Spiritual Life: Not just a problem in Hollywood

PUBLISHED: 08:00 28 October 2017


Back in the 18th century, Mozart wrote two of his greatest operas, Figaro and Don Giovanni.

In both, a rich, powerful but immoral man (the Count and the Don) are serial seducers of beautiful young women, falsely promising them love, wealth and luxury.

A century later, two more operas, set in gay Paris (Traviata and La Bohème), show us how, driven by extreme poverty and the desire for security, luxury and high society, the two young and beautiful heroines sell themselves as the mistresses of rich old men.

Older members of my synagogue have told me that just a few decades ago, it was not exactly unknown for young working women to be propositioned, bullied or even assaulted by their older bosses who had power over their jobs, salaries and promotion prospects.

Apparently this took place not just in the glamorous film and music industries, but also in ordinary offices, colleges, hospitals and even in churches!

Judaism teaches that within all of us we have the desire to do wrong, called our Yetzer. But equally, we all have altruistic desires to do what we know to be right and good. Moreover, the more gifted and powerful the man, the stronger is his Evil Inclination.

But equally, we all possess free will, we have the capacity to make moral choices.

May God give all of us, men and women, Hollywood celebrities and ordinary Ilford people, better knowledge of our own moral weaknesses and the power to control them, so that our weaknesses do not control and ultimately destroy us.

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