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ArticlesOrthodox Jewry Goofed
If word gets out about this, it might find its way to the tabloids and liberal media but it is important to set the record straight. Despite the fact that Orthodox bashing seems to be a popular sport I feel that this article is in the interests of fulfilling the dictum of acknowledging a mistake in order that the repentance that follows be complete.
So how, you ask, exactly did Orthodox Jewry goof? Quite simply, by agreeing to be called Orthodox. You see, by agreeing to be called Orthodox, this implies man made legitimacy on different types of practice that heretofore was reserved for those who observed G-d's law.
Practicing Jews have been in existence since Abraham, the first Jew, discovered G-d at the tender age of three. Many years later, in 1312 BCE, the entire Jewish people accepted G-d's Torah at Mount Sinai. With the words "We will do and we will listen" the Jewish people (and, according to commentary, all the souls that will be born into or legally convert for all future generations) as a whole, committed to a lifetime of observance for themselves and all their descendants. From that time we, the Jewish people, became known as "observant Jews". From that day and forward, there have been truly only two types of Jews -- those who observe as their parents, grandparents or great grandparents, etc., did and those who choose not to.
By saying that "I'm Orthodox" this allows our neighbor to shrug off our shared history and common bonds by saying "...so what; I'm Conservative" or "...who cares? I'm Reform". By accepting man made labels we promote disunity amongst our people. By denying our commonality, our mutual 'great-greats', we fracture the strength we should have in unity and the oneness of G-d's Chosen people.
Allow me, please, an analogy. With any great home, the strength, beauty and longevity that the home radiates over time to the rest of the world comes as a result of a strong foundation. The same is true of religion. The strongest foundation the Jewish people have is their shared history and the G-d given gift given to them - the Torah. The translation of Torah is instruction (read: blueprint). To determine our level of observance, we must determine how much we want to follow the blueprint.
Founded in the 1810 CE, a group of people attempted to create a new history under the title of reform" Judaism. Following on the heels of the Reform movement, in 1887 CE, another splinter group arrived on the scene under the title "Conservative". These movements, along with the "Orthodox" can only claim validity if they can lay claim to a solid foundation. A foundation must be built on rock solid, time-tested truths, which can be traced back to the original Builder. Anything less is just window dressing or a knock off of the original. Those familiar with Hollywood blockbusters know that a sequel never measures up to the original. This is true when human beings compete in the entertainment arena. To suggest that we can compete with G-d is ludicrous.
At this point in the article, I imagine there are many people who are throwing down their paper, or pushing away their mouse in disgust. I beg your indulgence, however, to listen in as I make an even more radical admission of guilt.
Amongst those who 'observe' the heritage of their holy ancestors, many of whom died so that others could live the lifestyle that was accepted for us at the foot of Mount Sinai, are a (very) few people guilty of not recognizing that our brothers and sisters are, indeed, our brothers and sisters. Perhaps only amongst a minority of the minority, but even one is too much. If you are reading this article and nodding knowingly at this startling admission, I suggest you do something about it. Gently confront this person and ask him or her to explain to you why they treat you the way they do. While there will be a few exceptions to what I am about to suggest, I am willing to bet that the following statement will rule the day; Every person who is not recognized as being Jewish by a co-worker or neighbor has probably not acted in a sufficiently Jewish fashion. Refer back, if you will, to paragraph # 5 of this article for information on where to find out how to determine if one is acting in a recognizably Jewish fashion.
It is time for Jews of all man made affiliations to cast those affiliations aside and unite under one banner. A banner where every Jew loves every Jew. A banner based on the belief, faith, heritage and practice of our ancestors, thousands of years old, yet to the trained eye, every bit as relevant today as it was when we all received our blueprint from the Master Builder Himself.
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