We are Naught (cont.): The Real Meaning of Religion In memory of my dear friend Leo Meyers z.l., Amsterdam As I mentioned in the previous chapter, it became clear to me at a later stage of my life that most of those surrounding me did not properly understand the nature of science and its […]
In Amsterdam of my youth there were many – Jews and non-Jews alike – who were in a similar situation to me: we did not perceive ourselves as belonging to any religion. Furthermore, we perceived those who were involved in religious practices as primitive and of inferior intellect. And yet, my family’s social and cultural settings had quite a Jewish (without Judaism) flavor.
Our lives are filled with multiple events that impact us deeply. Some of these events are negative and have the potential of crushing our hopes and extinguishing the inner flame burning within us that motivates and drives us. And among these events there are circumstances we can change, and others we cannot. The correct perspective regarding the circumstances of our lives is not only the key to surviving but even holds within it the potential for our own growth and touching the lives of others.
Traditions – and all their miniscule details – can be extremely important for a society, a city and a country. Traditions exist in all forms, many of these do not elevate man (and unfortunately there are those that denigrate him), while others have the power to transform one’s existence and raise one to a different plane. Judaism is a religion of ideas, but more so a religion that is involved in the practical, day-to-day activities of man. Indeed, “God is in the details” – our law and traditions, right down to their finest details – define us.
The beauty of the human body in the eyes of another human is beyond comprehension just as God’s “splendor” is. However, when the beauty of the body is used for the wrong reasons it becomes vulgar, and the inner Divine beauty is exposed and violated.