came from, why does he suddenly have this weakness? After all, egoism is renewed in each of us every second.
One should understand clearly what to do. This is a very big job and the society must constantly protect each individual, help, inspire, strengthen, and support him.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 7/20/16