As Rabbi Feldman goes on, the Torah’s teachings “…enable us to construct and maintain self-discipline and self-control, and ultimately to metamorphose into a mensch. For one of the underlying purposes of Torah is to tame the savage beast within us and to transform us into responsible human beings with a conscience that enables us to differentiate right from wrong.”
Man is a base creature with the same drives as the common beast. He was brought into the world with an inclination to do evil. However, he was also brought into the world with an inclination to do good. The goal and purpose of mitzvot is to lift man from the pure physicality of the animal world and allow him to exist in a world of the spiritual, a world in which God’s goodness is evident. We know that the performance of mitzvot elevates man to a higher level.
Just as behaviors change who we are for the good, so too can they change who we are for the bad. In this way, video games, by immersing the player in the action and rewarding evil rather than good, changes the player. If the gamer does not become more violent by virtue of his experience, he becomes desensitized to the violence around him.
Either way, he falls farther and farther from the ideal of the Torah life and closer and closer to a world in which the wanton murder of innocents is no more than a tree falling in the forest.
About the Author: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is an educator, author and lecturer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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