Parshas Behar: Do secular Jews have any true excuses as to why they don't keep the Torah? - Orthodox Conversion Paste your Google Webmaster Tools verification code here

Parshas Behar: Do secular Jews have any true excuses as to why they don’t keep the Torah?

“Do not lend with interest of him (your brother i.e. a Jew) or increase, but fear your G-d that your brother may live with you” (Leviticus 25:36).

The Torah tells us that a Jew is not allowed to lend money to a fellow Jew and charge them interest.  This would seem to mean as long as he “is acting as a brother with you”. When he acts as a brother by keeping Torah and mitzvos this would apply but if he has strayed from the Torah and does not keep it then it would not apply. What if this Jew by no fault of their own were never taught about Torah and mitzvos, does this apply to them?

Most of the Jews today that do not practice or keep the laws of the Torah have never been properly educated in its ways. If they do not keep very many of the laws, the will still be liable but just not in a severe way. They will be punished as if they had done this transgressions by accident and not on purpose even though this is really a rebellion against G-d!

It is truly sad that many of these Jews, as well being as they may be, have never tasted the sweet taste of Torah and all it has to offer. They seemingly reject it based on its “antiquated laws” and primitive beliefs. After all, many of these Jews are highly educated in the secular world and can’t fathom what Judaism would have to offer. “Do people really believe that we are going to go back to animal sacrifices?” many have asked me. Do the laws of kashrus still apply today when there is no problem of trichinosis?

Although legitimate questions at the outset, the concepts are not often researched and it is very easy to throw these questions out there so they can exempt themselves from any type of religious observance. As another person told me, ‘if you can’t explain to me logically why we are not allowed to wear a mixture of wool and linen, then why do I have to keep it?” My answer was very simple. If I came up with a good witty answer that would satisfy their question would they in fact keep this mitzvah?

The questions in Judaism have not changed all that much in the last two thousand years. They are legitimate questions if they are really searching for answers. The sad reality is that they already have an agenda and already know the answer so it is impossible to satisfy their question when in the end you are only answering an answer. That is why in the Haggadah of Passover the evil son, who even though asks a similar question as the wise son, we don’t answer him and blunt his teeth. What is the explanation for this?

Someone who is copping an attitude and throws out a “question” when it is really an answer, is not looking for an answer to this question. The question is really an answer and therefore cannot be answered. This is why the wicked son’s teeth are blunted as Rav Chaim Brisker z”l answered the wayward student who left the yeshiva and went far away from Judaism.

The former student told Rav Chaim that he had questions and those questions weren’t answered. Rav Chaim asked him when he had those questions, when he was in yeshiva or when he left. The student answered when he left. Rav Chaim answered that those “questions” he had were not questions but really answers and it is impossible to answer an answer with a set agenda attached to it.

Many people want to justify their lifestyle as to why they are far from Torah and mitzvos based on these “questions”. The reality is after they have to give an accounting to G-d after they die, they will see quite clearly what they have done. It is unfortunate that desire and honor they search for in the secular world fulfills them to lead productive lives. The truth is many of these people are unhappy and miserable because they don’t have meaning in their lives. They continue doing many of the things they did when they were younger and never truly develop and grow up.

We are living in very interesting times and there are many signs that the messiah is right around the corner. May we all wake up and heed the call to properly return to Hashem and reach our true potential.

Shabbat Shalom

About the Author RabbiChaimCoffman