Monday, October 26, 2009

Marx, Spinoza, Freud and Avraham

I know I seem to be quoting the British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks a lot, but this reading of Lech Lecha in which he contrasts the call for Avraham to undertake a spiritual journey with critiques of Marx, Spinoza and Freud on inherent human nature is simply fantastic.

“Marx said that man is a product of social forces, themselves shaped by the interests of the ruling class, the owners of property of which the most significant is land. Therefore G-d said to Abraham, Leave your land.

Spinoza said that man is made by innate instincts and biological drives (nowadays this is called genetic determinism) given by birth. Therefore G-d said to Abraham, Leave the circumstances of your birth.

Freud said that we are the way we are because of the traumas of childhood, the influence of our early years, our relationships and rivalries with our parents, especially our father. Therefore G-d said to Abraham, Leave your father’s house.

G-d commands Abraham: ‘Free yourself of the Marxian determinism of land, the Spinozistic determinism of genetic birthplace, and the Freudian determinism of parental home. All of these will have an influence, but human freedom emanating from our being children of a G-d of love will empower us to transcend these limitations and create a more perfect society.”

Original from


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