Is it enough to be born to a Jewish family to consider himself or herself a truly Jewish?
There is only one definition of being the truly Jewish: for a truly Jewish individual the Torah guidance is a moral, spiritual compass in everything in the life; the Torah is the spiritual compass that enables to define what is Right and what is Wrong.
Is this the case in the Jewish Nation? How could it be true for the entire Jewish Nation if no more than 15% of the Jews are reading daily the Torah to find in it the guidance for everyday life events? How could it be true if in the Jewish nation we have so many clashing opinions on what is Right and what is Wrong?
We have clashing opinions on almost everything: in divergence of rabbis’ views on rituals and traditions in all denominations; in the views on Israel, Jerusalem, Jewish identity, Christianity, Islam, marriage, social justice, human rights, West Bank, settlements, US-Israel relationships; … just in everything.
Those clashing opinions make it very difficult to see what we agree upon that makes us One Nation – not in the name only but in the spiritual cohesion of our actions influencing our own tribe and the entire world.
However, that is the case. For the Jewish majority the Torah is the moral guidance, and I may suggest the following hypothesis to prove it.
The laws of nature, created by the Supreme Power, govern everything in our world. Both an atheist and a religionist would agree with this statement although they disagree on the image and essence of this Supreme Power.
Our scientists have been discovering the laws of nature, related to the material side of our life, and helping us use those laws for creating a better life for everybody. Now we are handling creatively and safely almost everything on the material side of our life – electromagnetic fields, space travel, organic food, healthy living, home appliances, communications, etc.
Our theologians, for Jewish people the rabbis, have been discovering the laws of nature related to the spiritual side of our life, that is the human behavior and creative work, based on the concepts presented in the Torah. The Torah describes the spiritual laws of nature that the Supreme Power codified in our human genes while the science of genetics discovers how the genes are working.
Thus, 85% of the Jews who do not study the Torah daily follow the Torah genetically – just remember, that is a hypothesis intensively researched by genetic scientists.
If that is the case and we are genetically following the Torah, what we the Jews are doing to be Jewish not in the name only?
The Supreme Power created all of us, the Jews and non-Jews, in His image (whatever it might be) as equals and unique individuals.
If we are created as unique individuals in the image of God the Creator, obviously all of us have to be individual creators. We have to be unique individual creators in all spheres of our life – to create a better family, a better school, a better synagogue, a better design, a better government, a better social institution and so on. Moreover as the Chosen, we the Jews have to lead the world in all that.
Professor Peter Salovey, President of Yale University and a scion of the Soloveitchik family, the great Orthodox rabbinic dynasty that has shaped Europe, America, and Israel stated it clearly in one of his Yale’s graduation ceremonies – to commit themselves to tikkun olam that means to making the world a better place.
A great majority of us are the truly Jewish since we follow the Torah by competing with each other for better creative accomplishments in the areas of our life endeavors – in science, arts, industry, economics, politics, social justice, etc.
We are competing – in the truly Jewish way – among themselves. The in-Jewish competition brings clashing opinions and divisions in the Jewish Nation, and that is the only way to be truly Jewish. However, we are united in the times of real danger to the entire Jewish Nation.
We are competing not only with our fellow Jews but with the non-Jews as well, and an unwanted outcome of this competition is anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism is the reaction of the non-Jews to the victories of Jewish designs of the better world over the non-Jewish designs. The overwhelming number of Jewish Nobel-Prize winners in all major spheres of human creative work is one of many proofs of our achievements. Naturally, the non-Jews prefer their designs to be winners but somehow in a mysterious way the Supreme Power have made the Jewish designs winning.
Anti-Semitism is a positive thing for us the Jews as an indication of success of our mission of the Chosen, and we should not be afraid of it. We should not fight anti-Semitism by denouncing it – we have to fight it by explaining our mission of the Chosen that benefits everybody. We can do it if we acknowledge Christianity as our positive development.
What unites Jews and Christians and creates the Judeo-Christian civilization are the rules and laws of the Torah, or the Old Testament in the Christian bible. What separates them is the interpretation of these rules and laws given in the Talmud for Jews and in the New Testament for Christians. However, what divides Jews and Christians is no more essential than what now divides Jews themselves into many conflicting groups.
Accepting the Christianity as one of the greatest achievements of the Jewish people in the course of fulfillment of their Chosen’s mission is a very important part of being truly Jewish – in spite of all hardships of that.
There is no anti-Black or anti-Ethiopian racism – we just dislike in the others what we dislike in ourselves
The clash we have been witnessing in Baltimore or Tel-Aviv has nothing to do with race.
How do I know that? I know it because I observe many groups in my own one-race Jewish community disliking each other. Almost every day I find reminders of such disliking in the news media. Here is a reminder from an article “Growing up Hasidic – and racist” by Shaindy Urman in Forward:
In the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community I grew up in, racism is a common aspect of life. It is seen as necessary in order to maintain the separation from goyim, or gentiles, and uphold the status of chosen nation (and as Hasidim, chosen Jews). As young children, we were educated about the horrors of the gentiles, who were out to destroy the pious Jews. … As a young child I accepted what I was taught about the outside world without question.”
Thus the Hasidic community in general, of course not all of them, greatly dislikes the non-Jews of the same Caucasian race. Moreover, they dislike not only the gentiles – they dislike the non-Hasidic Jews as well. Why do they do this? – because they dislike or even hate the deviation from the norms of behavior in their own Torah interpretation. They hate it in their own midst and therefore they hate it in the others.
Probably, they consider the world outside their own isolated realm as a sort of Satan that tries to keep them from completing the responsibilities of Tikkun Olam (making the world a better place). In the Jewish religious tradition, Satan is the evil inclination to veer off the path of righteousness and faithfulness in God.
The Black community in the USA and Ethiopian community in Israel (of course, not everybody among American Blacks and Ethiopian Israelis) demand from us, the others in the society the following:
- To have a set of rules for policing their communities different from the set of rules for policing the others in the society. What the others in the society may consider a crime punishable by the law, for example, burglarizing the stores and destroying the cars at the times of street demonstrations, the Black and Ethiopian communities may consider a misbehavior.
- To have the others in the society appreciating and approving the traditions of their communities that are different from the traditions of the others in the society. For example, a lesser desire for getting a better education and training (that results in a much lower income) or a fatherless family with many children (that leads to a smart-street-type education) should be considered, they insist, a sort of community tradition.
- To have the government supplementing their low-level incomes by taxpayers money through a set of elevated welfare provisions, such as payments for housing, food, education, and children care.
The others in the society do not like these demands and therefore do not like the demanders – not because of their race but rather because of their demands that are shaking the spiritual foundation of the society.
The majority in both countries cherish their spiritual foundation as a Judeo-Christian, Ten-Commandments-based one. Following the Torah/Bible fundamental concept that all humans are created Equal in the image and likeness of God,
- We are treating everybody as equals in terms of creative opportunities – not in terms of anti-Judeo-Christian equal distribution of public wealth.
- We appreciate the competitive diversity of traditions since this diversity may enrich our own traditions – however, this diversity have to enrich our traditions, not to replace or weaken them.
- We prefer help to those who are in need through individual Mitzvah/Charity – not through forceful redistribution of wealth.
We apply all that to our everyday life – that is why we dislike what is going on in many Black and Ethiopian communities. Our feelings have nothing to do with racism – we are trying to treat those Black and Ethiopian communities in distress as we would treat ourselves.
From the latest news:
The leaders of a protest movement alleging systemic discrimination against the Ethiopian-Israeli community demanded on Sunday that the government improve education and housing for them, and set up ministerial committees to address Ethiopian needs – to be financially treated not like the rest of the society. They also demanded that charges against community members arrested at a recent riot in Tel Aviv be dropped – to be legally treated not like the rest of the society.
The same demands we can find in the latest news from the Black community of Baltimore.
Message to the demanders:
We dislike your demands. Our dislike is not racially based. We want to treat you as equals, as we treat ourselves.
From the latest news:
First Lady Michelle Obama in her graduation speech before African American audience emphasized not the opportunity for any race in the USA to reach any personal dreams, as she and her husband have done, but the race problems that are difficult or impossible to overcome:
The road ahead is not going to be easy. It never is, especially for folks like you and me. … We have both felt the sting of those daily slights throughout our entire lives. The folks who crossed the street in fear of their safety, the clerks who kept a close eye on us in all those department stores. The people at formal events who assumed we were the help. … And those who have questioned our intelligence, our honesty, even our love of this country, and I know that these little indignities are obviously nothing compared to what folks across the country are dealing with every single day.
Message for Michelle Obama:
Yes, the folks who crossed the street in fear of their safety they were indeed in fear – not because of a dark color of the street people but because the folks know the statistics – it is dangerous to cross those streets – please remember the statistics of black-on-black killings on South-Side Chicago streets.
Dear First Lady Michelle Obama, please treat everybody as equals, not as representing different races.
One of the latest rounds of negotiations to establish a functioning Israeli government has been dealing with the following issues:
- Should the government impose or not impose sanctions on the haredi yeshiva students who do not perform military service?
- Should the government provide full financing of the ultra-Orthodox schools without any requirements?
- Should the government allow the non-strictly-orthodox conversion?
- Should the government increase the child allotments as the first priority without any other budget considerations?
- Should the government change the existing legal relationships between religion and state?
The Israeli politicians have not been able to find the answers to those questions that may be satisfactory to the political majority. Let us try to find those answers based on the basics of Judaism.
One of the fundamental realms of Judaism is the Torah-based guidance on building a better world for everybody. The most important guidance in this realm was proposed by Rabbi Hillel two millenniums ago.
This guidance is called “the Golden Rule” and consists of one sentence: “What is hateful to thee, do not unto thy fellow man: this is the whole Law; the rest is mere commentary”.
Let’s apply this Golden Rule to the unresolved political issues in the above, assuming the “thee” is a common Orthodox Jew and the “fellow man” is a common non-Orthodox Jew.
The “thee” honestly believes that the survival of Jewish nation and the State of Israel depends sorely on preserving the strictly Orthodox Torah interpretation. Concerning the political negotiations on the issues in the above, this Torah interpretation can be described in the following way.
- Everything what is possible should be done to increase the number of the “thee” Jews who devote all the time to studying the Torah that precludes performing any military service.
- Somebody has to provide the full financing for studying the Torah since the “thee” does not have any time to earn money necessary to support himself and the family.
- Only the existence of the “thee” Jews guaranties the survival of the entire Jewish Nation; therefore, they have to be the authority in the strictly Orthodox religious conversion to make sure all the Jews are of the “thee” quality.
- Since the strictly Orthodox conversion makes practically impossible the growth of the Jewish Nation by accepting the others into the tribe, the “thee” community has to have as many children as possible; however since there is no own financial means to support the children, somebody have to provide the child allotments with no budget restrictions.
- Since all in the above already exist in Israel, the government of Israel should not try to make any changes in the existing state-religion legal relationships.
Nothing wrong with those beliefs of the strictly Orthodox “thee” community – the non-Orthodox “fellow man” community have to respect them. The problem is that the strictly Orthodox “thee” community wants to force the non-Orthodox “fellow man” community to do what the “thee” community itself does want to do – to be forced to change its own beliefs. The strictly Orthodox “thee” community wants the Israeli government to force the non-Orthodox “fellow man” community to take upon themselves much greater sacrifices in defending the country from external enemies, and much greater sacrifices in taking care of their own families and spiritual interests. That is a complete violation of the Hillel’s Golden Rule – the strictly Orthodox “thee” community is doing to the non-Orthodox “fellow man” community what the “thee” community does not want for itself.
The following may be suggested for the strictly Orthodox “thee” community to comply with the Hillel’s Golden Rule. This community should initiate discussions with the non-Orthodox “fellow man” community aimed at finding a Golden-Rule-based approach on the issues currently preventing the formation of stable Israeli government:
- To agree that the security of Israel depends not only on preserving the economic and military strength – the security of Israel depends on preserving the spiritual strength as well.
- To demonstrate that preserving the spiritual strength requires 100% commitment from its guardians the Torah study students – in the same way as preserving the military strength requires 100% commitment from its guardians the military.
- To update the curriculum for Torah studies to make them relevant to the real life of non-Orthodox communities: family, work place, Diaspora Jews, collaboration with Christians, coexisting with Arabs, being the Chosen, and many more.
- To create Mitzvah-based support instead of taxpayer support – as the Jews have done in our historic past.
- To find an alternative Torah-guided provisions for non-strictly-Orthodox conversions and weddings – as our Rabbis did two millenniums ago concerning the father-mother Jewish lineage.
If it is done, the always-growing destructive rift between the strictly Orthodox and non-Orthodox communities may begin contracting, and the number of relatively observant Jews may begin increasing. Moreover what is most important, the Israeli government may become more stable and predictable – not only for the Israelis but for the Diaspora Jews and the entire world as well.
The Baltimore disturbances are a predictable outcome of the government ever-increasing heavy intervention into social disagreements among competing citizen’s groups such as for example rich and poor, black and white, urban and rural, old and young, man and woman. Although the search for peaceful resolution of social disagreements is a necessary tool for finding a better social organization in the Bible-guided better world, the heavy government intervention is not a proper way to do it.
There are two ways of resolving always-present social disagreements.
The traditional, Bible-based way is to let various spiritually conflicting groups discuss their disagreements and find how to live together in peace reducing their spiritual disagreements in the course of time. All Mighty Supreme Power may interfere any time to guide the people in resolving their conflicts – a human government may interfere only if a conflict becomes lethal. It takes time, but finally various conflicting groups may find a social compromise that let everybody live in peace. The key to finding a social compromise is direct honest discussions among competing groups.
The other, “social-justice”-based way is for a government to legislate a conflict resolution. Through the legislative work, the government forces the entire population to follow the preferences of one group. The government legislative efforts make one preferred group happy while many other groups become unhappy, and the level of society unhappiness is increasing. The conflicting groups are not communicating anymore with each other demanding from the government to resolve the conflict in their favor. And the conflict is getting worse and requires new laws to redress what the original laws created and then requires additional regulations to redress what the first regulations created, and so on without finding a solution to everybody’s satisfaction.
Government is essential in providing safety for our diverse communities that is necessary to let them resolve social disagreements among themselves without government interference. When government takes upon itself the task of resolving social disagreements, the disagreements exacerbate.
Let me detail all in the above using just three of many well-known examples of government intervention into social realm of our life.
Judeo-Christian, Bible-based approach: help the poor through Charity/Mitzvah at the level of mere survival to preserve the urge for improving the life conditions through better education and better work skills; the government may pay for education and work training but not force to do all that – to do all that is personal responsibility.
Social-justice-based, government approach: help the poor by providing them money for housing, food, health, education and everything else at the so-called “dignified” level for all in the family that eliminates any incentives for an entry-level work and for a strong supporting two-parent family.
Judeo-Christian, Bible-based approach: marriage between a man and a woman and a father-mother-children family; all other types of joint living are just convenience unions that may be appreciated or disliked or even hated; a religious (or social) institution has to officiate the marriage – government should not define the marriage.
Social-justice-based, government approach: any convenience union is a family … essentially with no restrictions on union composition; the government should legislate, enforce the government-defined rules, and take care of the families.
Judeo-Christian, Bible-based approach: you have to respect and treat a human being as you wish to be treated and respected yourself – that means you should not discriminate; if you do discriminate, you are a sinner and you will be judged by everybody who know you – not by the government.
Social-justice-based, government approach: the government is a moral guardian of all groups in the society; the government defines what discrimination is, and what is not; if somebody treats another somebody discriminatory in any sphere of life, the government will judge a sinner and punish him.
The result of “government care” in all three examples in the above are the same:
More and more people prefer to be “poor”, to be “discriminated against”, to be in various “privileged minority groups” – to avoid personal responsibility, to hold the government responsible for their personal unhappiness and to demand from the government the personal happiness.
The number of unhappy people who are blaming the government for their own unfortunate life choices is increasing.
A new class of politician-businessmen was born that is benefitting from the government policy of “divide” – this policy is more money-wise beneficial than the Judeo-Christian policy of “unite”.
The taxpayers are unhappy – their money does not bring the promised result of social coherence.
The government programs are expanding.
The entire country becomes poorer.
What to do?
Of course, to remove the government from heavy intervention in resolving social problems and encourage spiritual organizations, first of all various Judeo-Christian religious denominations, to begin the joint search for Bible-based compromises which may be acceptable even by those who do not consider Bible as a guide.
Many critics of Obama are explaining the decline of domestic and foreign fortunes of the USA during the Obama presidency by his inexperience in everything – in business, in politics, in management, in diplomacy, etc. His inexperience, the critics say, leads to his strategic mistakes in domestic and foreign affairs.
Here are some of Obama’s foreign-affairs “mistakes”:
Helping, sometimes unsuccessfully, to bring Muslim Brotherhood to power in Middle East countries such as for example Egypt and Libya.
Alienating Washington’s traditional American allies in the region such as Israel or Saudi Arabia.
Not restricting Iran from obtaining nuclear weaponry in spite of Iran’s strategy of “Death to Israel and America”, and alienating anti-Persian Arab countries by not preventing Iran from becoming the hegemon of the region.
Encouraging dictatorial tendencies of Erdogan of Turkey who is reshaping Turkey from a democracy to a Muslim autocracy.
Leaving Iraq and Afghanistan prematurely, dooming the vast American investment in those two countries.
Not resisting Russian attempts to expand its autocratic sphere of dominance.
His domestic-affairs “mistakes” are impressive as well:
Increasing social polarization of American society (blacks vs. whites, females vs. males, immigrants vs. citizens, police vs. blacks, rich vs. poor, Republicans vs. Democrats, House of Representatives vs. Senate, etc.).
Sharply increasing national debt.
Using IRS and other government agencies to suppress political adversaries.
Disrespecting the US Congress as a constitutionally equal branch of government.
If one thinks the Obama’s strategic goal from the very beginning of his presidency was to preserve and strengthen the uniqueness and greatness of America in domestic and foreign affairs, then all in the above are just innocent mistakes – he honestly intended to do Good in everything in the above but due to his immaturity the result turned to be Bad.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. From the very beginning, Obama’s strategic goal, as he stated it many times in his books and speeches, of course in a double-speak language, was not to preserve and strengthen the uniqueness and greatness of America.
His strategic goal was an opposite one – to diminish the uniqueness of America since, in the Obama’s vision of the world, America is an impediment to a “better, as some may say Islamo-socialist world”.
How do we know about his strategic goal?
Immediately after the election victory, Obama proudly stated on many occasions that his goal is “to fundamentally change America”. What are “the fundamentals” of America needed to be changed? They are well known and based on the Constitution and the after-WWII dominant role of USA in world affairs. Those fundamentals are:
- The American-style democracy is a true democracy where the people, not the authoritative rulers of all kinds, govern the country.
- The governance of the country is based on Judeo-Christian principles.
- The country takes upon itself a noble mission of defending and strengthening the Judeo-Christian Western World.
What are evidences that Obama has been trying to “fundamentally change” the American-style democracy?
Just listen to his anti-democratic, autocratic language: My administration, My council, My advisers, Upon my order, I can do (whatever I want) by executive orders, and much more of the same nature.
Just remember his encouraging speeches, actions and even gestures about dictatorial countries like Turkey, Saudis, and Russia, and dictatorial ideologies of Koran and Sharia.
Just remember he is the first American president who has not been acknowledging the uniqueness and greatness of America in his speeches.
What are evidences that Obama has been trying to “fundamentally change” the Judeo-Christian principles of governing?
Just remember his spiritual mentors, advisers and friends who helped him create his spiritual vision of the world – all of them were ideological haters of Judeo-Christian America, such as Saul Alinsky, William Ayers, Frank Davis, Jeremiah Wright, and many more of the same anti-American mindset.
Just remember his admiration for Islamic tradition, religion and culture and never for anything Judeo-Christian.
Just remember his dislike of the State of Israel, miraculous rebirth of which was strengthening the Judeo-Christian foundation of our civilization.
What are evidences that Obama has been trying to “fundamentally change” the American mission of defending and strengthening the Judeo-Christian Western World?
Just remember his removal of American anti-missile defense systems from the countries of Eastern Europe, such as Check Republic or Poland, aimed at protecting the new Western Judeo-Christian democracies from Russian dictatorial threats.
Just remember he has frequently been reminding us about the real or alleged historic Christian atrocities and about the Israeli perceived sins related to “illegal settlements” while never mentioning the name of real perpetrators of the contemporary anti-Christian, ant-Jewish and anti-Israel atrocities that is Islamic terrorists and warriors of Allah who commit their crimes under the slogan “Allah Akbar”.
All in the above are the undisputable facts that support the feeling of many that the result of most of Obama’s actions that the people’s majority do not like are not the consequence of his inexperience – that is the outcome that he envisioned from the very beginning and achieved it.