The five truths of Judaism that will surprise you

The five truths of Judaism that will surprise you

Maybe it's not how you thought it was?

Let's look at these five realities:

1. We must savor the pleasures of the world:

The Jerusalem Talmud says that the Creator will rebuke us for not enjoying the permitted pleasures of this world (Treatise of Kiddushin, 4:12)
G-ios He did not create the delights of this world to make fun of us.
Enjoy that chocolate ice cream, but do it consciously, as a connoisseur, savoring each bite, that way, you will be the one who controls the physical and not the physical to you.

Towards the end of his life, Rav Shimson Rafael Hirsch - the great German rabbi of the 19th century - asked his students to accompany him to the Swiss Alps.
He wanted to make sure that when he came to the World to Come and the Creator asked him: "Shimson, did you see my magnificent Alps?", he could answer in the affirmative.

Moving away from the material world is not a Jewish ideal. In fact, holiness can be achieved only through using the physical world in the right way.
Think about all the Hebrew words that are related to kedusha (holiness):
Kiddushin (covenant in marriage) the bond that binds a man and a woman, Kiddush over wine, Shabbat Kodesh, the holy Shabbat, in which is a mitzvah to eat delicious food and rest.

All of these words center around physical activities because, according to Judaism, holiness comes through elevating the physical, not denying it!

2. Judaism believes in Heaven and Hell, but probably not in the version you are imagining.

Life after death is an expression of the relationship with the Creator and with the spirituality that we have nurtured and developed in this world.
How one experiences life after death completely depends on his preparation beforehand. Each choice in this world shapes our existence and creates either a connection or a disconnection with the World to Come.

Imagine two people listening to a concert. One of them studied music composition, read about the composer, and is highly attuned to all the details involved in creating the symphony. For him, the concert is a rich and satisfying experience. The other person attended out of obligation and actually hates classical music. For him, the concert is boring and even painful.

A single concert ... two very different types of experiences.

Our essence does not undergo a great transformation when we leave this world. What happens is just the opposite. Our essence is fully expressed in the World to Come. The pain of disconnection and the acute awareness of what we could have been if we had chosen differently, that is the Jewish vision of Hell.

3. You do not need to be a Jew to go to Heaven, nor to achieve "the famous salvation" as some religions consider it.

Contrary to popular belief, someone who is not Jewish, can be perfected spiritually and can even secure a place in the World to Come!
The obligation to fulfill the mitzvot of the Torah is only for the Jews. However, the Torah commands seven commandments for non-Jews and Maimonides states, "Any non-Jew who fulfills the seven commandments to serve God belongs to the righteous among the nations and has his portion in the World Coming ".

4. Jewish beliefs have a rational basis:

The first mitzvah of the Ten Commandments is to know that there is a God.

Some religions demand a blind leap of faith: that you assume something is true just because you emotionally wish it to be true. The Torah commands us to build a rational basis for our belief.Believe in the Creator because you have enough compelling arguments to lead you to conclude that He really exists. Use your mind, not your heart.

You may have questions and doubts, you may never reach 100% knowledge; the mitzvah of "knowing there is a God" tells us: don't be complacent with your belief. Face your questions, gain clarity, and strengthen your foundation by acquiring more information and hard facts. Know that there is a God, do not blindly assume the existence of him.

5. It is a great Precept to be healthy:

Mezuzah? Ready. Kosher food? Ready. Running shoes? What ?!

Living a healthy spiritual life also requires living a healthy and robust physical life. Maimonides, the great philosopher and physician, wrote in Mishneh Torah:

“Since maintaining a healthy body is within the ways of the Creator, since it is impossible to have any understanding or knowledge of the Creator when one is sick, it is the duty of a person to avoid what is harmful to the body and to cultivate habits that promote health and vigor ”(Laws of Character Traits, 4: 1).

He was also a strong supporter of the exercise:

"As long as one exercises, exerts himself and does not eat to the point of satiety ... he will not suffer diseases and will increase in strength ... He who is lazy and does not exercise ... even if he eats the right foods ... will be full of pain all his days and his strength will fade ”(ibid., 4: 14-15).

(from Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith)

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