Jewish Journal


November 27, 2012

The Fallacy of Misplacement



By Michael Welch

How often have I misrepresented the truth with words? Abiding by commands--be them the commands of G-d or the commands of my fellow man--have not been good enough.

When I'm asked to be “of service,” I find myself consistently molding the particular situation to serve me. Recently, I was asked to participate in an event that I was less than enthusiastic about. I immediately thought about what I could get out of it, what I have already invested, what I needed from this person, and what this person has done for me in the past. I had an aggressive back in forth within myself; I selfishly placed myself into resentment before I could even respond coherently. I could easily argue that I'm in no control of my internal thought processes, although teachings at Beit T’Shuvah could prove this argument fallacious. The thoughts tend to be both consuming and perceptually challenging at times. The solution is not to silence the thoughts, but to instead proceed to the most correct action.

My potential for calculated manipulation is not abnormal. Abraham Joshua Heschel implores:

“We are guilty of committing the fallacy of misplacement. We define self-reliance and call it faith, shrewdness and call it wisdom, anthropology and call it ethics, literature and call it Bible, inner security and call it religion, conscience and call it G-d.”

I am admitting my guilt to perfecting this behavior. I am admitting that I substitute my beliefs for faith, and my communication for duplicity. As time tells us, nothing can bear hardship that is false or counterfeit. My quest is to re-discover the language of honesty and truth without personal scrutiny or biased interpretation. We all speak the language that Heschel described. Admitting it, however, is just too responsible of a notion.


*This Sunday, we are so excited to present Sing to Save a Soul, a concert where Cantors from the Jewish community come together to sing entertaining and secular repertoire in order to benefit the residents of Beit T’shuvah.  Bring your family and friends and get your tickets today! Info can be found on the Beit T’Shuvah homepage at www.beittshuvah.org in the announcements section.

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