LESSONS OF JUDAISM



Everything is Connected

†† One day, in 6th grade, our substitute teacher handed out an assignment.The paper contained a list of instructions. We eagerly grabbed our pens and raced to see who could complete it first.It started out with

 

  1. Read all directions before starting
  2. Draw a small triangle in the upper right corner on the front of the paper
  3. Write the sum of 23 + 14 in the middle of the back of the paper
  4. Write your motherís first name in the bottom left corner on the front of the paper.

 

On it went for a total of25 tasks.Without exception, each student groaned when they came to the last direction.It read:

 

25. Ignore all previous directions, make no marks on the paper, put your pen down and sit quietly.

 

The end was in the beginning.The lesson of the first task was driven home as each student read the last.We had focused on each individual task, not realizing how each one was part of the whole.

 

†† Everything is connected.There is a connection between what a person does today and what happens tomorrow.A debt that is owed will be repaid.However, G-d is not under time.The debt may be incurred when one is 20 years old and not repaid until 50.G-d keeps track and everything has to be in balance.††

 

†† Live life and make choices but remember that what one makes of his life is what his life will be.Someone does business on Shabbat and they earn $1000.It will work out that they will lose $1000.For example, something will break that will cost $1000 to fix. What is desired to be true in the long term?Make right choices today and trust G-d that it will be good in the long term.

 

†† It is easy to see oneself as just an individual performing the mitzvoth.If one thinks it is all about him and he is the center than he has missed the mark.His perspective has to be a broader.Each Jew is a part of a people and his 70 years of life is only a part in the unbroken flow of time of that people.All Jews are connected, time is connected, everything is connected together.Judaism is a religion built on the shoulders of those who come before us.It is a continuous line from Moses to Joshua and so on.1†††

 

†† What one what does today affects his life tomorrow.What one does himself affects other people.It is one big creation.There are no parts and pieces that are unconnected, whether by time or location.What we do today was determined by people long ago, it is all connected together.It is one continuous, unchanged thread.††

 

†† Every child has the idea that the world started with his generation and before that was ďthe old days.ĒWhen I was young I asked my father if they had electricity when he was growing up in the 1930ís and 40ís.He said of course they did.Years later, one of my sons asked me if I had electricity when I was growing up in the 1950ís and 60ís.ďOf course we did.Ē

 

†† Looking back at history one sees that over the centuries the world has not really changed. ďThere is nothing new under the sun.Ē2Fads and trends come and go.Styles change and technology change but it is all essentially the same world.Today we communicate instantly with text messaging, faxes, phones and email.Before that there were telegraphs, writing paper, messengers were sent, clay tablets, drums, smoke signals, etc.While the technology of communication has changed what is the same is that we send communications to those distant from us.

 

†† Microwave ovens, radiant ovens, infra red elements, electric ovens, gas ovens, coal ovens, wood ovens, dung chips, clay ovens, wood fires.While the technology of cooking has changed what is the same is that we cook food and prepare meals for our families.

 

†† Any person can look back from his present age to when he was a child say that the world has not really changed.Styles, fads, technology changes but the world stays the same.In fact, ask someone old enough and they will tell that styles donít even change, they run in cycles.What was in style goes out of style only to come back in style years later.Judaism is the same way.Judaism has not really changed.It is one continuous line from generation to the next.What was true for the generation of Moses is true today.

 

†† As I became ready to return to Judaism I looked at the options.I was initially attracted to some of the more creative branches of Judaism.But, as I saw people doing almost anything and calling it Judaism I realized that there had to be something that defined Judaism.Otherwise anything could be Judaism and Judaism would change with every generation.There had to be something timeless, an unbroken thread.There had to be a center around which every different custom revolved that made it part of Judaism.The unbroken thread is Halacha, Jewish law.Whether one keeps a few or most of the mitzvoth, the foundation is to recognize that there is an unchanging center.Every part of that unchanging center is as relevant today as it was they day it was given on Mount Sinai.

1. Pirket Avot, chapter 1

2. Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 1:9-14

 

TOPICS

 

Growth

Equilibrium

Find a Good Teacher

Judaism, A Religion of New Beginnings

Knowledge and Wisdom

Never Give Up

Our Greatest Teacher

Progress

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Truth; Our Most Powerful Tool

Value of Routine

Relationship: To G-d

Dishonoring Torah

Feeling Close to G-d

G-d Wants the Heart

Incomplete Offering

Time Spent

Whole and Willing

 

 

Prayer

Answers to Prayer

G-d Will Answer Your Prayers

Most Effective Prayer Offered

Purpose of Prayer

Why Prayer Services Arenít More Entertaining

Role of The Jewish People

(Purpose of Creation)

Eternal Life

Everything is Connected

G-dís Hidden Presence

Key to Success

My Part

Our Actions Change the World

Revealing the Concealed

Why the Animal Soul Controls the Body

 

 

Relationship: To Another Jew

Harbor No Enmity

Practicing Forgiveness

Spouses

Who Are your Victims?

The Soulís Mission

Just Right

Leaving a Mark on the World

Perfect Family

Perspective

Repair Your Part

 

 

Relationship: To Community

Charity Given With Joy

Love Every Jew

Mitzvah of Giving Up

Single Entity

Special Role of the Baal Teshuvah

Unity From Acceptance

Whole Story

Trust and Faith

Choices

Choosing for a Purpose

Donít Put G-d in a Box

Faith

Stick With G-d

 

 

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