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Why did you kill your grandmother?

Friday, 7 August, 2015 - 7:19 am

Why did you kill your grandmother? This was the question that Rabbi Dov Greenberg asked a student who asked him "Why does Israel act like an apartheid state?". The young man responded and said "I didn't kill my grandmother" to which the Rabbi responded - she has passed on correct? Yes said the student! So "Why did you kill her?"

Everyone in the room understood that Rabbi Greenberg was making a point, you cannot engage in the conversation about a ridiculous claim because even if you win the argument, you have become tainted by even engaging the issue.

As proud Jews, we should see the world as one of the tools we can use with which to serve G-d. We can eat kosher food (the object) with a blessing (the recognition) in order to keep our bodies healthy (the intent) and we have then, made the world and the act of eating holy.

On the other hand, by engaging the world in an unG-dly way, instead of us uplifting the world, the world can drag us down. This can happen by (1) first considering Jewish value as one voice amongst the many, to the extent that it (2) may be considered the inferior voice. We may then (3) become passionate about causes that oppose Jewish values, or even worse,(4) apathetic and uninterested in any value based conversation and then,(5) when we are inspired and searching for something we may not realize that what we are searching for is to reconnect to Jewish values.

This is what Moshe is telling the Jews as they prepare to go into the land of Israel, where they would be engaging with the world post their wilderness experience. He is guiding them, and us, as to the spiritual battles we need to fight. As it is written in this week’s Torah portion: ‘Be careful that you do not forget the Lord, your God, by not keeping His commandments, His ordinances, and His statutes, which I command you this day ... Who led you through that (1)great and (2) awesome desert, [in which were] (3)snakes,(4)vipers and scorpions, and (5) drought, where there was no water; Who brought water for you out of solid rock’. ᐧ

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