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Being Jewish

Rabbi Daniel KirschNisan 3, 5781
14
Question
Thank you for answering my questions. I have some specific questions concerning the jewish faith. I think if my mother had introduced me to the jewish faith like she should have being a jewish mother, I would not be so confused as I am today. Maybe some of these questions will help me on my quest. 1. it was said in my last email that my mother did not have to practice the faith yet the rabbi said "Every Jew is obligated to study the Torah and to observe the commandments". My mother didnt, neither did I so is it up to G-d to determine our fate? One Jew practices the faith and commandments, the other does not but both are "chosen" by G-d. Hard to understand that. 2. It seems that the Torah teaches about being good on earth, not so much the after life or consequences for being bad, ie heaven or hell. A self centered thought would be " whats the goal" or "reward". 3. Christians claim jesus was a jew, born from a jewish mother mary. Do the jews agree with that, just not that he was sent by G-d? 4. If I am one of the chosen ones by G-d, what happens to the reat of the people in the world. 5. Where in the torah does it say you cant be a jew and a christian. Most of the commandments crossover into other religions.Seems like most religions force you into one or the other. 6. So what does a 50 year old do when they find out they were born from a jewish mother. He missed out on all traditions like Bar mitzvah. Thank you for the help on my journey.
Answer
Hello, your questions are very impressive. Obviously, you are looking seriously for the truth. I believe that if you continue to learn and search for the truth you will find it. In our sources it is said that whoever tries to find the right path and opens the gates a bit, then God opens gates for him and helps him a lot. Although your questions truly deserve very long answers. I will still try to answer short and focused. And you can always ask more if you feel things need further clarification. 1. It is true that it is difficult to understand and see that every Jew has a holy soul and is part of the chosen people even when a person does not keep the Torah and mitzvos. One has to look hard to see it. There is a parable that compares a Jew to a diamond that is covered with a lot of dust. When you clean it from the dust then the diamond shines again. While it is covered with dust only an expert can see the real value of it. our Talmud mentions some of the expressions of the Jewish people; they are shy (i.e. humble) compassionate, and reciprocal kindnesses. It seems to me that when one looks honestly and sincerely at the Jewish people in Israel and all over the world today, one can see clear signs of a special soul even among those who do not keep the commandments, although at a lacking level. 2. True. The great righteous Jews have always been happy to do what God wants not because of the reward he gives in this world or the next. (There is much more to extend about this question). 3. Yes. According to our sources his mother Jewish and that makes him Jewish. 4. All human beings in the world are important since they were created "in the image of God." therefore Jews love and care for all human beings. Yet the Jew is considered the "son" of God". One of the most fundamental books in explaining the faith of Israel is the 'Book of the Kuzari' which was written about a thousand years ago. He explains that there are five layers of beings: a. inanimate. B. plants that grow. c. creatures that live (animals). D. a human being. G. Jews. The people of Israel have sublime spiritual qualities and in therefore their role is to influence the whole world in believing in one God and being good and moral people. 5. First of all it is written in the Torah that no mitzvah should be added or any mitzvah canceled (Deuteronomy 4: 2, Deuteronomy 13: 1). The Christians abolished all commandments. Interestingly Christianity contradicts themselves because on the one hand they say that Christians are obligated to go by the torah and on the other hand they cancled all the mitzvot. Another major reason that Christianity contradicts the Torah is perhaps an even more significant point: according to the Torah there is only one God as stated in the Torah (Deuteronomy 6: 4). Christians believe in the 'Trinity', as if there are 3 Gods. Therefore, Maimonides considered the Christians idol worshipers. by the way I will mention that I have a friend from my town who was a Christian priest for many years and then left Christianity and today he keeps the Torah and its commandments. (He also happens to have a Jewish mother). He told me that there are no good answers in Christianity to these questions. I can give you his phone number to talk to if you feel it will help you. 6. One of our sages said a beautiful sentence: "As long as the candle is lit it can still be repaired." That means that it's never too late. Everything that happens to a person is all under private supervision from God. There is nothing that happens without a cause and purpose. If you were only exposed to your Judaism at the age of fifty, this is definitely what God wanted. There were many Jewish sages and saints who only at a late age were exposed to the truth and began to study Torah. The meaning of a bar mitzvah is that at the age of thirteen a person is considered an adult who is obligated to keep the commandments of the Torah. Up to this age the child does the commandments for the sake of education in order to get used to keeping them when he grows up. If you missed your Bar mitzvah God is always waiting for you to start at any age. I suggest you just start doing (at least some of) the commandments in the Torah and don't hesitate too much. King David said in the book of Psalms: "Taste and see that the Lord is good." Once you taste you can feel the good taste. Good luck my friend and all the best
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