July 18, 2024
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Proud Jews Spread the Light

This Shabbos is Parshas Yisro. An important verse often overlooked, is that Hashem demands the Jewish people to be “mamleches kohanim” and a “goy kadosh” (Exodus 19:6). Mamleches kohanim, a kingdom of priests. What does it mean? What is the responsibility of kohanim, priests? It is to teach and inspire. We were chosen to teach the world, to spread the idea of ethical monotheism to mankind, that there is a God who demands every human to be moral, responsible and pursue justice and peace.

In light of that, I wish to express my sadness regarding the incidents noted in Rabbi Haim Jachter’s recent article, “Who is Pathetic? Not the Orthodox Jew,” Feb. 2. He laments incidents that he and Rav Mordechai Kaminetsky, were mocked by gentiles and non-religious Jews for their Orthodox observances.

We are no longer in the ghetto cowering in humiliation. We are modern Orthodox, proud Jews—confident in our lifestyle. How many countless times in my life when a coworker, a stranger, a neighbor, or a relative challenged, questioned or suggested that my keeping kosher, Shabbat, or belief in God or any ritual was irrational, old-fashioned or nonsense? What an opportunity to teach the ignorant! I have always explained that my religious observances have taught me self-control, discipline—that there are moral absolutes—that I do not live a selfish, egocentric, indulgent life, where I can do whatever I want. That I live a very fulfilling, meaningful life!

Martin Polack
Teaneck

 

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