Judaism is one of the most important religions, if not the most important one of the world. It is a religion which demands much faith, devotion, and discipline from its followers. Judaism was the base for some other religions and it has brought the world many wonderful teachings which have to help us create a better world for present and future generations. Jewish figures have taught us everything, from taking care of the environment to how we should handle money, Judaism has teachings for practically any aspect of life. With that in mind, one of the most important things that Judaism has given us is the value of family. Throughout history, the family has been a focal point of Abraham’s religion. What exactly can we learn about family and its importance from Judaism? Yosef Meystel has some thoughts on this.
Family must be honored
One of the Ten Commandments (the fifth actually) Jews must live by clearly states, “Honor thy father and mother.” This does not mean to do everything they ask you to, it has more to do with making sure you treat your parents and elders with the respect they deserve and that you take care of them when they are in need. Likewise, parents are expected to treat their children with respect. Parents and children must work together to establish an environment of mutual love and wellbeing.
Family as a teacher of faith
The Family is extremely important in helping keep Judaism strong. Being a Jew is not only going to Temple. It is also following the teachings of the Torah outside of it. It is up to parents to help their children understand the value of Judaism and of its many different lessons for a prosperous life. Parents do this by helping their children prepare for the different ceremonies and rituals. It is at home where Judaism manifests itself the most and it is of the utmost importance for families to live an honest Jewish life.
Marriage as a model of teamwork and solidarity
In Judaism, a man and a woman become an inseparable team once they decide to get married. Parents are the first example for children of what community means and they have to set the example for the young ones. Helping others out and being unselfish is a pillar of Judaism and it is often not something children can learn easily. Parents must show their kids how to help other people and how to be giving. Something as simple as giving the last piece of brisket to your spouse because you know they are a little hungrier is enough to show children what it means to give to others.
Sacrifice is not necessarily a bad thing
The Binding of Isaac taught us a very important lesson: when we are willing to sacrifice something to honor God, good things will surely follow. When God asked Abraham to Sacrifice Isaac, neither father or son hesitated to see it through. At least that was the plan. At the last moment, God stopped Abraham by sending an angel to detain the Forefather of Judaism. The event was a demonstration that both men wear willing to give up something they truly cherished in order to live prosperously. Parents should teach their children that letting go of the things we love is one of the greatest things the Jewish religion has going for it. This unselfishness goes together with the Jewish principle of charity. Jews are taught from an early age about the importance of helping those in needs, it’s practically an obligation for them. Teachings on charity begin at the family level when someone is willing to give another family something they love because they know it will benefit the other person much more.
Unity and faith are the greatest weapons against adversity
Throughout the history of Judaism, it is quite easy to see how God has tested the faithful. Every time God has chosen to put someone to the test it is the family which comes out on top. Judaism teaches us that when families stay close and support each other they can accomplish anything and overcome any obstacle which God has set on their path to wellbeing.
God is by far the central aspect of Judaism and the one Who guides us all along the road to a clean and honest life. However, it is the family and the environment that it provides which is in charge of reflecting God’s teachings and how to go about life adequately. Parents and children work together to be happy, honor God, and in the end give something back to the community. Family life may not be easy sometimes, but gathering together and sharing experiences will definitely help the unit come closer. The values that Judaism teaches us about how to go about are family life are essential to helping this world become a better place.