Tag Archives: sabbath

Love your neighbor like yourself

Growing up I was taught that Jews were superior to all other people on earth. I was taught that we are the chosen nation, how God loves us more than all the other people which is why we have the privilege of keeping the torah’s commandments . It was drilled in my head over and over again that there are different laws for Jews and how Jews have superior souls to non jews.

I have written previously about the question that ultra orthodox jews usually ask regarding whether they can break the sabbath to help a non Jew.  That is not the only ridiculous and degrading question that exists, there are plenty more such as if you eat with a non jew, share your plates with them and drink their wine.

There is a jewish saying which literally translated means love your neighbor like yourself. Somehow in the ultra orthodox world this saying is currently being translated and practiced as love your fellow jew like yourself. We are not taught that this law applies to people who are not jewish. We are not taught to treat them as equals, and we are taught that they are not equals, that jews are far more superior to non jews.

The Torah commands that if you see your enemies donkey with a heavy load you must stop and help the donkey. This commandment should remove the superiority complex which exists.  It should make it obvious that if you need to stop and help an animal how much more so should you help fellow humans. I dont believe that any person is superior to others based on their religion alone. I don’t believe that being a jew gives you the right to treat non jews like ignorant sub humans. I am ashamed of the things i was taught growing up. I am ashamed that we were taught to make fun of other religions and their believers. I am ashamed that this behavior still goes on today.

I remember a rabbi in israel teaching me how the jews keep the world running. If it wasn’t for jews keeping torah and commandments the world would stop turning and cease to exist. At the time I was so brainwashed that I believed every word I was told. I didn’t dare question it. Now having removed myself from the religious world it is clear to see that this is such a wrong belief.

Even if the jews believe that they are the chosen people god still loves all his creations and expects everyone to be treated with kindness, dignity and equality. I wish that the phrase “Love your neighbor like yourself” would go back to its literal translation and everyone would be treated as equal human beings judged by their actions- not their race or religion.

I have written this as a person from a jewish background but I feel that this  happens in  all religions and is relative to all religions.

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Is the Torah perfect?

“The Torah is perfect, the people are not”

This phrase is commonly used by ultra orthodox jews in response to imperfections noticed in judaism. I disagree.  I argue that the Torah has many imperfections which lead Jewish followers to have an unbalanced lifestyle.

According to the Torah,   a cohen may not marry a divorcee or a convert. No homosexual relationships, desecrate the sabbath and you shall be put to death. A cohen’s (priest’s) daughter who had relations before marriage should be put to death. A woman adulterer is put to death- the man is in the clear. An eye for an eye, and many more laws which lead me to question the perfection of the Torah.

The Torah is further distorted by rabbis who have added on so many laws to the commandments that they make keeping the commandments extremely difficult to keep. I also believe that many of the added rabbinical laws cause people to focus on these laws and further them from the basic meaning of the commandments.

Take the sabbath as an example. According to the ten commandments you should remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. Why is there a sabbath day? The reason that this exists is because god created the world in 6 days and then rested on the 7th. So we need to remember that god created the entire world- every living and nonliving element and then rested once his work was complete.

Rabbis have said that you keep the sabbath holy by not using electricity, which means no driving, phone calls, turning on lights etc. A Jew is also not allowed to carry as they may carry tools which would lead them to work. There is a common question about when a Jew is allowed to break these laws and desecrate the sabbath. Jews are allowed to break the sabbath to save another jews life. This leads to another common question which is; are they are allowed to break the sabbath to save a non jews life.

Common sense should prevail in this situation and there should not ever be such a question. Such a question is so unnecessary, it should be obvious that on the sabbath day when we are meant to remember how god created the entire universe and then rested, why would you think you should keep the sabbath day holy by not helping one of gods creations? The stupidity in such a question ever being asked rages me to the core. Why is the answer not obvious?

The answer is not obvious and ultra orthodox jews commonly ask this question, only due to all the laws that the rabbis have added on over the years. These laws make followers concentrate on what they should and should not be doing on the sabbath and make them forget the entire reason why the sabbath exists. If they remembered the real reason why the sabbath exists, as it says in the 10 commandments that they should remember it and keep it holy. Then they would know that they are celebrating the creation of the world and you can’t keep such a day holy by destroying one of gods creations.

I must say that I believe that both the Torah and the people are not perfect and a lot of changes must be made so that the purpose of the world is not lost. I’ll discuss a frumless perspective on the purpose of the world in my next blog.