Tuesday, October 13, 2009
[Jews reciting Shema]
Every morning and every evening, every Orthodox Jew recites the verse “Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is One” (Deut. 6:4). The Talmud states that reading this verse constitutes “accepting upon himself the yoke of the kingdom of Heaven". This means that one is willing to do anything that God asks of him without hesitation.
The Binding of Isaac (Genesis 22) is one of the great spiritual triumphs of all time. Abraham is commanded to offer his beloved son Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham obeys without question or hesitation. God then declares (verse 12) “now I know that thou art a God-fearing man”. God does not praise people too often. The Binding was an epic accomplishment in human history which we must all attempt to emulate.
Pirkei Avos 4:1 states “Who is wise? He who learns from all people”. The discipline and sacrifice exemplified by elite military organizations such as the United States Marines can be a model of the devotion we must have to God.
Alfred Tennyson famously wrote in The Charge Of The Light Brigade “Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do & die” .
I personally have found that making vows can be a very powerful tool. Each week I can read a list of vows along the lines of:
The following fast days will be obligatory only if I definitely and knowingly require myself to observe them, and I am aware that I am required to observe them an hour after having fulfilled the conditions needed to require the fast.
I hereby accept upon myself that if later this week or next week I knowingly unblock any webpage from ContentProtect software I will be required to fast 1 day during this month of --------- or next month of -----------.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 10:45 AM