I am practicing my Jewish faith with my fellow-congregants at a small non-denominational Jewish congregation. I have joined this small non-denominational congregation instead of any one in the existing formal denominations – Orthodox, Conservative, Reform or Reconstructionist – because I found in many denominational synagogues that the fear of deviating from the established denominational practice suppresses the tradition of challenging the established practice.
On the Jewish religious Right, I found almost violent spiritual intolerance to any question that challenges the existing dogma and to spiritual beliefs of the non-Jews who are “goyim”. I could not figure out how the Jews of the religious Right are going to build a better God-guided world for everybody including the goyim if they hate those goyim. I could not accept the notion that One God, who created everybody as equals in His image and likeness, may hate the goyim.
On the Jewish religious Left, I found the inclination to support the social concepts, which are politically correct but are untruthful to the Torah, and to reject the mission of the Jews as the Chosen. Moreover, they are not spiritually connected to the Land of Israel and Jerusalem, as it ought to be. Without all that, I could not figure out how we the Jews are going to build a Torah-guided better world.
Furthermore, I could not comprehend the image of God that is prevailing in the religious Left and Right: on the Right as an All Mighty Father-like being, and on the Left as a non-existing fictitious thing.
To understand both the Left and the Right, I began looking for the essence of Judaism outside the “dogmas” of formal Jewish denominations – in the thoughts of many rabbis, Jewish thinkers of the past and present, and scientists. Below are some findings.
On religious and non-religious Jews
The people who believe they are Jewish have to be counted as religious since the only valid definition of being Jewish is the connection to the fundamental religious stories – Abraham and One God, Moses and Exodus, Mount Sinai and Torah, the Chosen and Promised Land, Jerusalem and the next year in Jerusalem. All those Torah’s narratives, even if they are just imaginary, created the Jewish Nation, as well as Judaism, Christianity and Judeo-Christian civilization.
Concerning the image of God
Since the Supreme Power called God does not have any physical image, any potential images could be in play. However, what the great majority of Jews and non-Jews may agree with is God, at any of His image, reveals Himself in His laws of nature, which govern the material and spiritual developments of human life. If it is so, the material and spiritual laws of nature are revealing the true image of God.
The scientists in various research arias (such as physics, chemistry, math, materials, engineering, etc.) are discovering the laws of nature governing the material aspects of a God’s better world. The better we know the material laws, the more successful we are in building the material foundation of a God’s better world. Here, many scientific schools are competing with each other, and the criteria for winning is the demonstration that everything in the material world follow a discovered law.
The theologians in various religious denominations are discovering the laws of nature governing the spiritual aspects of a God’s better world. The better we know the spiritual laws, the more successful we are in building a God’s better human community on the God’s better material foundation. Here, many spiritual schools (yeshivas, theological colleges, rabbis and sages) are competing with each other, and the criteria for success is the acceptance by the communal majorities the guidance of the discovered spiritual law. Since the spiritual laws are of probable nature, there is no way for any one group of theologians to demonstrate with 100% probability that their discovery is good for all communities. That is why we have many diversified religious communities.
Concerning the Torah
For the Jews, the fundamental spiritual laws were discovered and delivered from God through Moses on the Mount of Sinai over three millenniums ago, and were described in the Torah. From the very beginning, different Jewish groups were competing, and continue to compete nowadays, for the true interpretation of the Torah guidance, and that is a very positive thing – only through the spiritual competition, the true meaning of the Torah guidance can be discovered.
Concerning the Chosen mission of the Jews
This concept is the crucial for unique Jewish spirituality – without this concept the Jewish Nation would disappear in the diaspora as many other nations have done. There are two wrong interpretations of this concept, and we have to dispel them. One of them is that the Jews are the Chosen to serve God in their homes and synagogues in isolation from the entire world. The other one is that the Jews themselves – to rule the non-Jewish world – invented the mission of the Chosen. We have to dispel both misinterpretations – the true meaning of this concept is the hard work for building a God’s better world for everybody.
Concerning the Christianity
Like many diversified Jewish religious denominations inside Judaism, diversified religious streams in Christianity are searching for the true God’s guidance on building a better world for everybody – based on their interpretation of the Torah in the Christian Bible tailored to the traditions of the non-Jews. We should build our relations with the Christians as partners in building a God’s better world. We should overcome the uneasy feeling of historic persecutions of Jews by Christians. Even, if it pleases somebody, Christianity may be called a Judaism for non-Jews.
Concerning the Anti-Semitism
We are rightly spending a lot of energy in fighting the anti-Semitism. However, many of us are overlooking a positive meaning of anti-Semitism. It is a sign that we have been successful in fulfilling our mission of the Chosen – have been successful in converting the world for the last two millenniums from a heathen mind-set to a Torah/Bible mind-set. The spiritual conversion is a difficult process for everybody, and anti-Semitism is a sign of natural resistance. The lack of anti-Semitism might mean the failure of the Jews as the Chosen to fulfill their mission.
Concerning the state of Israel as the Promised Land
The Promised Land is a spiritual concept while the state of Israel is a political development. If it is so, the Jews are Torah-guided to reside everywhere in the Promised Land, even if a part of the Promised Land becomes an Arab state – to do whatever is possible, with a clear understanding that very little is possible, to create a better place for everybody in the entire Promised Land. The part of the Promised Land, where the state of Israel and Jerusalem are located, has to become an example for other peoples on how to build a God’s Torah-guided better world.