"My mother is a convert. She chose Judaism because she felt the need for a religion that controlled all aspects of life, not just a weekly visit to church."
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I had all these plans to blog on political things, like the mosque near Ground Zero or more about Beit Shemesh, but something I heard last week reverberates in my mind.
I'm acquainted with the woman and some of her kids. I would have never guessed that she hadn't been Jewish from birth, not that most converts wear labels on their foreheads or any other obvious signs. In our conversations it had never come up, and I don't think she expected that her child was going to mention it. It's not the conversion revelation which got me thinking. I have lots of Jewish friends who chose Judaism. It's that I never thought of Judaism as good, preferable because of its influence on every single aspect of our lives, from morning to night, eating, "eliminating," and birth to death.
Torah observant Jews never ignore our religion. Everything we eat and the timing must take Jewish Law into consideration. The same for how we dress, plan our days and act towards our fellow man. The pragmatic truth is that most of us are far from perfect; we ignore or are lax about certain laws and categories. But the ideal is clear.
There's always room for improvement.
We're always supposed to reflect on it. This process of reflection and improvement, Teshuva, repentance, is an ongoing cycle reaching an annual peak Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur. The build-up is now, the Jewish Month of Elul. This ongoing dynamic is part of the 24/7 aspect of Judaism, and very different from other religions, we can communicate directly with G-d. The Hebrew for to pray is להתפלל l'hitpallel, a reflexive verb, meaning we do it to ourselves. Prayer isn't done for us.
There's a maturity you don't see in other religions concerning man's relationship with G-d. Even more is the fact that sins between man and fellow man can only be forgiven if we go directly to the very person we sinned against. That's to remind us that for every word, every action we must be accountable.
Shavua Tov and Gmar Chatima Tovah
Have a Good Week and A Good Final Accounting