Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

Blame – VI. The Jewish People

It would be unthinkable to write an article on blame and leave the Jewish people out.  After all, they have been the scapegoat of this planet for millennia.  All kind of reasons have been advanced to explain this tragic situation.  They never allowed themselves to be absorbed.  Wherever they were, they were always a minority.  People in the past were ignorant and very superstitious.  Fine, but what about the present time?  Why does antisemitism exists even in this advanced age?

The Jewish people should be celebrated, not persecuted. There are three main reasons:

1. They brought monotheism to this planet.  This, at the time, was an extraordinary achievement.  When Moses brought the Israelites out of Egypt, people worshipped idols.  There were gods for everything.  Gods for the rain, trees, river, sun, moon, fertility, and war.  You name it, there was a god for it.  Every house had stone and clay idols.  The people could see them, touch them, talk to them, and solicit their help.  The Torah enjoined the Jews to worship one God only.  They could not fashion any image of Him.  Moreover, their God was invisible.  This was asking for the impossible.  The bible informs us that the people often worshipped false gods.  Yet, with the help of the prophets who at times cajoled, at times threatened, the true God prevailed among the Israelites.  And from Judaism first Christianity and then Islam sprung.

When Divinity walked the earth, there was only one people amongst whom He could be born:  The Jewish people.  It would have been unthinkable to have Jesus born among the heathen!

2. Of all the people of antiquity, only the Jews come to us in one unbroken line as a people.  Where are the Babylonians and the Assyrians?  Are today Greeks and Egyptians the same people that existed thousand of years ago?  To a point only; for they have mixed with so many other nations over the centuries.  The modern Jews (as a people and as a religion) are the descendants of the Jews  (with one important qualification discussed below) that traversed the Sinai desert and settled in the promised land.

In 722 BCE the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel, destroyed its capital Samaria, and deported the Israelites.  The conquered kingdom included what we call today the Ten Lost Tribes (Reuven, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Ephraim, and Manasseh).  Today, we look in vain for these lost  tribes.  I believe they have long been absorbed by other people.

Judah, the Southern Kingdom had Jerusalem as its capital.  It was populated by the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi (This tribe was assigned hereditary religious duties).  All modern  Jews are their descendants.

Why is that important?  I don’t know about you, but I find it reassuring to have a people from antiquity still dwelling among us.  After all, there is so little stability on this confused planet.   

3. The Jews do not proselytize.  I am not aware of all the reasons for that, but I believe the three most important ones are:

A. As already stated, Judaism came about at a time when people worshipped idols.  To tell your neighbors to convert to a religion with one God, and an invisible one at that, would have been not only futile, but dangerous since it would have antagonized them.

B. Judaism is an incredibly complex religion.  There are 613 commandments in the bible.  The commandments are further explained and expanded in the Talmud; all of its volumes can fill a large shelve on your bookcase.  If you’re born a Jew, you do the best you can.  Even an Orthodox Jew cannot follow everything, more so since he has to adjust the commandments to the requirements of time and place by using the Oral Torah (tradition).  I do not profess to fully understand this last statement.  I included it to give you an idea why Judaism does not ask you to join its ranks.

C. The third reason is the most important one.  The Talmud refers to the Righteous Jew.  He/she believes in God, is fair and kind to fellow humans, and follow the commandments to the best of his/her ability.  The Talmud also refers to the Righteous Gentile.  He/she is equivalent to a Righteous Jew.  Both will have a share in the world to come.  You get no special privileges in God’s eyes just because you’re a Jew!

    By the way, the Talmud does not accept (as is) the bible’s statement that the Jews were the chosen (by God) people.  The interpretation (looking through the whole Torah, and with the help of the Oral Torah) is that the choosing was the other way around; the Jews chose God and his Torah.

    Considering the above, a Gentile who wants to convert to Judaism is not encouraged.  If she persists, she is, of course, given the necessary instruction in the religion and eventually welcomed into the faith.

    In all the years, I have only known one person, a Scottish lady, who converted strictly out of conviction (i.e. not because of marriage, etc.).  She approached the Reform Congregation in Ottawa, learned about the religion and was received into Judaism.

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