Part 2/2 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

by Twerski, Rabbi Dr. Avraham (See all authors)

Interestingly, after reading this article by Rabbi Twerski, I read a post by "Momo" on the forum, where he discusses Duvid Chaim's 12-Step phone conference and writes:

"Duvid Chaim often speaks about our need to be more spiritual and not just act religious".

And then "Momo" goes on to quote from an article in today's Jerusalem Post written by a contemporary religious writer, whose ideas - although critical - are surprisingly similar in nature to what Rabbi Twerski wrote above:

Orthodox Judaism has reached a moment of truth. Many people no longer believe that Jewish learning and observance make you a better person. They no longer believe there is any correlation between keeping Shabbat and keeping honest, between wearing tzitzit and avoiding adultery, or between lighting Shabbat candles and seeing the light of God's grace in every human being.

And we Orthodox have no one but ourselves to blame. We are often "religious" without being spiritual, prayerful without being humble and ritually precise without displaying the same punctiliousness in business.

I am a passionately Orthodox Jew; not even the threat of death will come between me and the God of Israel. But Orthodoxy without morality and basic humanity is a religion without God. It is cold, harsh, an abomination.

The notion that Orthodox Jews are no more moral than anyone else could prove to be the single most catastrophic event to ever befall religious observance. Simply put, if learning and honoring God's will doesn't make us better people, then most (in the coming generations) will choose to discard Judaism as an empty relic of a superstitious past...

We the Orthodox have it in our power to restore the true light and love of Judaism by demonstrating the power of our faith to shape outstanding ethics and inspire righteous action. Indeed, most Orthodox Jews live lives of exemplary honesty, hospitality and communal devotion. But now is the time for that truth to shine. Now is the time to demonstrate that resting on the Sabbath and studying Torah actually do make people less greedy and more noble.

Our children must be taught not only the rituals that will make them good Jews, but the underlying values that will make them good people. Children in yeshiva should learn not only the correct blessing before eating an apple, but that the purpose of all such blessings is to instill gratitude. When our sons don yarmulkes, let us remind them that it's not only a symbol of identity but a reminder of constant supervision. God is watching us at all times, even when other humans are not. When our daughters light Shabbat candles let us teach them that the purpose is not only to continue the tradition of Sarah but to illuminate the dark places of the spirit.

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