by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
I just came back from my regular eye exam. The doctor is such a fine person. He is an eye surgeon, and a disease specialist, too. Thank G-d, all was well.
He is a very intelligent, calm, Israeli with patience, and a very pleasant disposition. He is not Torah observant. I have been seeing him for a number of years. I like him.
Today, he was moved to point to an old picture of a very religious-looking Jewish man that hangs on his office wall. He told me that he was his grandfather, and that he was the very important chief rabbi of his city in Europe. The doctor seemed rightfully proud of his righteous ancestor.
Subtly referring to his lack of Torah observance, I asked him, “But what happened to his grandson?” (the doctor)
He defended himself eloquently. “The prophets have told us that G-d is not interested in our sacrifices, and ceremonies, but in our hearts… that we should be good people, and be humble.” He was roughly quoting the Prophet Micah.[i]
I said, “What you are calling ceremony, I have found to be spiritual tools… exercises that open our eyes to G-d’s Presence.”
He did not give up, “It is alright for you, if you have found this good for yourself, but each person can take his own path.”
I did not give up either. “The real problem with straying from the physical practices of the Torah is that once you leave them you go further and further away, until there is even intermarriage, and the grandchildren are called Luke and John instead of Aaron and Moshe.”
His face dropped. His confidence left him. His eyes saddened. He had forgotten that a few years ago he told me that his daughter had moved to San Francisco, and married a wonderful, but non Jewish man.
There are no rituals in the Torah. Each is a precious vehicle that can safely take us across a raging sea.
[i] Micah 6:8