What makes one a Jew? Being born to a Jewish mother? Converting to Judaism? Not really. It is living by the spiritual order of Judaism that makes one a Jew; living through the Jews of the past and with the Jews of the present and future. We are Jews when we choose to be so; when we have discovered Jewishness on our own, through our search for the sacred; when we fight the never-ending spiritual struggle to find God, realize that the world needs a moral conscience, and carry that exalted burden so as to save the world and provide it with a mission.
Rabbi Aha said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: When at Mt. Sinai the Israelites heard the word “I” (the first word of “I am the Lord your God” in the “Ten Words”), their souls left them, as it says, “If we hear the Voice….any longer, we shall die,”(Devarim 5:22), and it is also written, […]
“Perhaps someday someone will explain how, on the level of man,
Elie Wiesel: Legends of our Time
During the past three weeks I have received numerous responses to my Letter of Protest to God. In Awe and Humility (TTP 270 – See www.cardozoschool.org/), many of which included important observations and questions. Some were highly supportive of my ideas, informing me that I had expressed many of the questions that people are troubled by, while others were slightly antagonistic and asked how I dared to challenge God. The answer I suggested seems to have helped even those. On the whole, this has been most refreshing since it shows that people, whether they agree or disagree with my approach, are deeply affected by the issues I have raised.
In previous generations, parents arranged marriages for their sons and daughters, convinced that the spouses they chose for their children would be ideal life partners for them. In a similar way, Jewish parents throughout the generations bring their newborn sons into a covenant with the God of Israel, eternally uniting them with their most ideal Partner. Brit mila is the act by which a Jewish child and God become engaged.
Leadership is one of the most difficult qualities for man to achieve. It requires a rare combination of wisdom, courage, knowledge and experience. Very few people possess all these qualities and even fewer know the art of combining them in a balanced way.