The Jewish emphasis on the concrete and practical

Dan M. writes:

Through VFR, you do a great service to the many individuals struggling to identify and articulate the problems that the embrace of modern liberalism has caused in the West.

As an orthodox Jew, I want to comment on your most recent post, “Love of God, self and others.” There is a fascinating discussion in the Talmud in which the rabbis discuss which is the most important, defining verse in the Torah. Rabbi Akiva, one of the most famous Jewish sages, states that the verse, “You shall love your fellow like yourself, I am God (Leviticus 19:18)” is the basis of the Torah. Ben Azzai, another Torah scholar, proposes that “This is the book of the chronicles of man (Genesis 5:1)” is more inclusive. Yet another rabbi, Ben Zoma, states that “Hear, O Israel: Hashem is our God. Hashem is the One and Only (Deuteronomy 6:4)” is more important. Finally, a lesser known commenter named Shimon Ben Pazi suggests that “One lamb shall you offer in the morning and the second lamb you shall offer in the afternoon (Numbers 28:4)” is the most important verse in the Torah. After hearing Ben Pazi’s argument, all of the aforementioned rabbis changed their mind and agreed that this, indeed, is the most important verse in the Torah.

It is very interesting to note that the most important verse in the Torah, as determined by the great Jewish sages, overlooks broader, more universalistic aphorisms in favor of the daily, technical requirements of service that God demands. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that broader notions like “Love your neighbor like yourself” can easily get corrupted by liberalism and humanism. Doing exactly what God commands of us in a consistent, unwavering and specific manner is the most important way to overcome all obstacles, including liberalism.

I remember you once compiled a list of actions that traditionalists should take to help gain a beachhead against liberalism in their own lives and, hopefully, in the community at large. You should continually republish this list.

Here are a few practical thoughts that my family has implemented that could help your readership:

- Small communities are necessary. The orthodox Jewish community is comprised of a network of small communities all based around a synagogue. Since we cannot drive on the Sabbath, we must live in walking distance from a synagogue. This seemingly minor technicality has a dramatic impact on communal life. It makes worship, education and match-making much easier. You are accountable for your actions to the community and each individual has a role to play. One of the reasons that liberals love the notion of the “global community” and worship travel is that it makes them much less accountable for their actions on a daily basis. This would not be hard for traditionalists to implement and could be the seeds for a large secession or political movement.

- No TVs in your household. Not only will you save money and have more time to focus on family, prayer and work, but it will eliminate 50 percent of the exposure that you and your family have to liberal influence.

- Daily prayer and Bible study. Whether you are a Christian or a Jew, the Bible is very complex and requires enormous amounts of study to understand. It is the Word of God and is infinite. As an outsider looking in, one of the biggest problems I see with modern Christianity is that, to put it bluntly, Christians simply don’t know enough about the Bible. This creates lots of problem. Going to synagogue or Church for two hours every weekend isn’t going to cut it. The average liberal listens to his god several hours a day via various TV, radio and web outlets. You need to do the same.

Thanks for your time and wisdom. I hope to be a more active contributor to VFR in the future.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 24, 2012 09:56 AM | Send

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