Mussar: Simplicity Part 2

Right in Front of our eyes

Have you experienced one of those moments where you spend 30 minutes looking for your glasses that are on your head or Scavenging through your bedroom looking for your phone that was in your pocket the whole time? Or worse yet you are looking for your phone at the same time you are talking to someone on your phone. Been there done that!

We have all experienced these moments where we are looking intently for something that has been right in front of our eyes the entire time.

Simplicity is not easy but simple! We have a tendency to make things far more complicated than they need to be. There are things in our life that are general complicated, nevertheless almost all ethical, moral, and spiritual issues in life that we often agonize over are probably as simple as looking in your pocket for your phone or on your head for your glasses. G-D has given us good life instruction for peace, prosperity, and happiness. Many times we try to find the solution to major problems by running around looking in the wrong places for answers when the correct answers are right in front of our eyes.

The Simplicity of Speech

In my academic studies I have read a few PHD level books. These books are often filled with long words and sentence structure that becomes unreadable to many. I sometimes find myself reading a paragraph a number of times just to get the basic meaning of the text. As a culture we place a premium value on high education and mental capacity. The greater the oratory skills the more intelligent they sound. This idea could not be further from the teachings of the Scriptures. Scripture values simple G-D given wisdom far more than a ones mental capacity. In fact Scripture has very little positive to say regarding a person’s intelligence.

Proverbs 1:5 “let the wise listen and increase learning and the discerning obtain wise counsel.”

Proverbs 12:15 “A fool’s way is right in his own eyes, but the wise listen to advice.”

The wise are those who speak little and listen much. When we do speak the most effective way of communicating ideas is through simple language. It takes far more creativity and talent to communicate PHD level material to a 2nd grader than it does to make 2nd grade material sound like PHD level stuff.

Jesus and the rabbis taught through parables; stories that relayed the human condition to the average Joe. There are deep and difficult ideas that are often dealt with, but the Masters presentation is simple and direct. PHD level language only speaks to fellow PHD folks. Speaking profound truths in a simplistic and easy to comprehend manner speaks to everyone.

Back to the Basics

Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good, and what Ad-nai is seeking from you: Only to practice justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your G-d.

Micah 6:8 is one of my favorite versus in the Bible. It reminds me that even in our spiritual walk we have complicated matters tremendously. We mistakenly believe that what G-D desires most is our doctrinal positions or the how rigorous we are in our observance of the least of the commandments.

Allow me to use a music as an example of our spiritual walk! I read an article a couple of months back on Mike Patton the lead vocalists of the 90’s rock band Faith No More. In the article Mike Patton as named the best vocalist in the world. The reason being his vocal range! He can hit eight octaves. This is truly impressive! This reminds me of someone so academically skilled in the Bible that they can receipt virtually any passage chapter and verse from memory. This is another impressive skill. But when I think of Mike Patton’s voice I do not find it overly pleasant to listen to. I would much rather listen to the vocal skills of Beres Hammond, Dennis Brown, or Kelly Clarkson.

What makes their voices so pleasant to listen to is the heart and feeling behind it. The same can be said for one of the greatest guitarists of the past century, Stevie Ray Vaughn. His feeling and emotion was off the charts. The same can be said of our relationship with G-D. What He desires most is our hearts service to Him and to others. The soul trait of simplicity is a call to return to the basics in our service of G-D. Simple obedience with passion!

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