Devarim: Is Judaism Personal?



Today in Israel – and in the Jewish world at large – we are faced with an acute compartmentalization, ranging from one extreme to the other: Jews pursuing their personal interests without any connection to God, or Jews seemingly involved in Godly pursuits without a personal connection.

In addition, a massive debate is raging in Israel regarding religion. And a massive debate is raging in religion regarding Israel.

What is religion? What is Israel?

Is religion a system of rituals, rules and regulations, without application to our personal lives and realities? Is ritual meant to be divorced from spi-ritual? Does religion mandate that Israel be the Jewish homeland?

And just how personal is religion to me? Do I feel that that Torah matters to my life, or do I feel I must obey it regardless of its personal relevance?

This sermon presents a few lessons from Tisha B’Av about personalizing Judaism via a discussion about what it means to settle the Land of Israel, why Moses spoke the last of the five books of Torah in the first person, and via a fascinating story that relates what happens when a homeless man is handed $100,000 to do with it what he likes. Will he turn his life around or will he remain homeless?

Why don’t you come and find out?


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