Saturday, April 07, 2007

Stop Being Religious!

In what is one of the most famous parts of the Haggadah, the Dayenu, we say:
“If God would have brought us to Mount Sinai and not given us the torah, It would have been enough!”

The question asked by all commentators is: What good would it have given us to go to Har Sinai without receiving the Torah?

Rav Tsvi Yehuda Hakohen Kook answered:
When we got to Har Sinai, even before receiving the torah, we gathered for the first time as a nation, and it is at that time that we received our special nature as the nation that will be ambassador of God.

We see from this that the national nature of Am Israel came even before we received the Torah!
We say in bircat hatora: Asher Bachar Banu Mikol Haamim Venatan Lanou Et Torato... We bless the one who has chosen us from all the nations and given us the torah. Rav Uri Cherki explains that from here (and another like 20 sources lol but this is the one i remembered) we see that Judaism is first a nationalism and only after a religion. We are a nation with a special religious message. The world makes a mistake when they say: "Jews, Muslims and Christians". Really its "Jews, Arabs, Europeans, etc...". The thing is that a nation needs some things to survive and during two thousand years of exile, we Jews did not have these things. The Maharal in the first chapter of Netsah Israel names 3 things which are unnatural for a nation which happened in our exile: we have no land, we are spread out, we are under the control of another nation. Those things are unnatural for a nation. So during our exile, it was so hard to identity as a nation that we concentrated on our religious message, slowly identifying ourselves, by mistake, as a religion rather then a nation...

I have heard one of the most shocking statements from many incredibly important rabbis in eretz israel in the past few days: STOP BEING RELIGIOUS
Now that we are going back to erets israel, its time to stop being RELIGIOUS ! If religion is about an individual (prat) getting closer to God, its time for us to STOP BEING RELIGIOUS !

If we stop being religious, what exactly does God want us to be ?

In order to understand this we must first understand 3 concepts in the Jewish thought : Prat, Klal and Tsibbour. These concepts are things which are often confused and not understood that this misunderstanding is at the core of our problem in this generation.

The Prat is the individual, each individual person is considered a prat. The Klal, is not as some may think, many individuals together, that is the tsibbur. It is rather the whole of the individuals. This is a small nuance but it is so important.

What came first, the prat or the klal ?
Most people will jump to say the prat came first. But even science says differently ! There is first one cell, which gave birth to more cells by dividing itself. The first cell was in itself Klal, and then it gave birth to divisions which were pratim !
Therefore, the klal is mamash the shoresh (root) of our being as a whole. It is also the deepest part of our identity as individuals which are part of that whole. The klal has a message (for klal Israel, our message is Godly).

What is the goal of Judaism? The goal of Judaism is to make a tsibbur of many jews together into a klal, klal Israel, which represents God.

If we can understand that, then we understood all the torah. The rest is just commentary. This is the source of all our obligations. The Torah, which came after, is the national set of laws of this klal. This explains why Rashi and Ramban say, based on a midrash, that in chuts laarets, the laws are just practiced to be remembered. In Chutz laarets we live a religion, a life of prat… those are the laws of the klal.

In our generation in which we are returning to Israel, it is time to stop being religious. Stop thinking of how we will individually learn more torah, do more mitsvot etc… it is time to think of how we can raise not only ourselves higher but all of klal Israel with it. It is time for the tsibbur to become a klal.


S said...

Are you saying that instead of praticing individually, we should practice as a whole?

Dan said...

thats about it