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Why be religious?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

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Question:

Why be religious? I mean, people go to Israel and depend on this trip to make them religious. But then what happens when they ask themselves, "Why be religous"? What do I answer?

Joshua

Answer:

"Religious" is an ambiguous word, and means many things to many people. To many young (American) Jews "religious" means "old fashioned", and so the question is, "Why be old fashioned?".

The answer is, don't. Don't be religious.

Be yourself.

The Jews entered an eternal covenant with G-d some 33211years ago.

That covenant is the reason for our existence, and the purpose for our lives. It is thus as relevant as our modern existence, and as fresh as our current lives.

When a Jew asks, "Why should I live in accordance with the Torah?" it is akin to a coffee machine asking, "Why should I make coffee?", a camera asking, "Why should I take photos?", and a tree asking, "Why should I produce fruit?".

The answer is the same: That is what you were created for. That is who you are.

When you succeed in what you were created for, you are functioning properly and producing accordingly. You are pleasing to your Creator, gratifying to yourself, and beneficial to those around you.

Footnotes

  • 1. This email answer was written in 5769/2009

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Jewish Identity » Who/What is a Jew?
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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.
Joshua
1. Assumed the leadership of the Jewish people after Moses died in 1267 BCE. He split the Jordan River and led the Jewish people in their conquest of the Promised Land. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, which chronicles Joshua's leadership.
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.