It is amazing how humans seemed to have adopted the infamous concept that the neighbor’s garden is much greener, as something of their own. Moreover, it is also amazing how today’s fast pace of life seems to prevent people and individuals from acknowledging what they have; instead, they just keep on longing for what others have. And it is an unquestionable truth: what has been previously mentioned is constantly reflected in people’s life, decisions and, ultimately, on people’s culture and heritage.
Yosef Meystel has written so much about Judaism; he has constantly been spreading the word about the magnificence of its teachings. Being Judaism the ancient belief it is, it as radically changed the world’s mentality, and throughout history, it has managed to endure in spite of all the attempts at wiping it out from the face of the earth. Under this juncture, the question arises as to what does Judaism have? And, moreover, what is really the scope of its teachings.
Reality has many faces; actually, being it a multifaceted system, it can be looked at from different points of view. If one were to address Judaism from a pragmatic point of view, the best definition would be found within sociological spheres. Under a sociological framework, it is quite possible to realize the magnificence of Jewish teachings and Jewish heritage. Unlike other sociological models, Judaism has offered across history a vast summary of principles whose applicability spans over every single aspect of life: individuals, businesses, family, taxes, professional integrity, etc. In other words, although its teachings might be to some extent interpreted under a somewhat abstract juncture, it has managed to compile concrete laws to be adopted within every aspect of the individual’s material and spiritual existence.
The Main Goal
In a more succinct way, the definition of Judaism could be, to some degree, narrowed as the ongoing effort to create a fairer, honest, more reasonable society; a society in which individuals would behave as people created in God’s image. However, by looking at the big picture, encompassing a much wider and deeper interpretation, the main goal of Judaism seems to be clear: Jewish people should spare no effort to bring light to the continuous social darkness people dwell within; to bring people together, using Jewish values and principles as the main tool for such endeavor. Jewish people must act as true agents of change whose example can be used as something inspiring.
Readers might be familiar with a daily situation: whenever they buy something, it comes with an instructions manual so that they learn how to use what they just bought properly. It would not be absolute nonsense to point out that the most advisable thing is to glance upon the manual and then put its recommendations into practice. Judaism is no different. Judaism has influenced thousands of scriptures, within which is found the Torah: by studying the Torah, Jews have managed to understand and interiorize God’s will, and God’s teachings for having a better life. Amongst other influences, Jews have many sources (and resources) to thrive and to inspire those around them, and consequently, improve their community and their society. It would be possible to assert that the morality Jews profess is directly influenced by the creator Himself, and by having a detailed glimpse at such principles, insofar it could be understood the depth of its scope. It is not a secret that Jews have fallen victim of countless of attacks throughout their entire existence: across history, they have been pushed away and expelled from their lands, however, they have demonstrated an improper fortitude —improper of most human beings—: they have not ceased to fight for the adoption of justice, regardless of the context. They look after each other and their communities using their heritage as the main channel for embodying God’s principles and teachings. Justice amongst them, justice towards their relatives, towards the environment, towards their spiritual life. No other tradition seems to fondly preserve every life form.
Be that as it may, the goal, as mentioned before, is to provide good by embodying the Torah, the living word. Such acceptation has taught non-Jews that individuals, regardless of their heritage, could take the wisdom entailed in their traditions and provide good changes to the world, their community, and society in general. This, of course, is something consequential: by acknowledging the spiritual and ethical values of people’s heritage, just like Jews do with theirs, people enable society to change. Every single life on the planet is a learning path: how people harness such teachings and how do they put them into practice for the sake of society and others are up to them, nevertheless, it is surely embodied within their heritage, just like it has been passed on from generation to generation in Judaism.