Sunday, May 19, 2013

What does it mean to be a genuine Jew?

I've just finished reading this. It's a short autobiography by a very intelligent, highly sensitive man, and while I cannot say I agree with every idea of his (nor do I seek to read only that which I completely agree with, it would be too boring!), I consider the time put into reading his thoughts very well-spent indeed. Thanks to Avigayil for the link. 

Here are some bits I particularly enjoyed:

""With few exceptions, I pray with people I can’t speak with and I speak with people I can’t pray with. Still, I love them all. They are Jews, so they are my family."

"The Talmud afforded the Jews wings, enabling them to fly to other worlds, to return to the past that no longer existed and to look toward worlds that were still to come. It became the Jews’ portable homeland, and their complete immersion in its texts made them indestructible even as they were tortured and killed."

"The Torah was the first audacious text to appear in world history. Its purpose was to protest. It set in motion a rebel movement of cosmic proportions the likes of which we have never known. The text includes all the radical heresies of the past, present and future. It calls idol-worship an abomination, immorality abhorrent, and the worship of man a catastrophe. It protests against complacency, self-satisfaction, imitation, and negation of the spirit. It calls for radical thinking and drastic action, without compromise, even when it means standing alone, being condemned and ridiculed."

"When we tell our children to eat kosher, we need to inform them that this is an act of disobedience against consumerism that encourages human beings to eat anything as long as it tastes good. When we go to synagogue, it is a protest against man’s arrogance in thinking that he can do it all himself. When couples observe the laws of family purity, it is a rebellion against the obsession with sex. The celebration of Shabbat must be presented as an enormous challenge to our contemporary world that believes our happiness depends on how much we produce."

3 comments:

Lady Anne said...

What a wonderful article! I am not Jewish, but I have begun to observe the Sabbath (Sunday, to me) by not going to the store, and spending more time with the family, and so forth.

I understand about praying with people I can't speak with, and speaking to people I can't pray with. I feel that both aspects bring us all closer together.

And his remarks about teachers "feeding" their students the answers, instead of making them figure thing out! Boy! As a teacher myself, this really resonates with me.

Thank you so much!

Stephanie said...

I am not Jewish but there is a lot of that which would be good for anyone to strive toward.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Lady Anne, I can also very keenly relate to speaking to people you can't pray with, and praying with people you can't speak to.