Our people has spent much of its existence dispersed among other nations. In every region and in every land in which we inhabited, we also received the positive and negative cultural influences from our hosts. Jews living in Christian Europe perhaps unknowingly adopted some of the sensitivities of that culture. Similarly, our siblings who resided in Arab and Muslim lands became influenced by that culture. This phenomenon continues to this day, even in modern Israel and especially in America.
With all that interchange, is there something unique to the people called Yisrael? Substance that is truly ours? Some would say the obligation to repair the world is ours. Others might say true monotheism. I proclaim it is the ability to be in partnership with the Divine. This overarching quality of our people marks our genuine culture. Nu? So? Are you up for a challenge? It’s time to recalibrate yourself to be in harmony with Jewish culture.
We have a special time each year to get back on this proper mode of thinking, this teamwork with Hashem. It always arrives 50 days after the onset of Pesah. That’s right! Shavuoth. There is a rush of Jewish energy staying awake all night, infusing oneself with “Instruction” (that is the proper translation of Torah). And after doing so there is a chance to latch-on to our way of thinking…
Our way contains a mindset of grays and almost unlimited possibilities. Jews who live Jewishly do not see black and white, we find a way to make Torah livable and practical. We Jews are not here to showcase blind faith or to plunge into submission, nor to contemplate our navels. We happily leave those dispositions to others. We believe that God wants us to step up and take control of our own destiny. Find cures for diseases. Embrace science and technology, and advance them! Partner with the One who spoke the cosmos into existence. That is our culture. Reclaim it please.