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  • Torah and Jewish Thought
  • Principles of Mitzva Observance

scared or embarrassed to show Judaism


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Adar II 27, 5776
My son is scared to stay a Jew abroad so I think that he is now non-religious and I am hurt. What to do? God bless!
Shalom! It definitely is not natural, nor comfortable, to be in a situation where you cannot be yourself and show your religion publicly. We suffered this way for 2,000 years in exile because we had no choice, often having to either hide our Judaism or suffer for it. Today, thank God, we have a normal alternative- to live as a free and proud people in our own land, in the State of Israel. True, sometimes the standard of living may be a little higher in other countries, but everyone must decide what are his priorities? What is more important- Judaism, ideals, being a proud member of God's Chosen Nation who have remarkably returned to Israel, or making a little more money while living a life of self-denial? I think most thinking people would prefer their ideals, and historical destiny over a little physical pleasure. Ask your son, "Aren't you curious why the Jewish people outlast all the others? Aren't you wondering why we are the called the People of the Book, who have been awarded 22% (!) of the Noble Prizes while comprising only 0.2% of the world's population (literally 100 times more than logic), and sport most (53%!) of the world's chess masters! Aren't you curious why the nations of the world are preoccupied with the Jews and the small State of Israel, way out of proportion to our size? Aren't you proud that your nation is the one who brought modern physics (Einstein) and Psychology (Freud), the cellphone (Motorola-Israel), memory stick and Windows XP (Microsoft-Israel), Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg), most importantly: monotheism (belief in One God) and morality, the two greatest achievements of mankind, to the world?" Suggest to him, for his sake, to go spend even one week in Aish HaTorah, Machon Meir or any yeshiva geared for explaining basics, to help him appreciate his great fortune, and why Jews can never and should never want to run away from themselves and their destiny! Why he should be proud of his Judaism and why he should want to be part of Am Yisrael! With Love of Israel, Rav Ari Shvat
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