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.
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.
Prime-Minister of Israel Netanyahu is accused for changing his mind – before he was against the two-state solution, now he is for this solution.
Those accusations are groundless – Netanyahu is interested not in “a solution” – he is interested in the true security of Israel. He may accept any solution if it brings the true security for the state of Israel and its citizens. So the question we should be asking is “can the two-state solution bring the true security for Israel”.
The true security has two major components. One of them is physical security that is the living in peace with the neighbors. The other one is spiritual security, and the spiritual security for many Jews is to live and worship peacefully in all places of the Promised Land even if parts of the Promised Land are governed by a non-Jewish authority. So the answer to the question “can the two-state solution bring the true security for Israel” is – may be if the Palestinians, the Arabs and the so-called international community reverse their approach on the Jewish settlements in the territories of a Palestinian part of the two-state solution.
The history has proven, and has proven with no uncertainty, when a country or a community is trying to get rid of Jews living among them it spells pogroms – from little ones like the desecration of everything Jewish to large ones like “broken windows” or “holocausts”. Read the rest of this entry
Yes, that’s true – the true Judaism has to breed all varieties of Jews – from Far Left to Far Right.
There are two logical Torah-based reasons for the Jews to breed all varieties of Jews. Read the rest of this entry
The Big Government is an EVIL since it enslaves us spiritually, and sometimes even physically. God led us from Slavery of the Pharaoh’s ancient Egypt to be Free People – the Big Government is leading us back to Slavery.
One of the most divisive questions in preserving Jewish Unity is how we have to treat a government – as a GOOD or as an EVIL. And this is not an empty rhetorical question – one of the most important stories of the Torah is our escape from slavery of the Pharaoh-Government in ancient Egypt.
This paper provides my answer to this question – my interpretation of the Torah commandments.
The Big Government is an Evil while a small government is a mandatory part of a package of Good we should accept and live with.
How to distinguish between the Big Government and a small one? Read the rest of this entry