How do Jewish practices maintain Jewish identity?

You might come to think that the brain (read: thinking) is the most important accomplishment a human can do.  We all certainly value brilliant thoughts. G-d created man (and most thinking animals) with their heads; where their brains reside in the uppermost part of the body. Thus, suggesting the brain’s and the act of thinking prominent and great influence over anything else.  In fact we separate man from animal because of this very function; thinking and speaking.

Yet the hands (read: action) of humans (and a few animals) can be raised above the head.  Action ultimately is greater and can have stronger effect on a person, but the action needs to be raised above the arms normal position.  So what does this all mean?

Having nice Jewish thoughts and wishes can come from a good place, but without translating thoughts into action the end result is the cardiac Jew – Jews who only do what “feels good” to them but without taking on any actual physical actions (read: mitzvot – commandments meaning taking on physical actions with the intention of fulfilling mitzvot – being Shomer Mitzvot). By only thinking and not actualizing their good intentions; the ‘good wishers’ have not made a deep enough emotion into their souls.

Even though the soul is all spiritual; it was put in a body to gain something.  That something is to perform mitzvot (G-d’s commandments) to build G-d’s world into a better place – and that can only be created through actions. Though having deep understanding and brilliant thoughts will make it all the more worthwhile and meaningful.  Thoughts without action won’t create anything.

There are 6 mitzvot  that can be done through only thinking (by remembering). But all the rest are action orientated (even speaking-saying brachot -is a physical action – ).  By going through all the motions that Mitzvot demand; make deep impressions into the soul, the psyche and that is what being a Jew is. The ‘Jewish practices’ the mitzvot form a Jewish identity.  (And that is why Pesach with all its rituals – connect the Jews. Perhaps that is why it is the last connection a Jew will give up before totally denying his identity.  – but that is another blog to be…)

 

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