Issue 16 | Parshat Netzavim | Denial Anonymous



Concealing the Concealment

Who first conceived of the psychological phenomenon called “denial?” The concept is commonly attributed to Sigmund Freud in the last century, who explained denial as a defense against external realities that threaten the ego or are too uncomfortable to accept. But would you believe that the idea was actually presented by someone who lived a few centuries ago, a person hardly recognized by anybody as a psychological giant, though that is exactly what he was. In fact, he traces the idea of denial back to a verse in this week’s Torah chapter, written over 3000 years ago!

Indeed, as we shall see, the true nature of denial is far more than just denying the reality of an uncomfortable situation. It reflects the human condition as a whole and the very nature of existence itself. And even more astonishing is the fact that denial has a deeper purpose: despite the profound distortions created by denial, within the throes of its core – in the inside kishkes of “denial,” call it the soul of denial – lies immense power, which, when channeled, can change worlds.


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