At the reception for new members last night, for new synagogue members, the new frame of reference that Rabbi Sebert had alluded to began to dawn on me. Also, it is dawning on me that unlike perhaps the Christian faith, the Jewish faith does really put more emphasis on this world and making this world a better, safer more paradise world. How is this going to make my life, my life journey different?
I will still be fundamentally me with my core pro-life conservative values, but how I go about that might change. I will likely be more involved in social justice, but bringing my ideas for how to reform welfare etc.. through capitalist, free market and faith community based solutions. I will work more to further inter-faith peace and acceptance of the other, to agree to disagree. Even when it comes to things like the Dakota pipeline, I did not realize why the Jewish community was backing the American Indians on this, until last night it was explained by one of the rabbis. The Talmud based on Torah teaches that when you conquer a land, govern a people, you are never to harm their agriculture, their sacred burials etc.., take their gold or precious minerals, or anything like that. You are not to disturb their culture, who they are. If they come to realize their idolatry and come to the One God on their own, fine, but you are not to eradicate who they are when you conquer their land and force your way on them. From a Talmud, Torah perspective, as we are governing the lands of the Indians, we must follow the Talmud and Torah laws, must not poison their land, destroy what is sacred to them, including burial grounds. Thus, the risk to the Indians, the fact that it would in any way disrupt, destroy their way of life potentially, cause harm to what is sacred to them, for the Jewish community is unacceptable and where there is injustice, based on the Jewish history of what happened to them and ongoing anti-semitism, it must be addressed in solidarity with one’s fellow man. I am realizing that being Jewish is not about religion, and not about heaven or hell as much as it is about my relationship with God through my relationship with everyone else and the planet I reside on, universe I live in, even how I care for myself, my own body temple, not in a vain way, in a good stewardship way.
This really is a new perspective, a new frame of reference for me. It will take some getting used to, the notion of everything through the lens of Talmud, Midrash and relation to other, to community, and God in relation to that. However, I like that way of viewing God I think, in relation to other, to community, to repairing society in whatever way one can. For me that will be through the arts and through hopefully working within the faith community to reform our current welfare system and also work to eliminate insurance and find alternatives to that to truly provide wellness for all.