Thursday, May 5, 2016

Why are we Jewish?

When I saw this image this morning, Yom HaShoah, my first reaction was no. Now late in the day, I still say no - and heck no. The Holocaust is not a reason to be Jewish.

Certainly we honor those who were murdered simply because they were Jewish by doing something Jewish. But to "live like a Jew" because 6 million of our family was murdered is the wrong way to look at it.

We "live like a Jew" because we as a People were given something special by G-d directly back 3300+ years ago. The system of living in a holy way. Lifting the physical world by finding the spiritual sparks within it. A moral system that changed the whole world. Making the world a place where G-d wants to live with us.

The Torah is a special gift, given to us at the holiday of Shavuot (coming up soon June 11-13). Shavuot is the holiday that occurred 50 days after the exodus from Egypt. Shavuot established us as the Jewish People with our laws found in the Torah. Freedom without rules equals chaos. 

We remember those who were murdered because they were Jews. We are grateful to them for continuing the unbreakable chain back to Mt. Sinai where we received our special gift of the Torah. We are thankful to the survivors who came out from the darkest of hells to build the next generation of the Jewish People. 

It's 2016 - more than 70 years since the Holocaust ended. Are we "living like a Jew" because of guilt, we don't want to disappoint our grandparents or parents? Or are we living as Jews because we know what it means, what life is all about? We are in the stretch of time between Passover and Shavuot, when we receive the Torah, let's take this time to try to answer this important question.

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