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Monday, October 1, 2012

True Judaism, Work + IDF = Torah

Today, meaning before nightfall, was the first day of the Jewish Holiday of Succot.  Succot is the week long holiday in the fall, two weeks after Rosh Hashannah when we're required/commanded by G-d to live in temporary dwelling, succot covered by sechach. 

Since we're in the real world, these temporary structures must be strong enough to survive a storm.  Sometimes it rains and gets very windy during Succot, even here in the Holy Land. And there are times when it is physically impossible to be in a succah, even if it's still standing.  We aren't commanded to stay out in the rain. There's a limit to the protective powers of the sechach, which are mainly in the spiritual, not the thermal.

Judaism is a religion grounded in reality.  There's a balance between the קודש and  חול, kodesh and chol, holy and profane.

I don't see any place in the Torah that demands that men isolate themselves in the "ivory towers" of the Beit Medrish, study halls to just learn Torah all day.  Whenever I read Leviticus Chapter 23 וַיִּקְרָא
ג שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים, תֵּעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה, וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן מִקְרָא-קֹדֶשׁ, כָּל-מְלָאכָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ: שַׁבָּת הִוא לַיהוָה, בְּכֹל מוֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם. {פ} 3 Six days shall work be done; but on the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of work; it is a sabbath unto the LORD in all your dwellings. {P}
I am convinced that G-d commanded that we all work, create, earn a living on weekdays.  Torah learning doesn't fit that requirement, because on the Sabbath we're forbidden to work.  Since Torah study should be done on Shabbat, it can't be one's "work."  Looking at the Hebrew, we see that on the weekdays we're commanded to do מְלָאכָה milacha, a constructive/creative work of the categories used in the building of the Mishkan, Tabernacle, which, again, isn't anything like Torah study.

We are supposed to live the Torah, not to isolate it.

There's a lot in the news about the son of the former symbol of ultra-Orthodox aka chareidi Yehuda Meshi-Zahav being in the Israeli army.  When Meshi-Zahav was young, he was well-known and active (and arrested) in all sorts of anti-Zionist demonstrations.  Later on he took on different challenges using his energies and intelligence to establish ZAKA, the first response emergency group that helps with rescues, terror attacks and collecting body parts after accidents and terror attacks.

ZAKA members are performing great mitzvot.  They help other Jews, alive and dead.  No doubt this gives them, mostly chareidi, a very different perspective on life.  Soldiers in the IDF are also doing great mitzvot, and that mustn't be ignored.  They are the things that Judaism and Torah are all about.

4 comments:

Alan said...

Sukkot is noteworthy because a quite a few schools-of-thought of Notzriut feel that they are still under the obligation to observe this one particular holiday. Not as any form of cutesy nostalgia, nor as trickery to talk Jews into "accepting Jesus", but rather by virtue of their interpretation of what their Scripture purports to present as a transcription of his actual words. In fact, my interpretation of the source of Vatican hostility to the Hebrew State is, they are terrifed of the possiblity that Catholic schools-of-thought might start to think about the fact that Jesus (if he actually existed, of which there isn't any evidence that he ==couldn't have==)... didn't preach in Latin, and in fact, never directed his (alleged) preaching to the wider world outside of the Subjects of the ostensibly Hasmonean Monarchs that the Romans arranged to be sitting in the Palace in Jerusalem.

Drifting (with your kind permission) off on a tangent, as I learn more and more of the historical record, it seems to me that Shlomo ha-Melech was operating a GIGANTIC Royal Navy; which today is mis-remembered as "Phoenicians"

Batya said...

Over the years, a number of "thinking Christians" have ended up conveting to Judaism after realizing that their religion didn't make sense.

Hadassa said...

Shalom!
I think that we should be careful to include non-combat service in the Work + IDF ideal. Doctors, medics, engineers, computer programmers and the less glorious cooks, tailors (armies need uniforms), shoemakers etc who work with or for the IDF all play an important role in defending Israel.

Batya said...

Hadassa, of course. The non-combatants are crucially important. It's an interdependent package.