The Inner Jew and the Real You
We find ourselves in unusual circumstances. The most obvious expressions
of our Judaism are out of reach. It is not an outside enemy that is
preventing us from praying with a congregation, from learning Torah in a
sanctuary that roars with the sound of God’s children enjoying His word,
and from so many activities that require a gathering of Jews. The Holy
One sent a virus that forces us to stay home; “And you shall not go out
from the doors of your houses until the morning” (Exodus 12:22). We may
be home alone, we may be blessed with a spouse, we may be blessed with
children, we may be blessed with parents and siblings, but we are home.
And at home we come face to face with ourselves. This is the time to
find the inner Jew, build that inner Jew and infuse that Jew with
strength and light.
The inner Jew is secure with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The
inner Jew is a pillar of tranquility that is the outer expression of our
trust in God. The inner Jew exudes compassion and sensitivity to the
people he/she is confined with and to the people he/she can reach by phone.
Because inside that Jew you will find a well-spring that is sourced in
Abraham, our common father. The inner Jew doesn’t take up space, not
physical space and not emotional space that other members of his/her
family can use. He/she is far from self-centerdness, not wanting to
touch that which others can benefit from. The heart of Isaac, our
ancestor is sensitive to the justice that is needed to keep a family or
an individual on an even keel. This same heart prays, not because it is
the “thing to do” but because his/heart yearns for the submission to God
that is inherent in praying. The inner Jew needs truth to live, honesty
with him/herself, a connection to God’s truth and a striving toward
holiness and Godliness as is appropriate for one who carries the name
“Israel,” our ancestor who prevailed over the Angel of Falsehood.
And the inner Jew finds leadership in the heart of David, the sweet
singer of Israel. The inner Jew praises God, cries out to God, and
yearns to God from the heart, from the inside of the heart.
The Sabbath of the inner Jew is a time of light and connection with the reality of our own souls.
If you are a Gentile reading this article and you are not a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, you are called by your Creator to be Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for yourself and your family. You are created in the image of God and His breath was breathed into your nostrils. You too can participate in this blessing and this light. Use this time to find the read you, that Godly soul inside of you that reflects His goodness and His truth. You will yet illuminate your world as did Abraham before you.
May we all merit to find our inner selves and make that Godly soul
shine until the dawn of the true redemption.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal
I’m not sure I know my inner jew, but may we all be okay and have a peaceful shabbat.
Shabbat shalom u’mevorach.
So true. Many people are now living in isolation with family members who don’t allow them to have emotional boundaries. And while it’s hard not to take too much from the shelves, we need to actively be transforming our communities to share and take only our share. The only cure for hoarding is to embody the opposite of selfishness.
Someone gave us a few rolls of toilet paper, which gave me the courage to offer someone our spare bottle of oil. This kindness can spread and it dissolves the panic.
As climate warming brings more periods of drought, flood, and storms across the globe, we may see real food shortages rather than artificial ones. This is a century in which we need to find both old and new ways of expressing community and generosity. And as hard as the current isolation and scarcity is, it’s a very clear opportunity for developing deeper interpersonal compassion, community ties, and emotional stability.
It’s really beautiful to see the economy and daily life shutting down to drag out this crisis as long as possible, to protect those who may need oxygen support. That’s what our society should be like. So painful though for those most affected, and it’s hard to think about the impact on communities with less resources.