Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Torah/Orthodox Judaism -- What It Is/What It Isn't

I had the opportunity for spend Shabbos with a mixed group.  Included in that group was a person whose maternal (and probably paternal as well, but that's irrelevant) lineage is Jewish back to Mt Sinai, but who is very active as a congregant in a Reform Jewish Temple; let's call him Oscar.  There was another whose maternal lineage has been most decidedly non-Jewish since sheishes y'mei b'reishis, but who is active in a Conservative Jewish Synagogue; let's call her Christy.  I was there also, let's call me Michael.

There were a lot of people there, so by late Shabbos afternoon, the hot water urn had been depleted.  Christy said that was too bad, as she would like a hot coffee.  Michael piped up, "Go ahead and add water to the urn."  Oscar said, "Oh?  We can do that?"  Michael immediately warned, "No, Oscar, you certainly cannot do that."  Christy asked, "Why can I add hot water and Oscar can't?  He is not more observant than I am!"  Michael answered, in all innocence, "Because, Christy, Oscar is Jewish and you aren't."  I expected Christy to just say, "Oh, right; I wasn't thinking."  She didn't.

Christy's problem, of course, is that she mixes up observance of halacha with being a member of klal yisrael.  Someone born in the United States to citizens of the United States is a citizen of the United States.  Whether or not he chooses to follow all or none of the laws of the land, he is a citizen.  On the other hand, someone born in France to parents who are citizens of France will not be a citizen of the United States. Even if he chooses to obey all laws and ordinances of the land.  The only way that Frenchman can become a citizen of the United States is to naturalize according to the laws of the United States; and once they are citizens, that's it, they're citizens.  Analogously, a person born to a Jewish woman, or someone who converts under the auspices of an Orthodox Jewish court is Jewish; that's it.  Christy isn't Jewish even though she is on the ritual committee at her synagogue.  Oscar is Jewish even if he becomes a minister (rachmana latzlan).

Non- (actually Anti-) Torah religions that call themselves "jewish", such as Reform Judaism and Jews for Jesus, are a real danger to the Jews that they all too frequently entice into their movements.  (Even one Jew lost to them is too many; way too many.)  A Jew who eats non-kosher food or violates Shabbos is damaging his soul.  These movements not only encourage such violations, but teach that "that's what G-d really wants".  Baruch HaShem these movements are becoming less of a threat.  J for J is recognized as just a front.  Reform, because of it's intermarriage rate, is already mostly goyim anyway.  None the less, it is our job -- the members of klal yisrael who do observe halacha, to recognize those religions for what they are and offer no compromise.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…