Vaeira: Why Are So Many Jews Alienated from their Tradition?



Two New York Times articles – striking in their contrast – jumped out at me last weekend. One was a cover story, which described the fascination and admiration enveloping this year’s football phenomenon: Tim Tebow, who is a fervent Christian not ashamed to make his faith show. The other was a confession by Matt Gross, the New York Times travel writer, that – of the world’s 200 nations – there is only one he has not visited nor wishes to visit: Israel.

What is it about Jews and their alienation from things Jewish?

The fault lies in the detachment of faith from reality, in the divorce of ritual from the spiritual. Witnessing so-called devout people behaving in obnoxious ways only deepens the gap between religion and refinement.

Today, more than ever, we are in desperate need of the psycho-spiritual application of Torah in order to demonstrate its personal relevance and how it refines our lives and makes us more sensitive, loving people, living up to our greatest potential.

This week’s Torah reading reminds us about Judaism’s profound spirituality and relevance, as it demonstrates to us the four paths to true freedom – a powerful formula that can help us each free ourselves today from all the forces and demands, including our psychological fears, that enslave us.


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