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Jews without Zion

by on 06/12/2001


Dear friend

I have to tell you our meeting was very significant to me. Not very often happens to me to have conversation, with such deep emotional and intellectual significant, that will remain with me for rest of main life, I mean until the Alzheimer.

Since our meeting I also thought again about my attitude to the Jewish identity and so on, and asked myself the question you asked me, whether my attitude is not influenced by the fact that I am not living any more in Israel. In our meeting you forced me to define my position as exactly as it is only possible. So I would like to summarize my position as it appeared in our last meeting and I hope I am not going to bore you with my “hitpalpelut”.

1.     The humanity is conquering the world and destroying the nature and the whole creation within his reach.

2.     Only the cultural heritage, in wide sense of the word, created by the mankind, can be the only justification for this devastation of the creation.

3.     It is our obligation to our self and to the future generation to preserve every cultural heritage and as much nature as it is possible. It seems that the aim to preserve the nature is lost case, unless the population grow will stop and the humans will give up their rush toward the total comfort (big cars, big televisions et.c.) but culture still can be preserved.

4.     Judaism is one of the most important cultural heritages created by the mankind. Without exaggeration I would even call it one of the pillars of the human culture. Judaism seems to be also a very fertile birth ground for creative people, who significantly supply new layers to mankind’s cultural heritage. So it should be preserved in as many forms as possible.

5.     The Jewish identity was created and crystallized in the gola. Abolition of the gola would change the Jewish identity and the culture, as we know and knew.

6.     The roots of Judaism as we know it to day are in the religion and the religious way of life.

7.     Only the religious way of life can secure the persistence of the Judaism as a unique culture.

8.     Only religious way of life can secure the persistence of Jews in the gola.

9.     Israel can secure the existence of the Jews as nation, but can’t secure the unique culture of the Jews in the gola.

My conclusion: We have to try to preserve the religious Jewish communities in the gola. The only efficient instrument for this is Jewish orthodoxy.

So rightly you provoked me and asked me why don’t you make all the way and become baal tshuva and I answered you as follows:

1.     As a person who was grown up in religious family, i still can feel the fear from God when I don’t speak about him nicely, like now, even if I don’t believe in his existence.

2.     Philosophically the chances to existence of creator with intention and involvement in the Big Bang are about 50% – 50%. So let as assume that there was a creator with intention.

3.     The chances of personal supervision of the creator in the personal life and destiny are minimal. In my life I did not find any real signs to support the thesis of personal involvement and I can’t be impressed by this story with Moses, Yeziat Mizraim and Har Sinay. Sorry !!!

4.     Still let as assume the existence of intention in creation and personal supervision of the creator in our destiny. I don’t like this supervision and I don’t like the supervisor. You know when I have written the previous sentence I really felt the fear of every religious man. I don’t know if it was implanted in me as a child, or the God find the way for personal involvement, while supervising me and my deeds’ but still it works. But on other hand I don’t like this continuous, exaggerated and endlessly repeated prizing of the God in the prays. What for he needs it from this wretched, small, insignificant, ugly (except of Brigit Bardo in her thirties), short lived creature (human being). I can’t except that the creator needs it. But where am I with all this, a “Wretched Creature” ?

5.     But still there is B.B., Mozart, Michelangelo, Einstein, Kafka and Dostoyevsky. On the other hand Stalin, Hitler….. What for we needed them? Who can explain it to me?

So what to do of all this salad? Lets stick to our own culture, until we can feel it as our own. But what is my culture ???

The answer is not so simple. To answer that I have to turn back to my first impressions of Israel 33 years ago, when I arrived directly from galut and believe me, in that time Czechoslovakia for me was nothing else but galut. In one hand I was very excited by everything, like hitchhiking soldiers and so on, but in the other hand I could not find “jewishnes” in Israel as I was expecting to find. Of course this “jewishnes” i was looking for, was manly the burden of the Jewish tragedy into which I was grown up. As I became more and more Israeli and less and less Jew, I was less and less bothered by my identity, and I lost most of the complexities of a galuty Jew in my soul and have become almost a normal person. Maybe if I would have a happy first marriage and not bestial wife, I could have even become completely normal.

But my karma was different and finally I returned to the galut.  Here I met several young people who remained me my lost complexities . But you know I find in some of this youngsters something that made them supreme against young Israelis that I know, (mainly my kids and their friends). Of course it was rather expression of deep sorrow than happiness, what you find in them. By the way I don’t believe in happiness as purpose of life, it is nice, pleasant, but always very short lived. No the purpose (if there is any) has to be eternal or at least has to prolong for entire life.

See you soon, Ogen

From → Essays, MENUE

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