The concept of Supreme Power over us the humans called God is vital for our human wellbeing. It is vital even for those who call themselves atheists. It is vital mainly not for the purpose of praying to God and asking for guidance and favors but most importantly for accepting God as the unchallenged source of our moral rules, which cannot be changed by us the humans.
That is why it is difficult for me to understand the reason for an orthodox rabbi Donniel Hartman to dethrone God from the first to the second place in Judaism.
From the news media:
Donniel Hartman, the head of an orthodox educational powerhouse, Shalom Hartman Institute, argues that the great monotheistic religions are fatally flawed — by an obsessive focus on God that overwhelms what should be our prime imperative, to live decent, moral lives.
Donniel Hartman insists his resonant call to put God second is not some superficial provocation. Rather, it is issued out of a conviction that “the more we put ethics first, the more I am a religious person” and the less that God is “a destructive force in our lives.”
The rabbi Hartman’s innovations are what indeed we need in Judaism and in other religions, for Jews and Gentiles, namely – to teach how to live decent, moral lives and how and why to put the ethics first. That is indeed necessary and long overdue – to bring back the true meaning of the duties of the Chosen, which are to build a better world for everybody with everybody – the world where the complete majority can live decent, moral lives along the lines of Torah/Bible guidance. However, to do all that we need to have God at the first place in our lives.
In order to decide whether we live decent, moral lives we have to define common basic characteristics of decency and morality. Those characteristics have to be alike for Jews and Christians of different spiritual streams from the ultra-Orthodox to the ultra-Atheists. In the Judeo-Christian world, without One God at the first place with His Torah/Bible-codified rules for decent, moral behavior, it is impossible to have decent, moral lives. The current rules for “decent, moral behavior” are different for many Jewish communities as well as for many Christian communities.
Here are just a few examples. Some believe in the decency of socialism-inspired redistribution of wealth with the “helping hand” of the government while the others support free-market capitalist system with the mitzvah/charity helping hands. Some believe in the absolute morality of “do not do to the others what I do not want to be done to me” while the others consider to be just the severe punishment of devilish people. Some believe that only a family of man-woman-children is decent and moral while the others do not see anything wrong with a gay family. Some believe the decency demands considering a person to be Jewish if he himself believe so while the others trust in a rabbi’s decision on the Jewishness.
Thus, what principles are decent and moral enough to be used for building a better world for everybody, even for everybody inside the Jewish nation? I do not see any other approach but – in the course of competitive spiritual and peaceful discussions – to find it in the guidance of God at the first place.
The history tried to do it without God as was done for example in Stalin’s Russia, in Hitler’s Germany and in Mao’s China and the result was millions and millions of murdered people.
From the news media:
An Israeli rabbinical court did not accept a conversion by an Orthodox rabbi who also helped Ivanka Trump become Jewish.
In the latest case exemplifying the tension between Israel’s rabbinate and Orthodox groups in the Diaspora, a religious court prevented the marriage of an Israeli man and an American woman, who converted under a well-respected New York rabbi, Haskel Lookstein.
And in an unusual twist, which has brought the case into the limelight, Lookstein is also the rabbi who converted Ivanka Trump and officiated at her wedding to Jewish real-estate scion Jared Kushner, an advisor for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
That is one more example of bad moral rabbinical prescripts as the result of removing God from finding proper Torah/Bible-guided decisions.
At Mount Sinai, some human tribe had become Jewish since it decided to follow the God’s prescriptions on “decent, moral lives”. If somebody decides now to follow these prescriptions, this person is Jewish by God’s definition, and no human rabbinical court can change it.
The true meaning of Brexit is simple and powerful: that is a spiritual separation from the others to preserve and strengthen the own identity and moral foundation (own spirituality). For the nation of UK, it is like the Exodus for the Jews that let the Jewish nation solidify and further develop the Jewish unique identity and moral foundation.
The entity we call the humanity consists of spiritually competing nations. A spiritually competing nation should not hate the others – it should peacefully compete with the others to become “the light for the others”, or should peacefully change itself if it sees something more attractive in the life of the others, or should peacefully isolate itself from the others if it cannot change or compete.
In the political realm – not in the religious one, the first known Brexit was done by the Jewish nation with the Exodus from Egypt and then at the Mount of Sinai. There the Jews decided to split from the others to preserve and strengthen their own identity based on the God’s Torah-guided rules of behavior that distinguished the Jews from the others, and the new spirituality/identity of this nation was codified under the name of Judaism. In the religious terms, this Jewish identity was to obey the God’s commandments presented in the Torah – in the political terms, that was to strengthen the true individual freedoms – in the image and likeness of God, translated in the contemporary world into a free market economic/social system of government.
Just 68 years ago, the Jewish nation made another Brexit from the others and formed the state of Israel, where the Jewish nation can practice its spirituality on its own without overwhelming influence of the others.
The Brexit of UK from the EU dictatorship is of the same “Jewish” spiritual nature – to get rid of the evil of all-powerful EU government, which is forcing the people of UK to surrender its national identity to the newly invented, politically correct “humanity” identity.
Now, the same kind of revolt in making could be observed in other countries of EU such as Hungary or Greece for example.
America made its first Brexit at the end of 18th century by splitting from the authoritarian UK monarchy to preserve and further develop a newly created Judeo-Christian Bible-based identity with a free market economic/social system and strictly limited government that was codified in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. At such system of governing, the government was helping the people enhance their Judeo-Christian spirituality with the free-market and social freedoms.
However, in the course of the last about one hundred years the US government has been increasing its power – slowly, in small steps – and by now it has more power than the people have. With the changes in the small steps, it was difficult to understand that those small steps were creating a new political and social reality where the politicians were using the system for their own spiritual and financial empowerment and enrichment at the cost of the people.
The new Brexit-type movement in the USA, which some call “Trump-ism” (Donald Trump is just a messenger of this movement) is a revolt of the Judeo-Christian majority against the all-powerful US government of any party affiliation. That is a sort of American Exodus to make “America great again” – great in the Judeo-Christian identity and spirituality.
The Exodus/Brexit supporters do not hate anybody, they are not racists or anti-immigration bigots – they respect all immigrants of different races, nations or religions assuming those immigrants support the Judeo-Christian identity of an Exodus/Brexit country where they reside, and ready to be assimilated. However, the Exodus/Brexit supporters believe those who are unable to adjust to the Judeo-Christian identity should live happily in the countries of their own identities.
From the news media:
“I don’t plan to leave any money to my children,” the Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman recently announced.
Mr. Fridman, a Jewish businessman who made his money in oil, banking and telecoms, isn’t exactly known for penny-pinching. A prolific philanthropist, he helped found the Russian Jewish Congress in 1996 and is a co-founder of the Genesis Prize, often called “Jewish Nobel Prize”.
But when it comes to his four children, aged between ten and 22, Mr. Fridman explained he feels inheriting his wealth would hamper them. Instead he plans on giving his fortune away to charity.
From the news media:
Mr. Donald Trump, an American billionaire who made his money on excellent real estate developments, supports 23 charities. Among them are Children with AIDS, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Paralyzed Veterans of America, St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters.
All his adult children – Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump – are active in his businesses and charities and most probably will inherit his business empire and charitable work.
Who is right – Mr. Fridman, who does not leave any money to his children to force them starting from “zero” on their own, or Mr. Trump, whose children continue Trump’s creative and charitable work?
It looks like from the canons of Jewish faith, Jewish Mr. Fridman is wrong and Christian Mr. Trump is right, and here is why.
The family is the most important collective unit in Judaism where children are learning from the parents the moral fundamentals – how to define GOOD and how to support it. The Torah/Bible-guided creative work and mitzvah/charity are among very important GOODs, and the children should learn in the family the spiritual greatness of creative work and mitzvah.
Mr. Fridman is one of the creators of the post-Soviet banking and communication systems in Russia that enormously benefited Russian economy and well-being of ordinary Russians. Of course, the Russian authoritarian governing system does not let the Russian economy to be truly prosperous and beneficial to all … but that is a completely different story. The work of Mr. Fridman might be another excellent example of the Jews fulfilling their role of the Chosen to create a better world for everybody … although I am sure Mr. Fridman does not think of himself as one of the Chosen. What is truly strange that Mr. Fridman does not want this children continue his honorable creative and charitable work … of course, if he is not forced by the Russian government to do so that may be the case in Russia.
Mr. Trump is one of the best world-renowned creators of beautiful real estate developments, which make human life more accomplished and enjoyable. His work has made him a very rich person and he spends sizable portion of his wealth for charitable work. What is most important, his creative and charitable work is the life of his entire family as supposed to be if we follow the Judeo-Christian moral traditions.
In essence, the current US Presidential election battles are the battles for defending the country’s Judeo-Christian moral principles from the assault of “Social justice” warriors. If the “Social justice” warriors win, the injustice in our society will rise as is easily seen when the Judeo-Christian principles for family, equality and morality are compared with similar principles of the “Social justice” ideology.
Judeo-Christian Bible-guided family-related principles are clear – a family is the most important collective unit in the human society created only for one reason – for happy and successful recreation! If it is so, two LGBT persons living together may be respected as cohabitants but not treated as a family.
A family should make unified decisions on what political and economic arrangements in the country are preferable and how to educate kids – and be responsible for its decisions. If a family is in distress, it has to rely on the charitable help of a wider spiritual community. A family should have one vote and anybody in the family may deliver this vote.
“Social justice” ideology destroys the family as the most important collective unit in the human society – husband and wife are encouraged to have different voting opinions and kids’ education is moving from the family care to the government care – with the government, imposing the mandatory rules of behavior for all. A government is trying to convince you that your family is not your friend and defender – the government is taking upon itself this role. A sort of government-guided slavery replaces the Bible-guided family freedoms.
The following example demonstrates the destructive consequences of the “Social justice” family-related beliefs. Yes, we had forced the blacks brought here from Africa to work at our plantations. However, when our majority realized that it was the true slavery indeed, we went to a civil war to abolish this slavery and begin treating the blacks as normal citizens – of course with “normal” prejudices that existed at the time, and exist even now, against some communities such as for example Jewish and Catholic ones. However, for the “Social justice” warriors it was not enough – they created the affirmative action laws with many welfare provisions that had destroyed the family structure in the black communities and made the black majority deeply dependent on the government. The result – the social injustice for those who are forced to comply with the anti-Judeo-Christian affirmative actions’ laws.
Judeo-Christian principles of equality are clear – all people are born equal (created equal in the image and likeness of One God) – blacks and whites, europeans and africans, manual workers and people at high intellectual positions. And all people have to have equal opportunities to reach their individual best. For different people, “the best” is different. “The best” may be reached everywhere – in agriculture and science, in manual work and high-tech, in politics, in position of social responsibilities, in spiritual life. If you reach your best, even if your best is at the earnings’ level much-much lower than that of your neighbor, you are happy.
“Social justice” ideology is trying to convince you that you are unhappy if your earnings are much-much lower than that of your neighbor, and the government is here to help you – to help you by confiscating the wealth of your richer neighbor and by transferring the confiscated to you free of charge. However, the confiscation and transfer would be done only if you follow the government orders. Again, that is a sort of government-guided slavery replacing the Bible-guided family freedoms.
The following example demonstrates the destructive consequences of the “Social justice” equality-related beliefs. The “Social justice” warriors created a concept of the “minimal wages” for a family needed for maintaining the “normal” family life. If the family earnings do not reach the level of “minimal wages”, the government would provide it – either through welfare supplements or through legislative pressure on the businesses. The family responsibilities are replaced by “Social justice” goodies. The result – social injustice for those who are robbed – without their consensus – to maintain the “minimal wages” of the others.
Judeo-Christian principles of morality are clear – they are the Ten Commandments which are presented and detailed in the Torah/Bible and in numerous authoritative instructions. For each stream of Judaism and Christianity, the instructions are different in details but unified in principles. In the Judeo-Christian countries, the non-Judeo-Christian communities may exist – however, these communities have to respect and follow the Judeo-Christian governing principles outside their communities as the Jews have been doing during all their history.
“Social justice” ideology is denigrating the Judeo-Christian morality by proclaiming that all moralities are equal and the governing principles of a Judeo-Christian country should accommodate the non-Judeo-Christian principles thus assaulting the morality of the Judeo-Christian majority. By promoting the “Social justice” ideology over the Judeo-Christian moral principles, its creators are creating for themselves the positions of human gods. Unfortunately, the spiritual Judeo-Christian authorities do not resist the “Social justice” ideology thus denigrating their own beliefs.
The following example demonstrates the destructive consequences of the “Social justice” morality-related beliefs. The “Social justice” warriors believe that in the Judeo-Christian countries the Islamic morality should be accepted as equal to Judeo-Christian morality – in spite of Islamic antagonistic rules on the coexistence with the others, in particular with the Jews and Christians. The result – the Muslim immigration to the USA and European countries with no serious restrictions, Islamic terrorism and ultimate injustice to the Judeo-Christian majority.
Cherishing special relations with God, the Jews have to nurture special relations with the Christians
Yes, Christians did not treat the Jews nicely or fairly in the historic past. We the Jews remember the calamities of our Christian-led expulsion from many countries such as Spain, Portugal, England, and France. We remember our Christian-led pogroms in the Tsarist Russia. We have survived all those calamities with the hope that someday the Christians would understand and appreciate the role of Jews in helping them understand the God’s guidance on creating a true God’s world for all the humans on this earth.
It looks like now the hope has been realized – more and more Christians are coming to understanding of the true role of Jews and Judaism in creating the Christianity.
However, this understanding is mostly at the level of ritual canons. And we need more than the mutual ritual canons. We need the joint actions aimed at strengthening and defending the Judeo-Christian characteristics of the entire world we live in, first of course in the USA. Those joint actions are urgently needed to resist the forces, which are hostile to the Judeo-Christian vision of the just world for everybody. Those hostile forces are of two different virtues. One of them is of religious nature, and that is Islam; the other one is of secular nature, and that is the Big Government playing the role of a human god.
We hear often that Islam is a religion of peace. Unfortunately, although there are many peaceful Muslims, religion of Islam is not religion of peace, and it is easy to prove.
Judaism and Christianity are truly peaceful religions since they welcome the people of other faiths in the Jewish and Christian holy places – in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Tiberius, Nazareth, or anywhere around the world. Contrary to this welcoming and peaceful approach, Islam prohibits the people of other faiths, the “infidels”, to visit its holiest places in Mecca and Medina. If a religion is not willing to share its holy places with the “strangers”, this religion is not a religion of peace. The majority of Israelis understand it, and some Americans have begun to understand it as well – thanks to Donald Trump.
We near often that a Big Government that is playing the role of a human god is a required prescription for peaceful coexistence of all diverse social groups. Unfortunately, although a limited government is needed for maintaining the order in a society, a Big Government is splitting the society into hostile social groups. This split is essential for a Big Government to seize the power and preserve it for its own material benefits.
Here are examples of the split created by an American Big Government by manufacturing the socially preferred groups and providing them with legal and financial preferences over competitors:
blacks against whites,
police against citizens,
poor against rich,
secular against religious,
natives against europeans,
one group of immigrants against other groups,
traditional families against LGHT “families”,
children against parents,
boys against girls in school bathrooms,
The preferred groups are voting for the Big Government to preserve their preferential treatment and welfare-type benefits they are rewarded with while the non-preferred groups are being legally robbed to support the scheme (it is called the wealth redistribution).
The time has come to translate the Judeo-Christian mutual understanding into the joint actions aimed at strengthening the Judeo-Christian parameters of the world we live in, and at resisting the forces, which are hostile to the Judeo-Christian vision of the just world for everybody. That means eliminating all preferences to selected social groups and treating them as equals – the equal opportunities for everybody to reach an individual God-guided maximum of results.
The Jews have been the originators of many social movements that created the foundation of the contemporary Western Judeo-Christian world – they have to begin nurturing the new relationships with the Christians, which are aimed at restoring and strengthening the Judeo-Christian parameters of the USA and the entire world we live in. It would mitigate the anti-Semitism and bring the Torah/Bible closer to the people.