Prophets, Joshua, 8:29: And the king of Ai he hanged on a gallows until evening, and as the sun set, Joshua commanded, and they took his carcass down from the gallows, and they threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and raised upon it a great heap of stones to this day.
Hanging, strangling, this is not the biggest correction of egoism. The complete destruction of egoistic desires in a person is through burning. Hanging is only depriving egoism of its animalistic existence, i.e., one of the execution methods when a person is deprived of any opportunity for spiritual rebirth.
Question: It is written: “They threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and raised upon it a great heap of stones.” What are these monuments?
Answer: Indeed, why erect monuments to egoism? The fact is that this is not done for the sake of egoism, but for a person in whom a beaten, mortified, hanged egoism exists, and he must remember it so that this will never happen again.
All this is done for future generations and not for the person himself, because the desire called “the owner of the city” has already been killed in him.
Question: It is very popular in the world today to erect monuments to the departed and living people, monuments to victory, and so on. Is it possible that this tradition comes from here?
Answer: No, this was customary in humanity even before the Torah was written. People like to eternalize themselves because egoism wants this even though in the end there will be nothing left of it. That is why it has a desire to somehow glorify itself.
Question: Why is Judaism against monuments?
Answer: We must remember not the person but his actions. And not his actions in the past but those that he conveys to us in the present.
It is customary in our generation that we keep photos, paintings, and portraits. Yet in general, there is absolutely no need for all that. I did not see any images in my teacher’s house: neither of his father, nor of other people, none. These are all just modern habits.
Question: Can we say that this is serving idols?
Answer: Of course. In some ways, it is. What does it give you if you look at a face? By doing this, you replace the correct state of coming closer internally with something external. The connection of the hearts is an absolutely internal action.
Question: What is the difference between a heap of stones and an image?
Answer: A heap of stones reminds us that here we have done away with egoism. The image, on the contrary, says that egoism is still among us, and by this we seemingly exalt it.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 7/19/21