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Ignoring G-d

by Dennis Prager

  

Library » Jewish Identity » Who/What is a Jew? | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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The people who brought G-d to the world don't have much to do with Him.

Perhaps the saddest aspect of modern Jewish life is how unimportant G-d is to most Jews. Reasons for this include: Jews identify religion with persecution and secularism with freedom; Jews are the most highly educated ethnic group in America and therefore secularly influenced from kindergarten to graduate school; even religious Jewish life often has little G-d-centeredness. Whatever the reason, it is a fact that G-d plays little role in Jewish life.

This is nothing less than catastrophic—for the Jews collectively, for Jews individually, and for the world.

It is terrible for the Jews collectively, because there are no compelling secular reasons for the Jewish people to survive, only religious ones. That is why, as a rule, religious Jews are more committed to Jewish survival. One recent example: During the height of the Palestinian terror, while secular Jewish organizations cancelled their youth trips to Israel, the Orthodox did not.

It is a tragedy for Jews individually, since without G-d in one's life, one's sense of purpose and level of happiness are dramatically affected. Human beings are wired for the transcendent, and children, in particular, suffer from the absence of G-d in their lives.

The world also pays a price. Jews are disproportionately influential in society, and the radical secularization of Jews, especially activist Jews, often has destructive consequences. Virtually every radical social movement has had Jewish founders and leaders. When Jews don't use Judaism to guide and channel their religious impulses, they will develop and use other "isms."

Virtually every radical social movement has had Jewish founders and leaders. When Jews don't use Judaism to guide and channel their religious impulses, they will develop and use other "isms"
G-d is the most important issue in life. First, if there is no G-d, life has no ultimate meaning. (Yes, we can create subjective meanings, but they are only that—subjective.) Second, if G-d is not the source of morality, then good and evil are nothing more than personal taste. This is why our morally confused universities have become the institutions in America most hostile to America and to Israel. When I was a graduate student at Columbia University, I came to realize that the Psalmist was right: "Wisdom begins with fear of G-d."1

Footnotes

  • 1. Psalms 111:10.

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Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.