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What is the purpose of Judaism?

by Rabbi Tzvi Shapiro

  

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G-d created a world. G-d created its inhabitants. G-d interacts with His creation, and even "visits" it occasionally. But generally speaking, "the heavens are heavens of the L-rd, and the earth He gave to the children of humans".1

G-d is obviously not a physical entity. G-d has no dimensions. G-d is everywhere, and nowhere is devoid of G-d. But we speak here of being aware of G-d, of feeling G-d's presence, of seeing the world through His eyes, and living life according to His objectives. And it that sense G-d does not reside in our world.

Every time we follow a Torah directive G-d's objective becomes the nucleus of our life.
Enter Judaism. The purpose of Judaism is to allow G-d to enter this - His - world, by transcending the myth that it is "our world". At first in baby steps. Every time we fulfill a Mitzvah it creates an awareness of G-d. Every time we study Torah G-d's presence is manifest in this world. Every time we follow a Torah directive G-d’s objective becomes the nucleus of our life.

Ultimately G-d doesn't just want to "stop in from time to time", He wants to stay. He is not content with a moment of inspiration or a fleeting miracle. Nor is He satisfied with a warm welcome from a select few, or the rare oasis conducive for spirituality. G-d yearns for a time when His presence will be felt at every moment, through every act, by every person, in every place.

Thus the collective fulfillment of Judaism will bring about a time when G-d will no longer visit this world.

Because He will reside here.2

Footnotes

  • 1. Psalm 115:16
  • 2. Based on a Chassidic discourse by Rabbi Yosef Y. Schneerson; Basi L'Gani 1950

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Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
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.