Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tying the Generations Together --How you achieve immortality

How to achieve Immortality

The Jewish people (which I define as spiritual seekers), put a tremendous focus on family, both alive and dead. The bible section last week was about the primary zealot of Jewish history, whose name was Pinchas, lists many pages (as other sections of the bible do), of names of now dead Israelites and how they were descended from the original 13 tribes.

What relevance do these people from thousands of years ago have for me?

Many of the great sages say that the history of each person in the bible can not be understood unless you know his genealogy, because he is a pure product of his family tree.
His behavior is explained  because of the connection to his parents. The bible emphasizes for us that Pinchas' zealotry did not come to him in a vacuum. The bible allows everyone freedom of will and behavior. Neither good or evil behavior is ever predestined. Yet as medicine has shown us, in the physical world there is an element of physical predestination in our DNA. And this DNA affects our moral behavior as well.

But aside from these insights there is another more general message that the bible is recording for us. That is a person's behavior affects all of one's family members, even those of previous generations who may no longer be currently numbered among the living.

The Jewish (spiritual) idea of immorality is based upon generations of our families, both previous generations and later ones. We find vindication of our lives and efforts in the accomplishments of those that come after us and continue our values and faith.  We cannot control what children and grandchildren, or in my case since I have no children or grandchildren who will survive me, other people that I teach that are considered my children, what type of life they will lead. But innately, we feel that we have a connection to the development of their lives and the actions that they will take.

Judaism always envisioned itself not only as a universal faith (spirituality) but as a particular family as well. In our daily prayer service we constantly recall who our founding ancestors were. We name our children in memory of those who have preceded us. We extol a sense of family and a loyalty to the values that our families represent.

With our own eyes and minds and through witnesses that were in the Holocaust, who I pray with every day, we know that G-d seemed to have disappeared in the Holocaust. My own family on my Mother's side was viciously murdered. Only by believing that we are all one family can we deal with the pain of that loss. Even if I don't have any children myself, my Jewish friends who do, will continue our history and compassion. I teach my assistant who works with me, the things that I have learned. By carrying on good will and spirituality, I live on through him.

This idea that we are one family tied together through the generations is how we accept and believe in immortality, even if we are no longer physically here. And the corollary concept, which is too painful to accept, if we are not one, than those people died in vain, and we have nothing but pain to show for their deaths.

Love Rabbi Yehuda Lave

And now for some lighter subjects:

A Bird that barks like a dog


Jewish Synagogues over the world


Visit my Blog: http://yehudalave.blogspot.com

or http://www.yehudalave.com/

Visit my Blog: http://yehudalave.blogspot.com

or http://www.yehudalave.com/