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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.


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