The writings of strictly orthodox rabbis leave no doubt – they spiritually accept the Jewish life style of non-religious, secular Jews, who do not follow the Jewish tradition, and they spiritually reject the Jewish life style of less orthodox Jews, who follow their own Jewish tradition (reform, conservative and even modern orthodox).
To understand why it is so, we have to remember the two keystones of Judaism as a religion in general. Those two keystones are the faith and the tradition.
The faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
The faith is what every person obtains directly from the “Above Supreme Power”, which the great human majority calls God. Most probably, the faith is genetically codified. The very essence of the faith is not just a belief in the existence of All-Mighty God – most importantly, it is a God-given ability to distinguish between what is right in human behavior and should be protected and enhanced and what is wrong and should be weakened and defeated.
The people’s majority is born with the faith transferred from generation to generation in the family and spiritual community. No rabbi or priest, no education system can change or recreate the faith in a person. The probable nature of genetic trials can make some in a family a “stranger” – without a family/community faith. Those “strangers” may easily leave their family and community.
The individuals born with certain faith (Jewish, Christian, etc.) are looking for the communities of the same faith to defend and strengthen their faith – together! The rabbis and priests are vital in preserving the faith – they preserve the faith by creating and guarding the tradition.
The rabbis and priests are authorities in the tradition, which is very important in nurturing and nourishing the faith.
Various religious denominations in Judaism distinguish themselves by different traditions, which are to strengthen human communications with God and – through the communications – find the understanding of what is good and bad for everything in always changing economic, political and social environments.
In the area of communications with God, the rabbis are competing with each other. They are competing by modernizing the tradition (prayers, life style, family and community ceremonies, spiritual involvement with the non-Jews) to make the tradition more understandable and usable for the Jews – to make more attractive the very spirit of God’s guidance in the Torah.
Of course, the strictly orthodox rabbis believe only they are true interpreters of God’s guidance, and only the tradition in their interpretation may connect the Jews with God. They are fiercely fighting the less orthodox Jews and their rabbis to preserve the strictly orthodox monopoly on the tradition.
The secular Jews are not modernizing the tradition – they just do not follow it whatever it may be. The secular Jews are not competing with the strictly orthodox Jews and their rabbis. Thus, the secular Jews are not the danger to the strictly orthodox religious monopoly, and that is why the strictly orthodox Jews and their rabbis respect secular Jews.
The less orthodox Jews and their rabbis are the danger – they are challenging the monopoly on the tradition – the monopoly on interpreting the God guidance codified in the Torah. That is why the strictly orthodox Jews and their rabbis detest the less orthodox.
From the news media:
On the eve of Pope Francis’s visit to Auschwitz, a US rabbi has called on him to remove a Catholic church from the premises of the Nazi death camp. The letter sent from Rabbi Avi Weiss, national president of AMCHA-Coalition for Jewish Concerns. Weiss says the presence of the church at the former death camp site is a “clear violation” of a 1987 agreement between Roman Catholic cardinals and Jewish leaders, which he says “stipulates in clear language that ‘there will be no permanent Catholic place of worship on the site of the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps.’”
Rabbi Weiss is wrong, and the World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder is right.
From the news media:
Pope Francis visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau former Nazi death camp in Poland, in what the World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said was an important signal to the world.
In a statement Friday, Lauder praised the pontiff, who has forged ever-closer ties between the Catholic Church and Jews since his election in 2013. “Pope Francis is one of the closest allies Jews have today in the fight against anti-Semitism, bigotry and hatred,” Lauder said. “He is a true friend of the Jewish people, a man who reaches out to others and embraces them. Never over the past 2,000 years have Catholic-Jewish relations been better.” The pope’s visit “sends an important signal to the world that this dark chapter must never be forgotten and that the truth about what happened seven decades ago must not be obfuscated,” Lauder added.
The late pontiff John Paul II, who was born in Poland, visited Auschwitz in 1979. His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, visited in 2006. “Pope John Paul II came here as a son of the Polish people,” Benedictus said. “I come here today as a son of the German people. For this very reason, I can and must echo his words: I could not fail to come here.”
I am, the author of this post, commenting on Holocaust-related events not as a historian, a rabbi or a spiritual philosopher – I am commenting on these events as a Jew who belong to the community of Holocaust survivors whose extended family lost about 30 people in Holocaust.
Yes, I know the local people who called themselves Christians murdered most of my expended family – yes, mostly locals who followed their dark anti-Semitic inclinations did it. Why? The answer is well known – before the WWII, we had almost no friends among the Christians to defend us the Jews as members of the God’s human community – or even as the people, who created the foundation of Christian faith. It was not our fault that we did not have Christian friends – that is how the history has played itself for the last two millenniums.
However, the WWII and Holocaust, and then Islamic assault on the “infidels” who are mostly the Jews and Christians, created a spiritual environment for spiritual unification of Jews and Christians in a contemporary Judeo-Christian civilization. That is the only way to make future holocausts almost impossible.
Nevertheless, many rabbis still prefer having their communities isolated from the entire Judeo-Christian world and Rabbi Weiss has acted as a sort of their representative. It looks like, those rabbis believe that the Jewish faith is not strong enough to not only survive but also flourish in the presence of other challenging faiths. However, that is contrary to the Torah guidance and the mission of Jewish people as the Chosen.
I am with a non-rabbi Ronald Lauder and with former President of World Jewish Congress Edgar Bronfman who believe in a strong Jewish faith capable to flourish and advance itself in the Judeo-Christian realm and be spiritually friendly with Christianity and Christian people. That is the only way for creating a better world for everybody and eliminating the possibility of future holocausts.
We the Jews have to encourage the Christian leaders to visit Auschwitz, to pray with us, to create various spiritual Judeo-Christian organizations for fighting anti-Semitism and advancing a framework for building a better world for everybody with everybody.
The disagreements among Jews on almost everything is not something new – it has been always an important feature of Jewish character. From the very beginning, various Jewish groups were competing with each other for a “right way” of following the God’s guidance (codified in the Torah) in always challenging and changing life circumstances. During the Moses’ times: enter or not to enter the Promised Land? During the Roman times: fight the Roman political rule or not to fight? And nowadays: should an individual define himself whether he/she is a Jew or somebody else should tell him/her who he/she is?
From the very beginning, the Jews were split on how to define “a right way” of following the God’s guidance that is codified in the Torah.
If an individual Jew believes he/she is made indeed in the image and likeness of God, he or she is searching individually for “a right way”. The Jews, who have found similar “right ways”, form a collective to compete, hopefully peacefully, with other Jewish collectives. In the past, they were Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots and Sicarii; nowadays the Jews are split between various Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Atheist movements.
However, many rabbis believe that a simple Jew is not able to search for “a right way” individually – a rabbi has to tell him or her what is right and what is wrong. It looks like those rabbis believe only they are made in the image and likeness of God and therefore are capable to search and find God’s “right way”.
From the news media by Dr. Afshine Emrani:
I’m a proud Jew who loves to shine the Jewish light onto the nations. But today, the Israeli Chief rabbinate rejection of this remarkable woman, Ivanka Trump, makes me put my head down in shame. Rabbi Lookstein who performed the conversion is a former Rabbi of one of the leading Orthodox synagogues in Manhattan and former principal of one of the preeminent Modern Orthodox schools, the Ramaz School. The decision of the Israeli religious court to reject Ivanka’s conversion to Judaism by this highly qualified and well respected Rabbi is a slap in the face to all Jews. This action is nothing short of religious dictatorship. I lived in Iran, I know. I recall how the Mullahs ruled. It’s the scream to stay in absolute power. It’s the tyrannical desire to rule the masses. It’s about the power to twist text into financial gains.
Thus, Ivanka Trump, who was not Jewish by birth, and a Jew by birth Jared Kushner have decided to build a Jewish family making this decision themselves, as human individuals made in the image and likeness of God, and Orthodox rabbi Lookstein taught them how to build a true Torah-guided Jewish family. Suddenly, the Orthodox rabbinic establishment of Israel got irritated by this new Jewish family and by their rabbi-teacher and declared only they have the authority to make a family Jewish. In other words, the Jewish Orthodox rabbinic establishment declared that a new Jewish family have to be in an image of God this establishment has created for a Jewish family – not in an image of God a Jewish family creates for itself individually.
From the news media by Rabbi Baruch Efrati:
The secular world and the observant world live side by side. The non-observant … are open to tikkun because of the light spilling over from the religious world existing beside them and their sacrifices for the Jewish people. The secular Jewish world does not want to take over the religious world from a theological point of view, but to live beside it – hence, the possibility of influencing that world, listening to its hearts’ desires, elevating its holy sparks to their heavenly source. The secular are actually non-observant Orthodox, they do not present an alternative organized religion that turns transgressions into an ideology intended to take the place of the Torah. … In contrast, the Reform Movement has a “progressive” ideology that wishes to exchange the Oral Law’s G-d-given message. It does not wish to ask questions about the Torah but to create a religious empire of its own. It has an organized theology that grants legitimacy to transgressions and turns them into religion. There is no possibility of living side by side, but a theological battle over who will lead the nation. Our dialogue is thus one between enemies, not lovers. It is either we or them, the holy or the ritually impure and their ideological rebellion against the Oral Law.
Thus, the Jewish Orthodox rabbinic establishment believes the non-religious, secular Jews are OK but the non-Orthodox religious people are … close to devilish ones. Both the non-religious secular and non-orthodox religious Jews have defined their God-guided Jewish way of life based on their own individual interpretation of the image of God codified in the Torah. However, the Jewish Orthodox rabbinic establishment want all Jews to be modeled in their own rabbinic image of God – not in the true image of God in the great variety of possible images a “Chosen” Jew can chose for him/her-self to create his/her own Jewish way of life that reflects an individual life circumstance.
In my last post “Spiritually Jewish and non-Jewish Globalization”, I wrote:
The current blacks-against-whites rebellion in the USA is the result of this “non-Jewish” internal US globalization: the mighty US government is forcing some citizens who are happened to be racially black to follow “globalization rules” which are foreign to them. This rebellion has nothing to do with race relations. Those blacks who are guided in their lives by American-type Judeo-Christian moral rules, and there are many of them, live happily in America. The rebels are those, and there are many of them as well, who hate the American-type Judeo-Christian moral rules. Unfortunately, politically correct politicians are afraid of recognizing this, or using this to their advantage.
Israel has a similar – Arabs-against-Jews – rebellion. However, Israel is much more successful in managing the danger of the rebellion since Israel has correctly diagnosed the roots of the danger while the USA politically correct establishment is scared of recognizing them.
From the news media:
The deaths of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile join the ongoing, devastating list of black men, women and children killed by police who did not have to take their lives. … These deaths, like the ones that came before them, communicate to black and brown people that their lives can be taken at whim by officers who have shown that they will not hesitate to do so … This systemic injustice and institutional violence should horrify everyone.
The news media repeats the politically correct but factually wrong diagnosis of the roots of the rebellion – they say that is a rebellion against white police racial brutality committed against innocent black people. That is an opinion of the politically correct establishment, which is far away from the true roots of the rebellion proclaimed by the rebels themselves.
Here how members of “Black Lives Matter” describe the goal of their movement:
We are working to (re)build the Black liberation movement. We have a Black Radical Tradition to build on. Our tradition of militant fight back has been anchored in five ideological tendencies that are most often woven together in the thought and practice of any given individual, organization, or movement. These are: Black liberation theology, Pan-Africanism, Nationalism, Feminism, and Socialism.
The message is clear: we the rebels who happened to be mostly black have spiritually nothing in common with you the majority of US citizens who happened to be mostly white. We do not want to join you and have our lives governed and restricted by your American-style Judeo-Christian rules. We want to be independent within your country living under the rules of Black liberation theology, Pan-Africanism and Nationalism.
The same message is coming from the Arabs in Palestine concerning the State of Israel and Jews. Here is how the Hamas Charter is outlining the movement founding identity, stand, and aims:
The struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious and calls for the eventual creation of an Islamic state in Palestine, in place of Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and the obliteration or dissolution of Israel. There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. Renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion of Islam.
The Hamas Covenant follows the ideology of the Palestinian National Charter, which says:
The Arab Palestinian people, expressing themselves by the armed Palestinian revolution, reject all solutions, which are substitutes for the total liberation of Palestine and reject all proposals aiming at the liquidation of the Palestinian problem, or its internationalization.
Here the message is clear as well: we the Arabs of Palestine have spiritually nothing in common with you the Jews of Palestine in the state of Israel. We do not want to join you and have our lives governed and restricted by your Jewish rules. We want to live without you the Jews under the Muslim rules of Sharia.
Thus in Israel and USA there are groups of people who are fighting for the right to be guided in their lives by their own rules, which are incompatible with the rules of the country great majority – in Israel, the rules of Judaism; in USA, the American-style Judeo-Christian rules. There is no way to force them to respect and follow the law of the countries where they reside.
It looks like now there is no solution that can satisfy both sides – the Jewish majority in Israel and its Arab rebels, and Judeo-Christian majority in USA and its Black rebels. If it is so, we, the majority in Israel and USA, have to wait patiently until an acceptable solution is born. What to do now?
Israel has developed a successful “waiting strategy”, which is to crash immediately any rebellion action, to prevent any hope that rebellion actions may work – with no time limits on the waiting. That is no negotiations with the rebels – let them first realize their rebellion has no chance to succeed and then to accept a limited internal independence suggested by Israel.
The US political establishment has not been able to acknowledge that all their actions for the last six decades to make various black rebellious movements respect and follow the American-style Judeo-Christian way of life, such as the affirmative actions, numerous welfare programs, “Obama’s money and phones”, and harsh police punishment for presumed harsh treatment of black law offenders, have failed. The rebellion mood in anti-American black movements (fortunately, many blacks are not in those movements) is growing. America has to pay attention to the Israel’s way to deal with internal rebellious groups and to elect a new government capable to learn and act.
Is the globalization a Jewish Torah-guided idea? The answer is YES or NO depending on how the very idea of globalization is defined.
The answer is YES if the very idea of globalization is to let each participant in a globalization union enhance its unique way of life using advanced achievements of the others in the union. In a globalization union, countries with different historic traditions and political systems peacefully compete with each other – based on a set of mutually accepted rules of engagement that allows each competing country to preserve its own way of life. Such globalization creates favorable conditions for the Jewish people to demonstrate, in cooperation with the Judeo-Christian communities, great spiritual and material benefits of the Torah/Bible-guided way of building a better world for everybody. Such globalization is spiritually Jewish.
Contemporary examples of the spiritually Jewish globalization are a young USA, a young UN, and a young EU. A young USA was globalizing by imposing the US global-federal rules on all US states-participants. Those rules were minimal and did not inhibit each state in the union from preserving and enhancing its unique way of life. The leadership of a young UN and a young EU did not impose on their states-participants any severe rules, which might suppress their unique ways of life as well.
The answer is NO if the very idea of globalization is a political arrangement aimed at forcing countries and peoples with different historic traditions and political systems to follow one set of rules imposed on them by the rulers of a “globalization empire”. If that is the case, the Jewish people and the State of Israel would suffer since the Jews would be forced to follow the globalization rules – not their tradition. Globalization defined this way is not spiritually Jewish.
The recent history has had many examples of spiritually non-Jewish globalization.
Hitler tried to globalize Europe by imposing on the countries of Europe the dictatorship of Nazi ideology. The Jews suffered enormously with the six millions slaughtered in Holocaust.
Stalin tried to globalize Europe and the world by imposing on many countries of Europe and the world the dictatorship of Communist ideology. Although some Jews were among the enforcers of this dictatorship, the Jewish people suffered enormously because their religion, spirituality and tradition were considered hostile to the regime and therefore suppressed.
Unfortunately, a nowadays USA, a nowadays UN, and a nowadays EU are examples of globalization that suppresses the unique traditions of their countries-participants.
This suppression is justified by nice-sounding politically correct slogans, which are conveying one basic message:
You, who are the majority in your country and who have created your own unique spiritual realm in your country for your people, have to reduce your spiritual realm to create a spiritual space for not your and may be hostile to your spirituality. We the Government (of the USA, of UN, of EU) are going to move into this space the people of not-your spirituality and traditions. We the Government understand that you may feel uncomfortable and even depressed because of many things such as increased crime and poverty, more hostile traditions around you, and less respect for your Judeo-Christian tradition. However, and that is what we the Government are not going to tell you, we need all that to get more political and financial power for us the Government – at the cost of your way of life.
That is what is going on these days in Europe and America, and we have to be prepared to vote this year for those who understand our profound concerns and ready to defend our Jewish, Christian and Judeo-Christian spiritual realm.
By the way, the current blacks-against-whites rebellion in the USA is the result of this “non-Jewish” internal US globalization: the mighty US government is forcing some citizens who are happened to be racially black to follow “globalization rules” which are foreign to them. This rebellion has nothing to do with race relations. Those blacks who are guided in their lives by American-type Judeo-Christian moral rules, and there are many of them, live happily in America. The rebels are those, and there are many of them as well, who hate the American-type Judeo-Christian moral rules. Unfortunately, politically correct politicians are afraid of recognizing this, or using this to their advantage.