Wednesday, 24 June 2009

We Are Both Jews

We receive all kinds of questions and comments. This latest email has a theme that begs an answer.

A Jewish woman, we will call her Ruth, sent a message as follows:
"I am proud of being of the Jewish nation, but I am not religious. My faith consists of parts of many religions including Judaism, Tibetan Buddhism and Christianity so I have no problem feeling like a citizen of the world. Whatever teaching I love, and who match my view of God and life, I take in. My view of Judaism is simply different than yours, but I am no less Jewish than you."

Let us take a look at the ways in which we as Jewish women are the same, how we may differ and what our common path is.

A person who is a Jew, is comprised of a Jewish soul, which is a part of G-d Himself, enclothed in a physical body. The purpose of coming into a body is in order to perform mitzvos a mystical method of repairing the world and preparing it to be a Dwelling Place for G-d to live in this the lowest of worlds. According to this, every Jew, whether they are observant, not observant, irreligious, dabling in other religions or do not even know who they are, are still a Jew 100%. The only difference between a Jew who practises as a Jew and one who does not is akin to a student at school who works methodically towards the common goal of learning all he can and passing his tests and one who spends his days in school playing around and doing everything but learning the given lessons. Both are still school students, just one is focused on the path and the other is involved in other activities. Will the second student be successful in life. He could or he might not. There are times that a person who spends his time playing and doing other tasks, does somehow learn and develop, however his path will be more challenging in a certain respect, more vague, but eventually he can come too to the path set out for both of them.

We are both Jewish women and both feeling the exile that our Jewish Nation is in. Ruth feels itn this pain or difficulty draws her to search for what she can relate to as G-d. I too am searching for the True G-d. Actually, I have learned a bit about other religions. However, by Divine Intervention I began to learn what Judaism offers. The real truth is that all the wonderful spiritual insights that inspire us and keep us connected with our true path are to be found in Torah and the Jewish way of life.

Our common path then is to find the Truth and to be a Light Unto the Nations.

However, through my own path I did come to recognise what the first 2 of the 10 Statements, Utterances or Commandments really teach us. The first says that
"I am the Lord your G-d who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your G-d"
The second states:
"There shall be no other g-d's besides me"

If we truely internalise these statements, we learn who G-d is, the real G-d, the true, living G-d. G-d the G-d of the Jews is a personal G-d. He is the One that brought us out of an overwhelming slavery to a freedom that including receiving the Torah and thus learning how to serve Him. He brought us out with an outstretched arm, amidst open miracles, demonstrating to all that He is in charge and can over turn any man made plan, scheme or man made magic. He is above nature and can even provide a plague of lice (smaller than the magic Pharoah and his magicians could perform) and a plague with fire that was within hail. G-d is everything and nothing.

As He answered Moshe Rabeinu when asking His name, G-d said that He is The Name that means "He was, He is and He always will be." How can we understand this? This name is very mystical and no-one really understands it completely, however there is a simple beautiful message. G-d is there for and with us, even before we recognize and appreciate there is a G-d or who He is. He is with us when we begin to step onto the path of finding Truth. And, even after we think we know the truth, He is still there, the same G-d absolutely unchaged and able to guide us even higher.

Now the second statement. Since G-d is all powerful and all encompassing and a very personal G-d, we really have not need to search for other g-ds. But to those who are as yet unable to grasp the totality of the first utterance, G-d reminds us. Dont go learning the practices of the other nations. Dont go learning about idolatry or other g-ds. As Avraham Our father taught us in the story when he was put in charge of his father's shop.

We are taught that Avraham Avinu's father had an shop where he sold idols. All kinds of idols, all sizes, shapes etc. One day he was left in charge of this shop while his father had an errand to run. He would ask the customers various questions, including their age. One man of 50 years old, Avraham Avinu asked how he could want to purchase an idol made just the day before that was much younger than he was. The man thought about this and left.

Someone came in bringing a bowl of oats or some food item to offer to the idols. Avraham accepted the bowl and then took a large piece of wood. With this wood he smashed the idols leaving only the largest idol, in front of which he placed the bowl and placed teh piece of wood in his hand.

When his father returned, he asked Avraham what had happened. Avraham explained that someone had brought the bowl with food as an offering and there was a fight as to which idol would accept and eat the food. In the end the largest idol won, and the result was the destruction to be seen. Avraham's father then stated that that could not have been. The idols are merely pieces of wood that have been crafted in the form of statues. They do not eat or drink or think or fight. In essence they do nothing more than stand in the place we as humans place them.

When it comes to which G-d to follow, there is only one option. The True Living G-d, He is the only One to help us and the only One to follow. Not only is He the only One but the Torah warns us that He is a jealous G-d.

One point that you mention that you believe that you can be a citizen of the world is that to be a Jew means to be separate, as in accordance with the profecy of Balam who said taht they are a nation that dwell alone. as the Torah teaches, G-d said that He has separated us from the nations of the world. Therefore to really be a Jew, means to be separate and removed from all the behaviour and practices of the non-Jewish world.

Yes, anyone born a Jew is a Jew from the day of their birth to they day of their death and beyond. More than that it is the responsibility of every Jew to put in the effort to find out the Truth regarding our G-d and to serve Him and Him alone.

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