Tuesday, May 28, 2013

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The One Key Message

by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths



     I am staffing an Israel trip of intelligent college students and I need to give a class on something in Torah that would appeal to them. If I could ask for some advice - what's the ONE key message that you think could connect to a college student to get him or her inspired to keep Torah?

Thank you

Gutman’s response:

     The answer to your question depends on how far along the students have come. If they are very new to Torah studies then certainly I would stress the essential teaching that Jews must marry Jews.

     It is not enough to merely tell them this, they have to understand why they must marry a Jew. Surprisingly so, most Jews do not understand why we are not to intermarry. We are not a religion, nor are we a culture, nor a tradition. We are a people, a people who are descendants of Abraham and Sarah. Religions are chosen by belief. Culture comes from societies. Traditions come from parents. But we are not Jews because of any of these. We are Jews because of our mothers. We are not a religion. We are a distinct people.

     Next, explain to them that there are certain statistics that they should be aware of. Such as, one out of 516 people in the world is Jewish, yet one out of four Nobel Prize winners is Jewish. These types of statistics are found in all avenues of accomplishment.

     This means that those students have come into the world to do two things. Number one; to make a Jewish family, and number two; they have to make the world a better place. It they will do these two things, they will live happy lives, and when their lives are over, they will leave the world with smiles on their faces.

     If they are further along in Torah study, then I would stress the essential need for them to learn how to enjoy doing mitzvahs. G-d gave us the mitzvahs to allow us to become holy so we will be able to appreciate His holiness. “You shall be holy because I am holy”[i] If they will understand what actually happens when they do a mitzvah, both to them, and to the world around them, this will bring them the spiritual joy that is required in order to reveal G-d’s Presence. This is, in fact, the very purpose of creation.

     To the complete opposite of this, the horrible curses that we are warned about in the Torah come when we do not serve G-d with joy and fullness of heart.[ii]

     The Torah was given to us so we will have full and successful lives, both in this world and in the World to Come.    

[i] Leviticus 19:2

[ii] Deuteronomy 28:47


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