Posted by Vladimir Minkov
From a sermon of a very famous rabbi:
To be a Jew is to help heal a broken world. We are the people who do not stand still. We are the people for whom life is a journey to a world of justice and compassion and healing, which is not yet, but which we will not cease until we help bring it about.
That is a powerful statement and probably all rabbis of all streams of Judaism would agree with it – that is the essence of the Torah and of the very idea of God’ making the Jews the Chosen people.
In order to “heal a broken world” we have to define the shape and characteristics of the “unbroken world” – if we do not know it, we would not know how to heal. Just one simple question of very many still unanswered: who is going to be “a king” in the “unbroken world” – an individual created in the image and likeness of God or an almighty government behaving like a god?
In order to bring to the world the “justice and compassion and healing” we have first to define what is just, what is compassionate and what is societal good health. Just one simple question of very many still unanswered: is it compassionate to invite to your home your spiritual enemies when they are suffering?
The problem is that our rabbinical community or communal leadership have not defined all that. Why? Because our rabbinical community and communal leadership are divided and instead of creating a common Torah/Bible-based spiritual foundation for defining all that in collaboration with the Christians, they are trying to separate themselves from the others with the purpose of fortifying their own spiritual territory.
We urgently need a Trump-like Jewish leader who is able to unify diverse Jewish leadership just for developing political and social characteristics of the “unbroken world”, including in those characteristics what is compassionate and what is societal good health. All that should be defined not in a generalized sermon-type terms but rather in specific terms of government-vs.-individual rights and obligations. The synagogues have to begin talking politics since we can heal the broken world only through political arrangements. Why? Because the world is broken not inside of our synagogues but outside the synagogues in the mixed Jewish-Gentile world. However, that is not the case in the Jewish world. The Jewish world is split and is supporting different rival political ideologies instead of defining the characteristics of the “unbroken world” and jointly restoring the “broken world”.
From the Jewish news media – an observation of one informed Jew:
When I still identified as a Reform Jew, I sat through countless rabbinic sermons about blatantly political subjects. Climate change was mentioned in the same breath as the weekly Torah portion, and once I even heard Barack Obama compared to Jesus! I felt increasingly unwelcome and uncomfortable as a political conservative, and eventually I stopped attending. It was impossible to ignore the fact that any negative attention toward a political topic was always oriented in one direction: rightward. The politicized, liberal bend on religious topics in the Reform movement became too much and I gradually shifted right religiously, as I already had politically. I found myself gravitating toward the Modern Orthodox camp, where not only did most of my fellow Jews believe what I believed politically, but even more importantly, politics rarely came up in communal settings.
This past week, as I saw many synagogues’ responses to Trump’s win, I was reminded of why I left the Reform movement. To be clear, I was no fan of the President-elect nor did I vote for him, despite having been a registered Republican for most of my adult life. But in liberal synagogues across the country, a state of mourning set in; some rabbis compared the response to sitting shiva. Tears were shed and support groups sprang up — not because there had been a national tragedy, but because we’d experienced a democratically decided election.
This observation is a reflection of what is going on in the Jewish religious-secular world – instead of following the Torah guidance in creating a unified unbroken world we are assisting in splitting the world into many rival groups thus making the world more broken.