What Is Judaism About?

Dear Rabbi,

Buddhism is about awakening, Islam is about surrendering one’s will to Allah, Christianity is about worshiping Christ. What is Judaism about?

Resistance. We are Yisrael, Godwrestlers, (Yisra/wrestle, El/God), iconoclasts called to prophetic rebellion against gods, kings, priests, and the powerful and to topple brutal systems of retributive justice and replace them with compassionate systems of distributive justice.

Our mitzvot are acts of resistance. Shabbat is an act of resistance against endless toil. Kashrut is an act of resistance against mindless consumerism. Tzedakah is an act of resistance against selfishness and scarcity. Gemilut chesed is an act of resistance against zero–sum living.

Judaism is an act of prophetic resistance for the sake of all the earth’s families (Genesis 12:3), or it is gutless conformity to tradition and a past that has lost its capacity to imagine holy futures.