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  • Family and Society
  • Who is A Jew?

What does being jewish mean?


Rabbi Daniel Kirsch

Adar 27, 5781
My Jewish mother who was born from a Jewish mother and father yet has never been in a temple once, claims that I am a jew because she is. What does that really mean in all aspects of my life?
Hello, If your mother is Jewish then you have been privileged to be part of the Jewish people. There is no greater merit than this! The definition of a Jew is one who is born to a Jewish mother. It makes no difference at all whether or not the mother has been to a synagogue in her life. As for your question of what it means to be Jewish in the various aspects of your life – you asked a very important question. In short, it means that you are part of the people chosen by G-d. This means that each and every one of the Jewish people has a holy soul-- even if he/she does not know it or has not attributed any importance to it. Due to the special holiness of the people of Israel, G-d has given the Jews the gift of the Torah in order to teach us the right way to live our lives and to be better people. By doing so we will be a enlighten the entire world. ('to be a light onto the nations'). Every Jew is obligated to study the Torah and to observe the commandments. There are 613 commandments in the Torah. The main one and perhaps the most fundamental of them all is: 'love your fellow as yourself'. This mitzvah incorporates many of the other mitzvot that relate to the relationship between a person and his fellow man. Another basic commandment is to rest on the seventh day; this is to remind us that G-d created the world in six days and finished and 'rested' on the seventh day. There are many other commandments and they all make a person happy in his life and after his death. Feel free to ask more questions, and I hope that you find truth and happiness that come with the connection to G-d and his Torah. Good luck! You might find this video, produced and narrated by the late, former Chief Rabbi of England, Rabbi Jonathan Sachs, to be helpful on this topic: Regards and all the best,
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