Due to the long exile of the Jewish people, many Christian ideas have infiltrated Judaism through the back door. One such idea is the notion that saving the soul is more important than saving the body, and that the body is an obstacle to the soul. This idea is completely against the central tents of Judaism, and yet it has been adopted by certain parts of the Chareidi community.
Redemption does not happen overnight; it develops over a long period of intermediate hester panim, until the last stage in the drama of history is fulfilled. The story of Purim reminds us that such periods when God “hides” from us are temporary. It gives us a framework in which to understand our lives and remain optimistic, even in the midst of darkness.
Some of our greatest commentators have wrestled with the connection between the command to build the Mishkan (the Tent of Meeting or Tabernacle) and the sin of the Golden Calf. It can be argued that the Mishkan was a concession to human weakness, and the same is true of the institution of spoken prayer!
Most of the people in both the secular and the Chareidi communities are deeply committed to their fellow Jews and to the welfare of the State of Israel. And so I ask both communities, why can’t you get on with each other?
When Jews and non-Jews rediscover that to really live is an art which few people have conquered, but which is essential to our happiness, only then will the world be able to slowly heal itself.