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Judaism Jewish Orthodoxy: Coping With Secularism

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Tejwant Singh, Jul 1, 2004.

  1. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Are We God Fearing or God Loving??

    First printed at Sikhe.com on Oct.20, 2001

    Perspectives

    Are We God Fearing or God Loving??
    Tejwant Singh (Malik) Sat Oct 20

    Lets try to find the answer to the question.

    When human beings came into existence, they were very fearful of their surroundings because they did not understand them. This was true among all peoples from the Incas in the Andes to the Adhivasis in the deep jungles of India. Gradually, when people understood the natural phenomena of The Akalpurkh, they became less fearful. However, some among them saw the opportunity to become the 'spiritual leaders' of the tribes by becoming "the only ones with 'the Truth' in that little circle". These people engaged in fear tactics to keep the tribes under their influence. They created demons, hell and fireballs in the worlds beyond, where they said those who did not obey them or follow their teachings would perish to.

    The 'leaders' evolved and their followers multiplied in numbers, hence the cults became religions. But the fear tactics remained the same in all religions until the birth of Guru Nanak in the 15th century.

    "Satguru Nanak parghteiyah, mitti dhund jug chanan hoa".

    Here Bhai Gurdas ji is not giving us the weather report of the day nor is he describing the day Guru Nanak was born. He is emphasizing Guru's Teachings that lifted the veil of darkness created by fear. Thus, fear created darkness began to evaporate and bright rays of love began to outshine.

    Fear is darkness; Love is light. Fear breeds repression and submission; Love breeds freedom. Fear makes us cringe; Love makes us open our arms. Fear breeds rebellion; Love creates harmony. Fear is shackles; Love is 5K's.

    This cultivation of Love has continued ever since and only due to our Love towards Waheguru, Sikhe has flourished and has become the 5th largest religion with 25 million Sikhs worldwide in a mere 532 years.

    If someone says to you "We should be fearful of God", please recite them the verse of my 10th Guru:

    "Jin prem kioh, tinh hee Prabh payeioh" - Only Love can create the connection to Waheguru.

    Copied from thread "QS. Is fear the basis of all religions?" (Tejwant Singh)
     
    #1 Tejwant Singh, Jul 1, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2009
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  3. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    sikhchic.com | The Art and Culture of the Diaspora | Article Detail

    Jewish Orthodoxy: Coping With Secularism

    by SIMON ROCKER




    In 1941 a group of rabbis and their students arrived in Japanese-controlled Shanghai.

    They were refugees from one of eastern Europe's most renowned yeshivas (Talmudic academies) from Mir, now in Belarus. At the outbreak of the second world war they had fled to Lithuania, but as the threat of the Nazis loomed they moved once again, settling briefly in Kobe, Japan, before seeing out the rest of the war in China.

    Now based in Jerusalem, the Mir Yeshiva is a thriving institution with thousands of students, including some from Britain; there is also a branch in New York.

    But its survival and success tell a larger story.

    The Holocaust wiped out almost all the seats of traditional Orthodox learning in Europe, so much so that it must have seemed that the devout forms of Judaism they inculcated would vanish before long. Instead, the old yeshivas were revived in Israel and America, and there are more advanced Talmudic students now than probably at any time in Jewish history.

    The recovery of the strictly Orthodox, or Haredim - meaning "God-fearing" - is one of the most remarkable features of Judaism over the past half-century.

    The Haredim are the most rapidly expanding part of the Jewish world. It is estimated that nearly a third of all elementary schoolchildren in Israel will be in Haredi institutions within three years.

    In the United Kingdom, the Haredim have moved from being a small minority once considered on the margins of Anglo-Jewish society to an increasingly visible presence. With large families of often six or more children, they are growing at around 4% annually, concentrated largely in Stamford Hill and Golders Green in north London, Prestwich, Manchester and Gateshead, location of an internationally respected yeshiva.

    One in three Jewish children under 18 in Britain is strictly Orthodox, according to the most recent survey.

    Overall, the British Jewish population has dropped from over 400,000 in the 1950s to under 300,000 now. If the Haredim maintain their growth - while other Jewish streams continue to decline through assimiliation, low birth rates or emigration - they are likely to form a majority here within a couple of generations.

    The Haredim do not comprise a single sect; they are made up of various Hassidic and non-Hassidic groups, some with a more mystical bent, some more worldly than others.

    But they share a belief that only the most stringent religious lifestyle can guarantee Jewish survival. Whereas the Chief Rabbi's more modern style of Orthodoxy can allow him to make YouTube videos or liberally quote western thinkers in his writings, the Haredim are far warier of secular culture, frowning on such distractions as television or the free-thinking openness of the university.

    While most British Jews would struggle to read a page of the Bible without the aid of a translation, the Haredim are characterised by the intensity with which they cleave to the study of the Torah and the vast corpus of rabbinic law and commentary built upon it.

    The Haredim today suffer little defection from their ranks, while a survey in the mid-90s showed that more than half the children of Reform and Liberal Jews in the UK did not belong to a synagogue.

    A century ago, one of the founders of British Liberal Judaism, Claude Montefiore, could declare: "The traditional conception of Judaism, both in theory and in practice, is, we think, doomed."

    No one could be quite so confident now.

    Reform Judaism arose in the 19th century in an attempt to adapt Judaism in the wake of the Enlightenment. But the Haredim stood firm, following the motto of the influential central European rabbi Moses Sofer (1762-1839) that "The new is forbidden".

    In their rising numbers they must see a vindication of their way of life.

    The renaissance of the strictly Orthodox poses a wider question: could it be that only the most traditionalist forms of religion possess the inner resolve to withstand the challenge of secularism?
     
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