Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Why I created this blog


This past Shabbat (Sabbath), my Rabbi spoke about a young man who he was working with. He was a nice young Jewish man who had fallen prey to the "Jews for J***s" and was now questioning this move. The problem was that this young gentleman was so confused that he just didn't know which way to go.

I can understand his confusion, though I don't share it. I was fortunate enough to have a good Yeshiva (Jewish religious school) education so I know what it is that is so wonderful about Judaism. And even with that, I had some years of confusion in my late teens to early twenties.

But the thing is, the Tora shows the path to a good life. The Tora life is basically a good life, a moral life, a life that fits with the circadian rhythms of the world, the flora and fauna of earth, the cosmos and G-d. The Tora is basically a "user's manual" for the world written by the Creator of the world.

In any case, I decided it was time for me to present a Tora view of the world (Keep in mind, I said "a Tora view" NOT "The Tora view") of things. The title for this blog came from the blog entry below, which first appeared on my Israel and its Place in the World blog:

Last night, I was one of the privileged few (I heard 15 hundred???) who was part of Brigitte Gabriel's conference call "town meeting". I missed the beginning (I was talking to my best friend), but I was on the phone listening (with the mute on the phone) for over a half hour.

Brigitte Gabriel's organization, American Congress for Truth, is trying to defeat Islamofascism in the United States and the World. For that I applaud her and the organization.

But as a Jew (in particular, an Orthodox Zionistic Jew) I have an issue. The issue is not specifically with Brigitte. We have for centuries had to deal with hatred and people wanting to destroy us and most of the time they fell into one of two categories: the Hamans of the world (represented by Purim), who wanted to destroy our bodies, and the Antiochuses of the world (represented by Hanuka), who wanted to destroy our souls.

Hitler was a Haman. Torquemada, for all the Jews whose murder he had a hand in, was an Antiochus.

But in this century we have to deal with both Haman and Antiochus. The Muslims want to kill us like Haman and the Christians, with all their "love bombing" and deceptive Messianic tactics, like Antiochus, want our souls.

This puts us in a very strange position. Politics makes strange bedfellows and for us right now we have to "to go bed", so to speak, with the Christian right, the very people who are after our souls with their financial support of Jews for Jesus, because they are the people in the US who are actually supportive of Israel. These are the people who visit Israel, who get up on their Radio and Television shows and promote Israel. These are the people who are working on fighting the Islamofascists, the ones who lauded Israel for attacking terrorists in the south of (the Syrian puppet regime of) Lebanon.

But these are also the people who are trying to convert us. These are the people who think that their quickest route to heaven is by converting Jews. These are the people who believe we will burn in hell for all eternity. And these are the people, who, in their heart of hearts, believe that when Jesus "returns" in his "second coming", those of us who don't join them in the final war of Armageddon will die.

These are the people who use the word "crusade" to describe a holy mission against the Muslims. But what they either don't know or choose to forget is that for us Jews, the Crusades were hardly a picnic. Just as we are today, we were sandwiched between the two big religious "super powers".

What neither side seems to understand (probably because both sides are so entrenched in societies where their religion holds sway to the extent that they don't need to analyze other ideas) is that there is a very good reason that Jews have historically not converted. Obviously, it's not because we lived in societies where OUR religion held sway. So maybe, just maybe, there's something more to Judaism than either "side" wants to admit. Maybe, just maybe, our way of life is so meaningful that we just don't want to live any other way. But as a Rabbi I know once said, it's like being inside a circle and all the people inside the circle understand what's great about the circle. But the people outside the circle don't understand. And they probably never will until they come into the circle, if only for a short time.

Judaism, unlike Christianity and Islam, doesn't claim that its adherents have a corner on truth, justice or goodness. We don't say that if you aren't Jewish you will "burn in hell for all eternity". That's because we don't have to scare people into following our Tora. The Tora has a special place for Gentiles. There are laws that non-Jews are responsible for. These are basically moral laws, like not murdering (yes, murdering -- it doesn't say in the 10 "commandments" that you shall not kill, it says you shall not MURDER), not stealing, not having inappropriate sexual relations (like adultery and incest), setting up courts, not worshiping idols, not pulling a limb off a live animal, etc.

We don't need to scare people into following our Tora because we know that following the Tora is to everyone's benefit. From my perspective, you only need to scare people into following your religion if you instinctively know it's not the truth.

So what can we do? How can we protect ourselves from the two pieces of bread in the Jewish Sandwich? I don't know. But one thing I do know -- we can't protect ourselves by giving away our land or by arming our enemies or by ignoring the missionaries. We can't protect ourselves by ignoring the Tora. And we can't protect ourselves by turning our backs on G-d.

Strong Jewish Women Merchandise
More of my writing:
Strong Biblical Women
Strong Biblical Women 2
Strong Biblical Women Part 3