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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Relevance of Judaism

There is an obligation to make judaism relevant every 50 years or so (witness Steinsaltz English translation of Talmud). For me, Judaism is an open ended discussion. A mythic structure through which to access the Divine. It is not an answer to ultimate questions but rather a method of dwelling on ultimate questions. All I can say is that if you feel that it is not relevant to you, you need to come at it another way. Have you studied Torah? Talmud? Have you done so with a rabbi or a study group? Have you committed to bringing awe and wonder into the world? As for Halacha, I view the commandments like religious speed bumps. They cause us to pause throughout the day and remember that this is sacred time. That even while doing the mundande -- driving the kids to school, working, etc., ever moment is, as Heschel describes, a small mosaic of infinity. Each mitzvah is an opportunity to appreciate the fact that you stand for something greater than yourself and to recognize the ineffable mystery of existence.

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