LESSONS OF JUDAISM

 

Whole and Willing

For want of a nail , the shoe was lost:

For want of the shoe , the horse was lost;

For want of the horse , the rider was lost;

For want of the rider , the battle was lost;

For want of the battle , the kingdom was lost,

And all for the want of a nail.

 

   Can an imperfect man unite with G-d who is perfect and complete?1  All Jews comprise one another.2   When one hates another Jew he actually shuts out part of himself.  G-d must be approached with one’s whole self not with a part.  He brings 600,000 souls and if a man brings only 599,999 it is not a whole.  G-d wants a whole not a partial.

 

   Who then could ever approach G-d?  Conflict with another is inevitable.  G-d made us and knows us.  He does not require an absence of conflict.  In fact, He gave laws to deal with situations of conflict.  He also gave us the 243rd mitzvah: “Love your fellow man as yourself.” 3  Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (the Alter Rebbe) taught that before praying one should say “I hereby take upon myself to fulfill the mitzvah, ‘Love your fellowman as yourself’.” Only then should a Jew ask G-d to fulfill his needs.  Most people fail shortly after taking on that commitment.  Most important is not the perfect fulfillment of the mitzvah but the willingness to try again and again to the best of one’s ability.

 

   The same is true with all of Jewish law.  Halacha is the anchor around which Judaism revolves.  It does not change, it does not deviate, and it remains the same.  Otherwise Judaism could be anything.  There would be no limits and no set of beliefs could be excluded.  It could be Hinduism or Christianity, whatever a Jew became involved in.

 

   Does G-d really expect us to do perform all the mitzvoth?  Does He really expect Jews to be able to study constantly?  Only rare individuals are able to keep the entire law and not be tempted by the world.      

 

   G-d does not expect an individual to fulfill the entire law in a single lifetime.  His desire is that we recognize Him and aspire to keep His entire law.  We may fail and repent but we desire to succeed the best we are able. This is in contrast to those who discard part of His law as “not relevant.”

 

   G-d wants willingness. With willingness comes the ability to grow, and to do one more mitzvah.  The knowledge of one’s need to grow leads to the ability to forgive others for their need to grow.

1. Derech Hashem Part 1, Ch. 1, Section 5.

2. Mitzvoth Ahavas Yisrael, pp 24-27

3. Leviticus 19:18

 

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 Aren’t More Entertaining

Role of The Jewish People

(Purpose of Creation)

Eternal Life

Everything is Connected

G-d’s 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 Soul’s 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

Don’t Put G-d in a Box

Faith

Stick With G-d

 

 

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