Thursday, July 21, 2016

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The Hills of Jerusalem

​      by Reb Gutman Locks   

The Hills of Jerusalem

 

     A young, non-Jewish man came up to me at the Kotel and told me that he keeps the Seven Commandments of Noah but he feels that he would be better off if he converted and became a Jew.

     "You should become the best possible you. This means that G-d created you a gentile so there is no need to try to become a Jew. You should fulfill what G-d gave you."

     He walked away but then came back later and asked, "If you knew that there was a unique nation in the world, one better than the one you are from, would you want to join that nation?"

     "No. I want to be the best that G-d made me. G-d made me a Jew so I want to be the best Jew I possibly can be."

     He seemed to understand my point.

     It is like this wonderful, Holy Land that G-d has given to us. What if I heard that another land had more water, or more produce, or a better climate, would I want to move there? G-d forbid. This is where G-d told me to be. This is where I want to live. I want to breathe the air here and walk on this holy ground. This is where I will thrive the best … here in the place that Hashem has chosen for me. I will be far better off here than anyplace that I would choose for myself.

 

5 comments:

Neshama said...

You need to remember that Israel is an immigrant nation; we all came from someplace else. B"H we didn't stay where we were!

Anonymous said...

Is this just a way of turning away a potential convert nicely? What would you say if someone persisted and was determined to convert?

Anonymous said...

Pushing away potential converts is what the Rabbis do and need to do; if by the third time, the potential convert is adamant and truly sincere and is willing to study for a long while and go through the rituals of (male -circumcision) immersion in a mikvah and the woman immersion in a mikvah, and adhere to the commandments; he/she will be considered a ger tzedek, a true convert and is considered a full fledged Jew, as any other Jew. Converting is not taken lightly in Judaism and that is the proper way.
The non-Jew just needs to follow the Seven laws of Noach and has a portion in the world to come and there is no need for him/her to convert.

crazy smade said...

R' Locks writes, "This is where I will thrive the best … here in the place that Hashem has chosen for me. I will be far better off here than anyplace that I would choose for myself."

And if you lived in a nation where you weren't thriving? Tell me, what does the Western World have to offer? What is our so-called culture actually cultivating? Truth, justice and the American way? Pfft!

What's the American way -- consumerism, hedonism, social Darwinism, racism, violence, idolatry, sexual immorality, and the general belief that one should screw unto to others, before others screw unto to you...? That's what goyishkeit has to offer the world, R' Locks. And this is the culture you expect Noachides to thrive in?

And don't even get me started on Noachidism! There are only two Noachide groups in the USA and both are personality driven. In short, there aren't enough Noachides in the USA living close enough to each other to become a community of purpose. Noachidism doesn't provide one with a sense of belonging. There are just too many inherent shortcomings in Noachidism to make it a viable option for a non-Jew who seeks oneness with the Divine. That's why so many Noachides aren't content to be mere Gerim Toshav and why so many end up converting to Judaism.

You can't be "all that you can be" when you're drowning in an ocean of goyishkeit nor can one thrive as spiritual Lone Ranger. In order to thrive, one must have a people and a community with the necessary spiritual infrastructure to assist one in tikkun nefesh. A list of sixty-six mitzvot isn't enough to bring about self-actualization and playing second fiddle isn't going to provide one with any self-esteem, especially when one is geographically separated from the rest of the orchestra!


What about mussar? What about chassidut? What about tikkun olam? What about connecting one's self with the Tzadik of this generation?

Honestly, it feels like you're just giving us Noachides the brush-off. "Run along now. Go play with the toys in your room and don't disturb the adults. Later, if you behave, I'll cut you a piece of cake." Well, the Xtians offered me "Pie-In-The-Sky" and I rejected it! Why? Because there's more to life and growth than just sitting in a pew and playing spiritual patty-cake.

I could write more, but what's the point? You're not a non-Jew and you'll never understand how we feel or why we're so attracted to Judaism.

crazy smade said...

It is written, "Thus saith HaShem of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, shall even take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying: We will go with you, for we have heard that G-d is with you'" - Zechariyah 8:23.

Resh Lakish says like this, "He who is observant of fringes will be privileged to be served by two thousand eight hundred slaves, for it is said, 'Thus saith the Lord of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations shall even take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you'" - Shabbat 32b.

70 nations x 10 men (from each of the 70 Nations) x 4 tzitziyot per Jew = 2,800. If one assumes that the world population of Jews is 14M and half of these are men, then for 7M Jewish men to have 2,800 servants the world population would have to be at least 19.6B, which it isn't.

But there aren't 7M Torah-observant Jewish men in the world. The number of Orthodox Jews is only about 2.2M and let's say that half of these are males. So, for 1.1M Jewish men to have 2,800 servants each, the world population would have to be at least 3.08B, which it is.

What's my point? The Torah-observant Jews in the world need to prepare themselves to be inundated by non-Jews who will be saying, "We will go with you, for we have heard that G-d is with you!" I'm placing the emphasis here on the words "go with you". So, please, please, please ... stop giving us the bum's rush and telling us to go back to our native country and just observe the Seven Categories of Noachide Laws.

When someone approaches you, that person might well have a tiny holy spark in them that's the remnant of some long forgotten or unknown Jewish ancestor. Fan that spark until it either flames or dies out. Yes, I know converts are a pain in the tuchus, but most Noachides have already been rejected by Xtianity or Islam, which is why they're turning to Judaism. So, don't turn us away or reject us when we grab at your tzitzit and say, "We will go with you," because more often than not ... it's the only lifeline we've got left. I'm just saying....

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