Some folks will try tell you that Judaism is "legalistic"-- nothing more than a bunch of rules: You have to keep the Sabbath, have to keep kosher, have to keep a whole slew of commandments that give little sense of spiritual connection or experience. If only these folks really knew, really understood... In this interesting post by Shoshana Zakar, we will explore a reflection on Jewish spirituality. Is Judaism spiritual? Let's find out.
Spirituality in Judaism goes way beyond a warm fuzzy feeling.
It is as if each Jew is given a great staff, reaching from the ground to almost the heavens. Whenever we do a mitzvah, it is as if we raise this staff and pierce the Heavens and God sends His Divine Light through the opening we have made in the spiritual cosmos.
And if, God forbid, we violate a command, it is as if we thrust our staff into the dust at our feet, rupturing the shield between us and the forces of evil. The light in our realm descends below, feeding the denizens of the other side, and the sewage of that ungodly universe seeps in to despoil our own.
Of course we may not always see the light entering from above, for it may shine upon another -- a sickened child, a struggling father, a lost stranger. It may shine upon them and ease their way, leaving us unaware of the benefits of the light we let in.
Likewise, we may not always know the damage caused by our callous disregard for God's will.
So this is a point of pivotal concern: To understand that our tasks and our lives are important, and that God has made it so -- to strive to pierce the Heavens, to preserve the light, until this Divine light illuminates our world and all who live within it.
Legalistic? Hardly. At the heart of Judaism, within the Torah, is a blueprint for connecting our world to the Infinite, for connecting our lives to the Source of our lives. As Jews we are especially privileged that we were chosen to be the recipients and guardians of Torah. We can bless and thank our Creator with the sincerest of hearts, for we understand the treasure with which we are entrusted.
Jewish spirituality? It is deep and true. It involved our deepest emotions but is not limited to them. Jewish spirituality is loving God completely and faithfully, understanding not only what we hope to receive from Him, but how we can respond to His guidance in our lives. There is no deeper and abiding connection than that between a Jew and God.
Jewish spirituality is not just a feeling. It is a relationship and an eternal covenant.
(written by Shoshana Zakar)