Posted on | June 24, 2009 | By Mark Frankel | 7 Comments
Judaism provides a foundation to understand the physical and spiritual world and to use that understanding to perfect ourselves and unite the entire world. The first axiom is that life has meaning and purpose because it was created by a purposeful, spiritual G-d. The word spiritual at its most basic level means anything that can not be physically sensed or measured.
Being absolutely perfect, G-d had no need to create the world, rather he created the world to bestow good upon man. Because G-d defines the essence of good, the ultimate goodness is experiencing and communing with G-d Himself. For anything to be appreciated, some degree of contrast is needed and therefore G-d created the physical world where spirituality can not be measured or accessed with our senses.
Man was uniquely created with a physical body, a spiritual soul and free will. Free will empowers us to overcome our physical side and become G-d like givers as opposed to physically centered takers. By continually making proper choices we strengthen our soul and become more spiritual beings. Knowing our spiritual development is due to our own choices and not because of compulsion allows us to truly experience the pleasure of our accomplishments.
From the spiritual perspective, closeness is defined as the similarity of things. When we develop our spiritual side, we become G-d like and unite and partake of His goodness. The reward of spiritual development lasts for eternity since the soul exists after death.
Spiritual Mission of the Jews
In the first 20 generations, the world failed at its spiritual mission until Abraham’s kindness and spiritual awareness resulted in G-d choosing him as the world’s spiritual leader. Isaac and Jacob further developed this spiritual inheritance by excelling in self-discipline and mastering the balance between giving and discipline.
Jacob’s 12 sons and their families were exiled to Egypt for 210 years to remedy certain spiritual deficiencies. This ended with the Exodus and Moses reaching the highest level of spiritual development and prophetically receiving the instructions of the Torah at Sinai.
Developing Our Spirituality
The Torah provides us with instructions to make the free will choices that will maximize our spiritual development and unify body and soul. These mitzvos prevent us from damaging our spiritual selves and teach us the positive acts which further develop and strengthen us spirituality.
Mitzvos such as Shabbos, the Jewish Holidays and prayer enable us to become more aware and appreciative of G-d. Man to man mitzvos such as helping the poor and showing love and respect make us spiritual givers and unite humanity. Self-development mitzvos like eliminating arrogance, envy, and unbridled desire correct our self-centered negative traits.
By freely choosing to follow the mitzvos, a Jew develops his spirituality. When a significant number of Jews develop high levels of spirituality, a process will have begun which will culminate in the entire world uniting in spiritual harmony and experiencing G-d and the world at the highest possible level.
Note: A few friends thought this was a little too philosophical for the average non-observant Jew, so I am back to the drawing board.
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