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  • Writer's pictureCorbin Allardice

August 13, 1911

It is immoral to live an unselfconscious life. It is not permitted for one’s life to be determined by the blind forces of inheritance, habit, and influence, in other words, one is not permitted to believe in the self, and to take the self as an absolute. It is a lie, no one is absolute--absolutely worthy.

But what is self consciousness? But how, if you never believe yourself, if you kill every decision, every idea at the moment it is born, how is that not blasphemy? In your own eyes, you are absolutely worthless, but it does not follow from that that you have nullified the image of God [צלם אלוהים] which is necessarily within you.

We must be attentive to the divine in the self, as to the divine in the human and in the world. Cynicism is still cynicism, even you yourself are the offering.

The question stands: have I risen to holy reverence for the world, for I surely know not of reverence for the self. But is that not a false, artificial separation? The cynic is cynical unto everyone, and the pious man--pious unto every man. Those of a religious nature are full of faith and wonder also toward themselves, therefore they know that God is everywhere, even in them. Out of every life there issues a path to the Devil, but so too--to God. He who scorns and abases himself endlessly, he scorns and abases the holy in himself. That is a great sin.

He who does not believe in redemption--will not be redeemed. Despairing is a sin. But he who sees in himself at least a single spark of the divine may struggle. A spark can become a flame. “Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death” know only of death and gnashing teeth.*

But is the spark in me? Perhaps there is

“darkness there and nothing more?”**

By Moyshe Varshe

Translated by Corbin Allardice

*- Psalm 107:10, KJV. “יושבי חשך וצלמות”

**- From Poe’s “The Raven,” written in English in the original.

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