Progressive Jewish Spirituality
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Titles #2 Freedom of Religion for Jews, Judaism and Spirituality, Judaism Genocide and the Zohar, Mental Health Religion and Spirituality, Moses is truth and his Torah is Truth, Judaism in War and Peace
Freedom of Religion for Jews
It is a well known fact that in the time of the Beit Hamikdash there was no freedom of religion. A Jew was restricted to worship HaShem according to the guidelines of the National law which was the Oral Torah. Restrictions were made upon those that desired to teach the law that it had to be taught in the way established by the Sanhedrin. Anything new was considered to be idolatry. A person could be punished severely for any type of new ideas of how to worship and where to worship.
Even today in the Jewish world before a person is allowed to teach he should get ordination from a liable teacher. Today there are various schools and various approaches toward worship based on Torah law. There is prayer using the simple meanings of the words and prayer with divine intentions of the Arizal. Rebbe Nachman gave permission for people to pray creatively in their own words. The book of Psalms is used for additional prayers and there is also special individuals like Rabbi Natan of Breslov that wrote his own original prayers.
There are various schools for learning Torah. The way to approach learning Torah is according to the Mishna at five years old for Chumash learning, then Mishna and Gemora. Some people connected to a Rebbe begin to learn Chassidut in their teens. Sephardic schools have a tradition of learning Chok Yisrael which includes in it all types of Torah including Zohar. Later on they may find a teacher to study Kabballa of the Arizal.
The needs of each person are different. Some people have no desire to study Chassidut or Kabballa. Other people prefer the learning of Halacha. Some people work to master gemora with all its commentaries. A Jew is discouraged from learning things that are out of Judaism. Other faiths are called idolatry. Judaism does not allow sharing between faiths but sometimes people need to go out and explore to find what they feel is missing in Judaism. The Lubavitcher Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach recognized a need for Jews to broaden their horizons in Torah. Instead of going out of the religion to find what they were missing, he made another plan to invite people from the outside into Jewish congregations specifically Lubavitch and share with them their experiences before they returned to Judaism. It is very well known that Judaism is not complete without the Moshiach. It is also not complete without the participation of every human being and every Jew. To say that all knowledge is in Judaism would be like saying that there was no need for other religions except Judaism. However other religions began after Judaism out of a need not just out of rebellion. It says in the ethics of the fathers, Who is the wise man? The one that learns from every man. It doesn't say every Jew but every man. Humility was the attribute of Moshe Rabbeinu. If so, why are Jews so closed off from the outside. Why do our teachers try to close off Jews from the outside?
The Lubavitcher Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach has begun the movement toward uniting the Jewish people with the rest of the world to fulfill the prophecy, "the whole world will be filled with the knowledge of Hashem." Now that we have Moshiach we no longer need to be afraid of the other side. In this way there can be peace when there will be sharing between men. At the same time, it still is important to protect our people from contamination of ideas from the outside. The damage of the dangers of influence from the outside of the Jewish world can be offset by strengthening the Jewish people from within through the learning of Chassidut. Jewish education has to also adapt to the times of Moshiach. When once Jewish children were taught to distance themselves from the rest of the world, today they can also be taught how the Jewish people can become a part of the world and share with the world.
Judaism and Spirituality
Judaism opposes many of the ideals of spirituality which are One God, One World, One Religion. Spirituality can accept Judaism but Judaism cannot accept spirituality.
Judaism was founded by Moses at Mount Sinai. The Jewish people were God's only representatives on earth. They had a spiritual tradition beginning with Noah who handed over the knowledge of God to his son Shem. He would have liked for all his sons to receive his teachings but Cham and Jafeth were not ready to accept the responsibilities which go along with the Knowledge of God. These responsibilities are righteousness and justice. Shem was willing to accept these responsibilities and he alone received this knowledge from his father.
Shem taught this knowledge to those who were the proper vehicles of truth. Shem is called in Genesis the King of Peace. Abraham became inspired in his youth to know the truth of God. In Genesis he went to visit Shem the King of Peace who was his teacher. This knowledge is called the Secret of God. About this knowledge it says, "the secret of God is for those that fear him." Fear of God is a prerequisite for receiving the knowledge of God.
Abraham had difficulties is having children from his wife Sarah. He had also a concubine Hagar. Hagar was the mother of Ishmael. Sarah later gave birth to Isaac who became the father of the Jewish people. Abraham sent Ishmael and Hagar away. This very important knowledge which he received from the King of Peace, Shem the son of Noah he could only give to Isaac and his children. Ishmael lacked the fear of God that was necessary to receive this knowledge. Abraham chose to give this knowledge to Isaac the son of Sarah.
Isaac had two children Esau and Jacob. Esau was a hunter and Jacob was an intellectual. Even though Esau was the first born, Isaac gave to Jacob this knowledge with his blessing. Jacob became the father of the Jewish people. His twelve sons became the twelve tribes of Israel.
It would have been nice if the knowledge of God could be given to every human being equally. However not every person is ready to receive this knowledge. First there must be the fear of God which requires also the proper intellectual capabilities for this deep type of learning. To receive this knowledge requires the mind and intellect to rule over the heart and emotions. Emotions are important but intellect distinguishes man from the beast.
The Jewish people the twelve son of Jacob which were seventy souls descended into Egypt due to a famine in the earth. They left their homeland Israel because of this famine. Jacob educated his children in the fear of God and the knowledge of God. The Jewish people were the received the treasure of God which is his knowledge. They multiplied in Egypt. Jacob made in Egypt schools of study of divinity. His brother Joseph through a miracle became a minister in the land second to the king.
The next generation after Joseph were persecuted in Egypt by the new Pharaoh. They were given hard labor which prevented the children of Jacob the Jewish people from learning the law of God in Egypt until it was almost forgotten. Moses was born in the middle of this spiritual crisis when Judaism had reached its lowest levels under Egyptian persecution. God chose Moses to redeem the Jewish people from hard labor and to bring them back to their homeland the land of Israel. Moses restored to the Jewish people the knowledge which was lost in Egypt and in addition he gave them the Torah the law of God which would be for them the Jewish religion forever. On Mount Sinai on the sixth day of the month of Sivan God revealed himself to the Jewish people and the world to give to the world the ten commandments on two tablets written by the hand of the divine. This revelation was to be once and never again. The Torah the five books of Moses records this event in history. The Jewish people under the supervision of Aharon the brother of Moses decided to build a Golden Calf for worship. When Moses came down from the mountain with these tablets and saw this atrocity, he broke the tablets in anger. God understood that these tablets of spirituality were above the ability of the Jewish people to receive. They lacked the fear of God which was necessary to receive these tablets. Instead they were given a second set of tablets written by Moses which became Judaism. The first set of tablets was pure spirituality. The second set of tablets was religion laws and commandments for the Jewish people to follow to build Jewish families in their nation in the land of Israel. Judaism began in the wilderness where was built the Mishkan a portable tabernacle for sacrifices.
In the wilderness after hearing God speak and receiving the divine knowledge directly from God, there was a life of spirituality for forty years until they reached the land of Israel. The people who had this spiritual experience remained in the wilderness including Moses, Aharon his brother and Miriam his sister. They had experienced the miracles Egypt the ten plagues, the splitting of the Red Sea, and the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. There children the next generation entered into Israel. Spirituality which existed in the wilderness was slowly forgotten. There was only the memory of the events which occurred to the Jewish people in the wilderness including eating food each day which fell from heaven and drinking from a spring of water coming from the earth as they travelled for forty years. Spirituality was replaced by intellectual and emotional devotion to the Torah the laws of Moses which governed the Nation of Israel. The people continued the customs of sacrifice carrying with them the Mishkan which they made under the supervision of Moses and Aharon. When the land was finally conquered by King David, Solomon his son built a permanent structure called the Beit Hamikdash, the holy temple.
From the time of the giving of the law by Moses which included the second set of tablets, the Oral teachings and the five books of Moses the written law, Judaism has not changed. There was once spirituality in Judaism during the generation of the wilderness, which was lost and forgotten. Spirituality became only a memory. Judaism is a very basic religious faith which demands study of scripture and performance of six hundred and thirteen commandments. Many of these commandments are impossible to keep today since they depend upon there being a holy temple and upon living in the land of Israel. The two temples were destroyed and the nation was dispersed into the diaspora where Jews have been living amongst the other nation for close to two thousand years. As a nation with a religion, the Jewish people have survived until today. Judaism gives specific guidelines for determination of who is a Jew and strict laws of marriage and divorce.
The Oral law has today been compiled into a Code of Jewish law called the Shulcan Aruch. It was written down after the destruction of the second temple in a format called Mishna and Talmud before compiling these laws into the Shulcan Aruch. Over the years Torah scholars have produced many commentaries on Torah law as well as commentaries on the Five books of Moses called Medrash. A Jewish Torah library consists of thousands of volumes of commentaries on the twenty four books of the Torah, the Prophets and other writings called the Tanach. The principal learning in Judaism is Talmud and Shulcan Aruch.
The prophets of Israel at the time of the first temple Isaiah, Jerimiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, etc prophesized that spirituality would return to Israel and the Jewish people in the end of times. Spirituality was forgotten through the ages. The nation and the Jewish people have survived on the study and practice of the Oral law. Spirituality presents a challenge to Jewish Torah scholars who have a tradition of opposition to spirituality which began in the times of the Beit Hamikdash. The laws and commandments of the Torah called the Oral law which is the Shulcan Aruch is a type of spirituality which restricts individuality. The Jewish people were chosen from the rest of the world to receive the Torah. Abraham chose to give his knowledge to Isaac. Isaac chose to give his knowledge to Jacob. The founders of Judaism were individuals within mankind that were chosen special to receive the knowledge of God as a tradition father to son. Only because of the sin of the Golden Calf did this tradition of spirituality change. The Jews were made a nation and individuality was lost with spirituality. There was no longer prophecy; the knowledge of God was forgotten.
Spirituality had to be revealed with a different approach through the macrocosm instead of through the microcosm, which means through nations instead of through individuals like before. This revelation began with the Nation of Israel living under Torah law which supressed individuality and spirituality but stressed fear of God and service of God. The Jewish nation were the first macrocosm with its law and its prophet Moses. Judaism was the preparation for the revelation of God on earth; the preparation for spirituality to return to the world according to the prophecy of Isaiah, the whole world will be filled with the knowledge of God like the waters cover the sea." Zechariah, "in this day God will be king of the whole earth, in this day God will be one and his name will be one."
If you look at the 19 requests of prayer made three times a day by Jews called the Shema Esrai, there is no prayer for the return of spirituality only for the restoral of the Jewish Nation. The two requests for Wisdom and understanding which is one of the first requests, and the last request for peace is the closest to praying for idealism as mentioned by the prophets. The prophets looked toward World Unity and Peace as a goal, Judaism is praying for Jewish Unity and Dominion. There is a conflict between these two ideologies which has become more complicated after the world has received religion through other prophets. Judaism is a National Religion which is against Freedom which conflicts with a Free World which has come in the twentieth century. The foundation of spirituality is Spiritual freedom. Spiritual Freedom appeared in Judaism in the last seven hundred years when was discovered the Zohar. Judaism has had difficulities incorporating spiritual freedom in Torah law. Only the Messiah can bring spiritual freedom into Judaism, but even the Messiah or the greatest prophet according to the Oral Torah cannot change the law. The law is against spiritual freedom.
Judaism, Genocide and the Zohar
It is difficult for a Jew to admit that his religion has in it genocide, but it is true. In the past before the Jewish people established their nation in the land including the during the time they dwelled in the wilderness, it may be possible to justify genocide which occurred in the battle with Midyan in Numbers:27 in which was killed men, women and children forty years as it says, "Now, therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that has known man by lying with him." In the way to establishment of the Nation when entering Israel in conquering the land God allowed genocide, to destroy the idolatry and the idolaters of the land. Today with the arrival of the Zohar even the destruction of the nation of Amalek is no longer an issue or commandment from God. The war today is spiritual. The battles today are spiritual.
The establishment of the State of Israel today was made out of the need for Jews to have a homeland. God did not command the Zionists who established the State to conquer the land to build in Israel a nation. These Zionists who were intellectual geniuses planned and worked toward establishment of the State of Israel. They were secular nationalist Jews. Today, after establishing the State of Israel which was accepted by the United Nations to war with their neighbors to maintain control of the country is out of self-defense, and concern for the welfare of its citizens. The nation of Israel came about because of the changes in the Middle East after the Second World War. There were not only changes in Israel but throughout the whole Middle East. Fortunately the Arabs did not gain control of Israel in 1948 because if so the country would be faced today with civil war like is happening throughout the Middle East in the Arab nations.
Today there is some control over justice in the world which prohibits genocide. After experiencing the genocide of Hitler in World War II, the world has become aware of its atrocity and works together to the best of their ability to prevent genocide in the future. This is the good which came from World War II where forty million people were killed and six million Jews tortured in concentration camps.
The Torah once justified genocide but today there is no religious support for killing people like was done in the times of the Bible in Midyan. Abraham was commanded by God to sacrifice his son Isaac on an altar. God stopped him in the middle but he was willing to kill his only son as God had commanded. Today this event in history is used to justify complete nullification and surrender to God by Jews and Muslims; but does not give permission to Jews or Muslims to kill in the name of God. It does give permission for Jews and Muslims to die for the sake of peace and World Unity, to fight against genocide and abominations to God which threaten the world with destruction.
There are amongst Jews and Muslims today people that justify their violence as children of Abraham students of Mohammed and Moses. For these people, times have not changed and they believe that genocide is still permitted. They are learning literally their holy scriptures, without looking for an inner meaning within the Koran or the Bible. All the religious wars until today were for the sake of mankind to know that there is One God and none else. These religious wars have been even Messianic battles over acceptance of the Messiah who was supposed to be a messenger of peace which is absurd. People were killed for not accepting Jesus. There have also been wars for the sake of acceptance of the nation of God which was once Israel and later on Islam. These religious fanatics continue to claim holy war in the name of God. Religious fundamentalists Jewish and Muslim continue to battle today over whose nation is the true nation of God. Christian missionaries are still plotting wars for the sake of Jesus, the only true Messiah. Hindus who are non-violent believe in Rama-Krishna. Jews today have found their Messiah through Chassidism through Lubavitch although he is not accepted throughout the religious and secular Jewish community. Every one of these religions were established by God on earth through his prophets for a good purpose. Through these prophets the world has found faith in God the creator of the universe and these prophets have brought justice to the world. Each prophet came to compliment the prophets of the past. Moses brought justice and faith to the world through the Torah for the Jews. Jesus brought the Torah to the children of Esau, the Ashkenazi world. Mohammed bought monotheism to his people who were still practicing pageantry. Rama Krishna brought faith in One God Brahma and inner peace to the East. Bhudda took another direction to bring mankind toward truth and peace.
To deny that these prophets were messengers of God is denial of truth. The battle over who is the Messiah is a lesson from God that there is only One who is God. The Messiah is not God. The battle over which nation is the true nation of God between Israel and Islam is to teach that God is One only; and no nation can claim to be the only nation of God. Hinduism and Buddhism has given power to each individual to seek truth; and teach truth and peace to the world which is the Messianic goal. If you will search, you will find that each of these ways compliment the other ways to make a full picture of truth and God. God is One. Even truth is not God but truth has an existence which is a worthy pursuit for man. God we cannot know. Truth is a reachable goal.
In the end of days which the Bible calls the six days of creation, God has completed his lesson to mankind to know that God is one and there is none else. The lesson has been completed as the world has reached the seventh day which is the Sabbath. When before Genocide was allowed by God in the way to teach man to know him and love him; the lesson has been completed and genocide is no longer necessary for Jews, Muslims, Christians or any other religion.
Today, the way is acceptance of truth. There is no longer the way to force others to believe as was before. The truth is on the table. All we have to do is accept it; and rest on the Sabbath. The holy temple will come down from heaven without war as a gift from God, the building of Jerusalem will come without the need for walls as its protection.
This the way of the Kabballa, the Zohar which preaches an end to war. This is the way of the prophets of God Issaih, Jerimiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, etc the way of all religion today. No more violence and holy wars; everything can be achieved through peace and Interfaith Dialogue.
In Judaism, there is a new way without violence, and a way which permits violence and even genocide. Also in the Talmud which is the most essential source of knowledge of scripture in Judaism in the tractate of Ketubot, is mentioned three oaths taken by the Jewish nation before their exile after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. One of these oaths was oaths was not to make a Jewish army to conquer Israel by force. The gentiles made a similar oath not to cause the Jewish people abundant suffering when they are living in the diaspora. According to these oaths which are in the Talmud, there is even a Talmudic tradition in the Oral Torah the national religious law in Judaism of non-violence. The Zohar also brings not to push or use violence to bring the Messiah for other reasons other than these oaths. Religious Zionists justify conquest of Israel during the war of independence in 1948 based on these oaths that Hitler violated these oaths in killing six million Jews. This gave permission in heaven for Zionists to conquer the land of Israel and make a Jewish State with an army. The miracles of the six day war and other wars gave proof that God is with the Zionist State. The State of Israel became accepted by the United Nations which also shows that it is not in violation of these oaths mentioned in the Talmud. Making a religious Zionist state would violate these oaths because in the Oral Torah is justified genocide which today is not acceptable to the world.
A free Jewish state a democracy was accepted by the United Nations which gave rights to all Jews to live in Israel. Genocide which is interwoven in Jewish law is not acceptable in a free world. The goal of World Religion and Ethics is World Unity and Peace in a free society. Jewish law which allows genocide conflicts with World Justice. Self defense is permitted but mass slaughter in the name of religion is forbidden. Also Israel can never again be a state without Freedom of Religion. In traditional national Jewish law there is no freedom of religion. Judaism is the only religion forever.
Mental Health Religion and Spirituality
Mental Health plays a special central role in life. People are only human and they need to be happy.
People have physical and emotional needs. They need livelihood to be able to eat, clothe themselves and to have a roof over their head. A man needs a woman and a woman needs a man. The attraction between male and female procreates and populates the world. Many people want a family. To build a family is needed livelihood. To build a family is also needed religion. Education becomes important from when the child begins to understand. We teach the child the way of God. Judaism teaches the child the way of God as taught to the Jewish people by Moses. To live without God is possible, but to believe in God especially in difficult times becomes important and vital for maintaining mental health. Religion is for family life, spirituality is for mental health.
It is important to educate our children in morals and ethics which are taught by Moses from Sinai. Torah and Mitzvos support the faith of the Jew and give the Jew a moral and righteous way of life. Many Jews are satisfied with Judaism without spirituality. There is Judaism without spirituality which is following the laws and commandments as they are taught in the Shulcan Aruch, the code of Jewish laws. A Jew prays three times a day together with the congregation. Prayer supports the faith of the Jew in God and in the redemption of Moshiach. In prayer is emphasized that God provides the Jew his needs in life which are knowledge and understanding, repentance and forgiveness which is also compassion, redemption when in need, healing, livelihood, a homeland, justice, strength to overcome our enemies both spiritual and national, righteousness, building Jerusalem our capital, bringing to Israel a redeemer, an ear for our prayers, returning the divine presence, all goodness, and peace. Within the prayer of Shemona Esra is included the prayer for all the needs of the Jew.
The prayer for knowledge and understanding is a lifetime work. Forgiveness is vital for there is no human that does not sin. Redemption is both on the individual level and as a people. Healing is both for body and mind. We as a people need a homeland and a temporary dwelling for our family. Righteousness and morality are goals for each Jew. Every Jew loves Jerusalem our capital the place of the Beit HaMidkdash and the divine presence. Peace and goodness are important for every human being.
All these requests in prayer have different levels of importance depending on the individual. Knowledge and understanding are on many levels. People are more or less intellectual. Woman are usually less intellectual than men. Some men are satisfied with Torah study of Jewish law Talmud and Shulcan Aruch. They are not seeking to know the secrets of Torah which are in Chassidut and Kabballa. People find mental health and happiness in their work and profession. Woman find their mental health in their housework and in raising their children. Some Jews do not feel the need for learning Chassidut and Kabballa. They are satisfied in studying Gemora, a Daf Yomi Shiur and learning the Parsha of the week. Whichever the way for the Jew which keeps him happy and religious is the right way. Young people have less of an interest in Chassidut and Kabballa than older men. There are various opinions about the study of Kabballa when it is permitted to begin to learn Kabballa. Some authorities say at the age of forty. Others permit it with a teacher at a younger age but not before marriage. There are Chassidic groups which begin the study of Kabballa through Chasiddut at young ages.
Mental health plays an important part in making the decision to start to learn Chassidut. The need to search out the secrets of the Torah should come from within. Those people that are satisfied and happy with Jewish life on its simple level may only participate in classes in Chassidut without taking the learning of Chassidut as a serious pursuit. Many people connect to Chassidut through their Chassidic Rebbe or through a Rebbe of their congregation. They may not be members of a Chassidic group but maintain respect and a connection through charity to support Talmidei Chochomim Torah scholars and Chassidic Rebbes and their institutions.
Most people are not seeking out the best mental health. Atheists or agnostics if they have mental health problems go to a psychologist therapist or to a psychiatrist. They are not interested in enrichment of life through spirituality and religion which means spiritual healing. People accept the way they have adopted in their lives and reject change. They depend on work, marriage and family for enrichment but do not seek an answer through knowledge and understanding. Psychology will give them a superficial direction for finding answers to their problems without entering spirituality. Psychiatrists will give medicine to calm and stimulate the mind and body. They take these medicines which keep them functioning without solving the root of their problems. They are afraid of seeking out the best mental health.
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov taught that the best Rebbe is also a doctor, a spiritual healer and psychologist. The more difficult the mental health issue is needed a greater Rebbe and Doctor. Mental Health is important for everyone Jew and gentile. The answers for a Jew may differ from the gentile or they may be similar. Every person was created in the Image of God.
Mental Health is included in one of the requests in prayer of the Shemona Esrai. Issues of Mental Health have been suppressed throughout Jewish history giving them secondary importance to physical disease. The reason for this may be that mental health issues can be more complicated as far as diagnosis and treatment then physical problems. The mind is very delicate and complicated even more than the body. It is more abstract than just looking at the body with a MRI or Cat scan. Many of the problems of mental health are related to spirituality. Mental health practitioners study psychology in university without spiritual healing. They get degrees as Mental Health Practitioners which give them permission to treat people as a livelihood. The deeper issues involved with spirituality they don't learn in university.
There are Tzaddikim who have deeper insights into the health of the mind than psychologists. There are spiritual healers from all faiths. Going for help from a spiritual healer who is also a mental health practitioner can become complicated through conflicts in religion. Judaism is a monotheist religion which prohibits seeking help from an intermediate who has spiritual energy. Christianity is a religion which permits spiritual healing through an intermediate but not Judaism. Judaism permits healing through prayer but not through energy light or sound which come from an outside source. This is a dilemma for a Jew that needs help or is seeking to improve his mental health through spirituality.
One of the attributes of the Moshiach is that he will be a healer. This attribute of Moshiach is not accepted in Jewish law but only in Progressive Jewish Spirituality. In this way Progressive Jewish Spirituality has left Judaism for the sake of Spiritual Healing. Rabbinical Authorities on Jewish law maintain that the Oral Torah is eternal like the Written Torah, and cannot be changed. The Oral Torah especially the Rambam prohibits the use of an intermediate in Spiritual Healing. It prohibits to attach the word Spiritual to healing, that Spiritual Healing is Idolatry. The word spiritual cannot be used in reference to anything else but Torah and Prayer to say, There is no other spirituality but Torah. To use the Torah in healing is prohibited like to say, "All the diseases of Egypt will be healed, I am the Lord your healer." Jewish law permits to go to a Doctor or a therapist but restricts the use of Spiritual Energy Healing.
To go to a Progressive Jewish Spiritual Healer is also acceptance that the Oral Torah has been changed or died. The death of Mother Rachel is mentioned two times in Torah. Rachel is the principal mother of Judaism which is the Oral Law. Leah like Jacob are the eternal father and mother of Israel. Progressive Jewish Spirituality accepts the Oral Law as tradition but not as an obligation and commandment. It gives Free Choice to each Jew. There is a problem for an Ultra-Orthodox Jew to go to a spiritual healer. He is rejecting the Oral Torah.
The Messiah of the Oral Torah is not a spiritual healer. His purpose according to Rambam is to support and to enforce the Oral Law which is eternal. If he will do healing, it will have to be without intention only through his radiance and holy presence. Spiritual Healing is not permitted in the Oral Torah. Those people that need spiritual healing will have to take pills or pray with great fervency to the Almighty the healer of the sick of Israel. If this doesn't help, it is a mitzvah to suffer or die for Kiddush Hashem. The other alternative is to leave Judaism.
There is no permission in Judaism to leave the Torah. On the contrary there is a commandment to study the Torah day and night. Therefore, strict observance of the Oral Torah will also contradict with study of the Kabballa especially the Zohar. King David says in Tehillim, "Make a time for HaShem, leave the Torah." This passage is mentioned in the beginning of Idra Zuta which Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai taught at the end of his life. This passage infers that there is study of HaShem through closing the eyes in meditation not only with the eyes open in learning from the Sefer. Through closing the eyes is revealed the spirituality of Atik which is related to the fiftieth gate of spirituality. About Atik the fiftieth gate, it says in Chassidut, the word for sick person Chola is numerically equal to 49. The general healing of the sick is to add the fiftieth gate called Atik. This level of healing is revealed through an intermediate which may be forbidden according to the Oral Law. King David knew this level of spirituality called Atik about which he said, "Make time for HaShem and leave the Torah." The Song of Songs of King Solomon which uses metaphors is certainly connected to this level called Atik,"Come into my Garden." However, it is difficult to find permission in the Oral Law. Just like the King of Israel was allowed wives called Pelegash which was prohibited to all of the people of Israel, they were also allowed spiritual freedom and pleasure. Today the Rebbe the king of Israel has given to all Jews the message, "All Jews are Kings" All Jews are a free people.
Moses is truth and his Torah is Truth
When the Torah is lifted up after being read in the synagogue, the Sephardic congregation says "Moses is truth and his Torah is truth." Moses is a prophet of truth.
In the tractate of Megilla: it says, if he says that he found and he didn't search don't believe him. If he says that he searched and he didn't find, don't believe him. If he says that he searched and he found, you can believe him.
Jews receive the Torah with simple faith that it is the Torah of truth, they don't have to question it. Moses is truth and his Torah is truth. At the age of thirteen, they become obligated in keeping the commandments as an adult. There is a Shulcan Aruch, a code of Jewish law which clearly gives instructions how to keep the mitzvoth. The first knowledge is the knowledge of the law and its commandments. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
The mitzvah of Talmud Torah equals all the other mitzvoth. The commandment to study the Torah is for day and night. It is even a sin to neglect the learning of the Torah. With the Shulcan Aruch, a Jew can proceed in his life to fulfill the will of God. The Torah is the will and wisdom of God which was given to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai.
When it says "If you will search, you will find" it is referring to an unknown goal and destination which is achieved through Torah and mitzvoth. It is not the work of one day, but the work of a lifetime. Patience is always important on the way to fulfilling the goal of Torah. In life there are many challenges and even setbacks on the way to fulfillment of these goals which are unknown.
The first goal which is the first mitzvah of the Torah is to be fruitful and multiply. Jewish education prepares the Jew for marriage whether male or female. Marriage is another stage of life which includes having a family and raising children. While married continues Jewish education, learning Torah continues each day.
There are different levels of Torah learning. The Torah has in it four levels which are called Pardes. The beginning of fulfillment of Torah learning is the learning of Halacha, the study of the law in all its forms which are Mishna, Gemora, and Shulcan Aruch. There is also the study of the Torah chapter of the week which are called Medrashim. Medrashim also enter into deeper insights in the Torah, the five books of Moses on a higher level called Remazim which means hints of truth entering into spirituality where there begins to be questions and answers involving Jewish philosophy.
The fourth level of Pardes is the secrets of the Torah. The learning of the secrets of the Torah demand a preparation in the study of the practical aspects of Torah and Halacha. When a person is established in Torah and the fear of God, he can begin to enter realms of spirituality involving unity of God and secret meanings of the mitzvoth. Younger people involved with families and livelihood may have difficulty in learning Chassidut and Kabbala. Everyone should have a connection to the secrets of Torah through giving charity to Schools of Kabballa and Chassidut supporting Talmidei Chochomim, Kabballists, Torah Scholars and Chassidic masters. Everything is in the Torah. Moses is truth and the Torah is truth.
Jewish Religion includes in it all the four levels of spirituality called Pardes. Judaism is not a religion which is exclusively for the study of the esoteric. Therefore, esoteric matters are concealed in Judaism for those that have the sincere desire to search and to find. Even though it is a mitzvah to study all the aspects of Torah called Pardes, not everyone has the true yearning for finding truth which is in topics of Sod of Torah, the secrets of Torah. The Jewish people have a variety of interests and is not only interested in finding and knowing the secrets of the Torah. Woman are interested in family and raising their children in the Torah way. Men have the obligation in education of their children. Some people find their God given talents in business to become Zevulin Jews, and others find their place in the Beit HaMedrash to become Yissachar Jews. Zevulin Jews help Yissachar Jews by giving charity.
The Ethics of the fathers advises that each person should find a teacher. If your interests are to include esoteric studies, your teacher should be knowledgeable in Pardes including Sod. You may be interested in a teacher for halacha and less esoteric studies which is acceptable, but you should not separate yourself from those that are involved in esoteric studies also and their teachers. It may not be your time to learn the esoteric; but respect should be given to those who are learning the esoteric. The study of Sod is also an obligation.
Sod the esoteric studies of Judaism, were hidden for a thousand years until was discovered the Zohar. Now seven hundred years later these studies have expanded even until in the last generation was revealed the two Messiahs of Am Yisrael, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov and the Rebbe of Lubavitch. Five hundred years ago was revealed the Kabballa of the Arizal in Safed where there is a Sephardic tradition in learning his Kabballa. Today Judaism has joined the rest of the world which had already received the Messiah two thousand years ago. Judaism has the advantage that it is a religion which has in it all the various levels of spirituality. Judaism has survived without the esoteric study of the Torah; but it has always been missing an important part of truth.
Moses is truth and the Torah is truth. Today the whole world is learning Moses is truth and the Torah is truth. It is an important part of the Messianic age. Moses is a prophet for all mankind.
Judaism in War and Peace
Judaism began on Mount Sinai when God gave the Torah the Ten Commandments. Moses went up on the mountain to receive the two tablets in which were written the law of God. There were two sets of tablets. The first tablets were written by God and were broken by Moses when he saw that the people were worshiping a Golden Calf. The remains of these tablets which was broken up into pieces were saved. Moses prayed to God for forgiveness for the Jewish people. God forgave the people and gave to the Jewish nation a second set of tablets which were written by Moses according to God's wishes. Both tablets were from God; but the second tablets were on a lower spiritual level than the first tablets.
From this event in history is understood that there are two levels of spirituality corresponding to the two sets of tablets given by God. Judaism comes from the law of the second set of tablets. The second set of tablets were the foundation of the Law of Moses which was the constitution and the religion of the Nation of Israel, the Jewish Nation. Moses taught orally this law to Joshua and the elders. He also gave to the people the five books of Moses called the written law. Moses and the elders of his generation remained in the wilderness. Their children carried into the land of Israel under the leadership of Joshua, the Arc of the covenant containing the second set of tablets and the scroll of the Torah written by Moses.
Joshua began the conquest of the land of Israel. King David completed its conquest. During this period which was about four hundred fifty years the nation was governed by Judges. After the conquest, was established the nation of Israel according to its constitution which was the Torah making a Kingship with a Congress of sages called the Sanhedrin. King Solomon the son of David built the holy temple in Jerusalem. Before the holy temple was built by Solomon was used the Mishkan a portable tabernacle which they had made in the wilderness. The people were allowed to make altars for sacrifice throughout the land. When the temple was built, it was only permitted sacrifice in the place of the holy temple.
The generation of Solomon was the only period of peace in Jewish history. The peace ended quickly when the nation was divided into two parts Israel and Judah through the rebellion of the ten tribes under the leadership of Yerbeon Ben Navat. There was always conflicts within the nation and with its neighbors throughout the period of the first and second temples. However Judaism which is the religion of the law of Moses was made in a way that the Jewish family and its nation would survive until the end of times. Moses the prophet like its says in the last book of the Torah, "there will never be another prophet in Israel like Moses", knew that the two temples would be destroyed and the Jewish nation would go into exile until the coming of the Moshiach.
Judaism is a religion given to the family of the forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob had twelve sons which were the twelve tribes of Israel. The land of Israel was divided into portions which were given to each of these tribes. Those born from a Jewish mother were considered to be citizens of the nation. Converts were accepted when they showed true interest into being part of the covenant of God and Moses.
All people according to the Torah are the children of Adam and Eve. After the flood, they were the children of Noah. To make a special nation for Jews alone it was necessary to maintain an army and the police force to protect the Jewish people from its neighbors. Jews were given rights as citizens in this country and gentiles were under the ruler of Jews. The gentiles always wanted equal rights. Only the law of the land, the army and police force prevented them from overthrowing the nation. Within the nation there was also a hierarchy. The King had special rights and powers which he could use to rule the country including the right to kill rebels. There was also the priests the Kohanim and the Levites who worked in the holy temple. Those Jews who had transgressed on laws of incest lost their rights as equal citizens with other Jews. They were not allowed to marry Jews or priests according to the level of their transgression. Trangressors of the law were punishable by death or other types of cruel torture. In this way was maintained law and order.
War is a fact of life in Judaism. To maintain the Jewish people in the diaspora requires Jews to be at war with the other nations and peoples of the world. The Torah gives permission to Jews to hate gentiles or even Jews that threaten the survival of the Nation and family of Israel. It is difficult for Jews living in a foreign world to be at peace. They always have to worry about protecting their heritage, their sons and daughters from assimilation with the other nations and religions in the world. Even until today Judaism does not accept the other prophets and their religions. The law maintains Jewish pride, that Jews are the chosen people. According to the Law of Moses which is the law of the Jewish nation, the gentiles have to accept Israel the Jewish Nation as the representative of God on earth. The whole world is obligated by the Torah of Israel which gives Jews superiority. The gentiles are obligated in the seven commandments of the children of Noah like not to steal, to kill, to commit adultery, etc. Judaism is the only religion in the world. The other religions were founded by false prophets against the true will and desire of God.
In Judaism the war of Jew against gentile continues today and in each generation until will come the Messiah who will convince the world to accept the rule of the Jews on earth and the building of the Beit Hamikdash by the Moshiach. The Jew still has no peace; the war continues.
Jews await the coming of the Messiah. The pray three times each day for the coming of the Messiah and for peace. Torah law which has been organized by Torah scholars in the last thousand years does not allow any compromise. The Law of Moses cannot be changed. With this approach the nation has survived until today. The State of Israel although not a religious state as it should be according to the Torah has come about because of the strictness of Torah law and its religion which has sustained the Jewish nation throughout the diaspora. After the holocaust, the Jewish nation is rebuilding both in Israel and throughout the world. The wisdom which is in the Law of Moses again has been proved to be the support and life of the Jewish people. The Jewish nation has survived another crisis in history. The Ultra-Orthodox object to the formation of a Jewish secular state. However throughout Jewish history there has been a conflict within the nation between Orthodox and reformed. Jews in each generation assimilate as reformed Jews because they have lost their deep connection with the Torah and the Jewish religion. Naturally, those Jews which have assimilated are interested in equal rights with all Jews. However, the Torah condemns transgressors and they are called sinners even idol worshippers. As a result, Torah law produces in each generation two main blocks which are the Orthodox Torah Movement and the Reformed secular Jewish movement. The reformed secular movement gained power after World War II and succeeded in making the State of Israel. There were changes in the Middle East which gave them the opportunity to conquer the land. In looking at the situation that exists today in the Middle East, the chaos which has developed throughout the Arab nations, the State of Israel has saved Jews living in Arab countries from this turmoil.
Secular Jews are still Jews until they assimilate completely through intermarriage when their children are no longer Jews. They still identify themselves as Jews. Every Jew today comes from the Torah heritage. They are only Jews today because of the Torah which has kept the Jewish nation alive. The Torah was given to the Jewish people as a commandment. For over one thousand years, they were strictly compelled to observe Torah law with severe punishments for transgressors. In the Torah Nation established by King David, there was no freedom like today. When the nation was conquered by the Romans and the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed, the people became free. The law was then continued as a tradition. There is a natural desire in a human being for freedom. To be a Jew comes from a power which is above nature which is in the Torah. God made the Jewish people a nation. God gave the Jewish people a Torah and a religion to keep the nation together forever.
A Jew is also a human being and like all human beings he has a desire for freedom. This desire for freedom in the Jew causes him to assimilate. Assimilation is a slow process from first generation reformed until second and third generation. Intermarriage slowly penetrates these reformed Jewish families. A Jew maintains his Jewish identity as a reformed Jew until his death. Only a minority of Jews denounce their Judaism by becoming atheists. Jews have an ancestry of prophesy Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and became a nation at Mount Sinai. The State of Israel was established by reformed Jews that had their Jewish identities as reformed Jews. They established a Jewish State that would maintain the Jewish identity for generations after them. The Orthodox considered it dangerous to make a Jewish State with an army that Jews living in this state would be at danger and at war with its neighbors. In the Talmud, the Jews are warned not to make a Jewish State until the coming of the Moshiach.
Judaism has a history of war. A Jew is at war with the whole world. To stay a Jew is necessary to fight for your Judaism whether you are religious or not. The State of Israel is another way in which Jews are fighting for their Judaism, reformed Judaism or Orthodox Judaism. The holocaust proved that Jews are not safe anywhere in the world. The holocaust gave more incentive to Zionists to establish a Jewish State even if it would put Jews in a war zone. God should protect the Jews living in Israel and throughout the world.
The Zionist religious concept of the coming of the Moshiach has been the hope of Jews living in the diaspora, that someday they would return to their homeland and there will be peace. Only a part of this prophecy has been fulfilled through the State of Israel. Six million Jews equal to the number executed by the Germans in Europe have returned to their homeland. A Jew recognizes Israel as his homeland. Today a Jew is fighting to live in his homeland. In Israel, Jews are fighting to be Jews whether they are religious Jews or secular Jews. It is a continuation of the battle of the Jew to be a Jew. Secular Jews have the evil inclination to want to surrender their Judaism. Through founding the State of Israel, they have set their own trap. Surrender means Jewish massacre. The State of Israel has to fight for its right to exist in the world for Jews to live in their homeland. The Arabs will not let the Jews surrender even if they will appear to be friendly. You cannot trust the Arabs. The way they act between each other is an example. The war of the Jew continues in a different way today but since the time of Solomon the Jews have never experienced peace. In Judaism, war is a fact of life.
Progressive Jewish Spirituality offers peace for Jews and all human beings even at times of war on a personal level. Nations are at war; human beings Jews and gentiles can live with God through spirituality. The name of God is Shalom or peace. War is the external aspect of creation. The main battle in life is to maintain righteousness and justice which is a battle for each human being. The second most important goal in life is to find God and his name which is Shalom or peace. There is a battle for peace in the world. The Jew has a battle to be a Jew. These are battles for survival. The essence of life, the quality of life is in peace. Survival is important for the Jew and the world; peace which comes through the two Messiahs of spirituality is in the essence of life and its true purpose. Every person in one way is a warrior; in the other way he should learn to be a man of peace.
In spirituality there are two sides and two Messiahs. The Bible in Genesis:37 tells about a conflict between the sons of Jacob. Joseph was an individual and his brothers resented it. They were so angry at him that they wanted to kill him. They threw him into a pit. He was later saved and sold to the Egyptians leading up to events which lead to the Exodus of Egypt by Moses. There is spirituality which belongs to the individual the private relationship with God and there is spirituality which becomes nationalism like Judaism and Islam. Both ways are important in spirituality. Judaism and the Jewish people besides God has a king who is he Messiah called the Messiah the son of David that represents the Nation of Israel. The brothers of Joseph wanted him to be part of the family. Joseph broke off from the family because of his individuality and was punished by his brothers. No nation can conquer the world. Hitler tried to conquer the world and failed. The Nation of Israel was conquered by the Romans and the two temples were destroyed. The Nation of Israel maintains its national pride and prays for the coming of the Moshiach three times a day. Moshiach will not conquer the world. Judaism has to accept the concept of the Zohar, the book of Progressive Jewish Spirituality and accept that there are two Messiahs. Only God is One. Israel is one nation under God. Today there is also Islam.
Only through recognition of the supremacy of God who name is Shalom or peace can there be peace. Only God is one and not the Messiah or not any nation in the world. The enemy of God in the world is Amalek. Amelek opposes God and is against belief in the unity of God on earth through the resurrection of Moses.
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