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Now browsing: Hometown News > Religion > Zvi Konikov

Zvi Konikov
This Week | Archive

What is Judaism?
Rating: 2.91 / 5 (230 votes)  
Posted: 2009 Mar 06 - 01:56

By Rabbi Konikov

To describe Judaism will take more space than this column will allow. One aspect of describing my religion is that Judaism is the most powerful idea that the world has ever seen and Jews have a message that the world needs to hear and abide by.

The moral concepts of many other religions are based on the words of God, who chose the Jewish people to spread them to the world.

Abraham saw the problems of the world thousands of years ago and realized that there is only one great force behind all things. He taught that God cares about what we are doing with His world and wants us to take care of His creation.

Judaism teaches lessons that the world urgently needs to learn.

Every person is created in the image of God and is therefore unique and valuable.

Morality is not relative, but absolute.

Humans are partners with God in creation.

Even though Abraham was able to spread this message, he realized that it could not change the world for many generations and that it would take not just time, but much endurance and pain. The Jewish people who would carry out his mission through the ages would be threatened with annihilation repeatedly. However, God promised that He would protect and save the Jews each time.

The promise has been kept and, in the end, the world will be transformed into the way it was meant to be - a world of truth.

We Jews are Abraham's children. We have carried his message for thousands of years. Logic alone cannot explain our survival. Many times in history, more than my level of tears can weep for, we were on the verge of disappearance after being battered cruelly and mercilessly by the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Crusaders, the Inquisition, the Cossacks, the Germans and many others.

In spite of this overwhelming oppression, all who oppressed us and attempted to destroy us have, themselves, ended up adopting our ways. Every corner of the world has been transformed by the message of Abraham, the message of human dignity, of purpose, of the oneness of all things and of a caring God behind all things. As shown in the commandments given at Mount Sinai, this way of life is a revolutionary force that can transform ordinary lives into lives of meaning.

For this end, the Torah includes the Seven Universal Laws of Noah, exclusively for gentiles as a way to live a meaningful life.

We are reminded of what is really important. There is more to life than accumulating wealth. We are not mere animals that must feed our every urge and desire. Every human being can become a light and partner in fulfilling the purpose of God's creation.

These bold Jewish ideas are more relevant now than ever as we seek to transform a world of darkness into light and contribute to the unfolding of the Messianic Era speedily in our days.

Rabbi Zvi Konikov is director of Chabad of the Space and Treasure Coasts, 1190 A1A, Satellite Beach. He can be reached at contact@jewishbrevard.com.

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