Jewish Spirituality Versus Jewish Ritual

The truth is, in a successful relationship this is always the bottom line—with a friend, with a spouse, and with God. The reality of the commitment itself should be the true personal reason why we do what we do in our relationships.

The Thirst of Our Time

That having been said, the Jewish people are presently in great need of clarifying how the specifics of Jewish living not only fit into the grander Kabbalistic picture of "who am I" and "what am I doing here," but are indeed its fulfillment.

In a sense, the seeming disconnect between Kabbalistic philosophy and Jewish practice is comparable to a person's veins being disconnected from his heart. If there is no blood flowing through the veins, the veins come to be seen as dead weight, leading one to ask what he needs them for, and he proceeds to amputate. And if there is a heart beating but no veins to direct the blood flow, here too one would question the purpose of the beating heart and conclude to shut off the heart as well.

This is exactly what is happening to Judaism in our times.

Those actually interested in Judaism and its deeper teachings find themselves asking how the specifics of Jewish practice lead one to better one's self, increase goodness in the world, and help to actualize one's relationship with God. In what manner do the details of Jewish living embody the principles of personal growth, fulfillment, world enhancement, and spirituality that Judaism supposedly teaches?

And if there are these beautiful Kabbalistic ideas of a life of fulfillment without a practical guide to carrying out that vision, what is the purpose of Kabbalah in the first place?

Eventually, we would leave the grander Kabbalistic ideals, just as many have left the specifics of Jewish practice.

Whether conscious of it or not, the Jewish masses thirst for an infusion of meaning; we yearn for the reconnection of Jewish practice with Jewish theory; to explain the specific detailed practices within their general esoteric principles; and to clarify Judaism in the light of Kabbalah.

In an attempt to address this need, we have recently released a new book, Halacha By Choice: The Kabbalah of Jewish Life, which outlines the deep spirituality that underlies the specifics of Jewish living. We hope it opens doors for Jews to gain an appreciation of their spiritual heritage and be inspired to take real life steps to live it with a passion!

8/20/2014 4:00:00 AM
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