Muffti saw the following on Haaretz’s website. Apparently, children of interfaith marriages seem to largely identify with Judaism. The results seem sort of ambiguous to Muffti, though he’s not sure what he expected to see. Here’s an excerpt:

Although only 30 percent of the respondents considered themselves “Jewish” by religion, almost 70 percent affirmed that “being Jewish” is either “somewhat” or “very” important to them, and 78 percent expressed a desire to “transmit a Jewish ethnic identity to their children.” More than half said they had attended a Jewish cultural event, such as a film festival, art show or book fair, in the past two years.

Sad to say, on the Jewish cultural event front, these people are outdoing Muffti.

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grandmuffti

60 Comments

  • So in other words, they only consider themselves Jewish when it comes to Hanukah or going on birthright, right……….
    “More than half said they had attended a Jewish cultural event, such as a film festival.”… thats too funny! A film Festival!! hahahaha

  • Muffti, methinks your involvement in this website, in Jewish discourse among Jews of many perspectives and denominations, is better than attending a Jewish film festival.

    Glad Ha’aretz finally picked up this story. We had it here last week.

  • hehehe…yeah, as if Muffti is gonna read THAT crappy blog to see if they’ve already put it up…

  • Before we begin arguing about whether bagels and Jewish humor constitute Judaism, I’d like to ask a different question. How realistic is it for anyone to think that they can transmit a cultural identity to children nowadays that differs from the mainstream American culture? I mean, you find kids from Amsterdam to Sri Lanka dressing in hip hop fashion and quoting American movies. Given the hegemony of American culture, isn’t it folly to think that by passing down a fondness for lox and mah johng (?!), one can successfully transmit a Jewish identity? I am not trying to argue whether or not transmitting a Jewish identity is important. I would like to ascertain what exactly people think it would take to transmit such an identity beyong one generation. Shared foods? Strong beliefs? How about a sense of distinct communal purpose? Thoughts?

  • Well there is allways the Charadi method, whether or not people agree with it, you have to admit it works.

    Anyway that aside, the means for instilling Jewish Identaty in later generations is to first instill it firmly in yourself (this isn’t a directed statment at anyone) then with it raydiating in you, your children will see it’s importance and find it in themselves and the process will continue. The real problem is in the first step, instilling Jewish Identity as you’ve put it, is a lot more then eating bagels and lox. (A very modern development taken from a different culture) Rather Jewish Identity needs to be firmly linked to our collected history and development. We need to understand who we are, and where we’ve been, and appretiate our unique role in the world. Regardless upon observance of Mitzvot, one needs to see that there is something unique and special to being a Jew that goes beyond shared culture and experiance(Because largely we don’t share one = Ashkinaz Sefard ect..) It’s something intangible, and it connects us all. When you truly believe in the fact that there is an inate value simply in being Jewish, that will transmit almost automaticly to your children, and through them to subsequent generations.

    Admitedly, traditional Judaism provides a vehical for this. Through study of Torah, we are constantly bombarded with “evidence” of our specialness as a people. I’m not trying to say that it’s the only way (Because who am I to know such things) But I will say it’s a good way.

    I can see that it would at the very least be somewhat more difficult outside the traditional spectrum. In a sociaty that values relitivism and seeing every person as simply human and nothing more, then there is no qualitative or quantitative reason why Jews should be seen as special, or even a seprate entity, the trasmition of Jewish Identity seems almost a mute point. Something that is done out of historical curiosity, and might even be counterproductive on the path to ultimate human equality and coexhistance. (At least that’s how Marx would probably argue.)

    So the question to ask ourselves is what makes the trasmition of Jewish Identity important in the first place, and where does that leave us.

  • Most of you probably know that midrash (was it Rashi? I don’t remember…) about the three-tiered reason the Jews survived Egypt without assimilating: they didn’t change the way they dressed, they kept using Hebrew and didn’t change their names, and they kept Shabbat. (If I’m misremembering this, let me know…) I obviously don’t always hold by the “dress thing,” but I definitely think that’s something to build from in terms of a mission statement for transmitting Jewish identity…

  • in egypt, the language the jews used was aramaic, not hebrew, in daily life.

    prolly more important was the issue of foodstuffs (pigs were standard egyptian fare, for example) and dress plus keeping shabbat.

  • Uh, the language was Hebrew, Aramaic comes MUCH later.

    And this is helpful from Ask Moses regarding the quote in the MIdrash about what we did or din’t do in Egypt:
    “Well, first of all, it’s important to note what the Midrash says on the subject: four things kept the Jews from losing their identity in ancient Egypt. These were: Hebrew names, language (they only spoke Hebrew among themselves), kindness and support towards each other… and distinctive clothing (Shmot Rabbah 1:33 and Tannah D’vei Eliyahu Rabbah). ”

    I have also seen sources for keeping sexual morality while in Egypt, i.e. no incest.

  • 1.5 opinions: seriously, what the heck is with Jews and Mahjong? When I heard they held seniors Mahjong get-togethers at the local JCC I was baffled.

  • 1.5 – the obvious answer is that Judaism is not a “cultural identity”. The “cultural” aspects of Judaism are outgrowths of a religious affiliation.

    Except for Tzizit, there are no “Jewish clothes”. The halacha sets standards for modest dress – but Jews have applied that standard to the choices they make within every culture they’ve lived in.

    Similarly “Jewish” food is the food of the surrounding culture that become “Jewish” when adapted to specifically RELIGIOUS dictates (like cholent/hamin/jahnoon) or associated with RELIGIOUS festivals (hamentaschen/honey cake/latkes/bimuelos).

    A Jew who learns and commits to the religious core of Judaism actually has quite an easy time navigating through alien cultures. It is quite clear in most cases what is or is not acceptable, where the alien society is congruent with Jewish values, and where it diverges.

    The Jews having trouble maintaining “Jewish culture” are the ones who have dumbed Judaism down into little more than ethnic/cultural knicknacks. It’s no wonder their children follow the same path of cultural assimilation that any other immigrant group does.

    No Jewish continuity – or culture – without content.

  • Well there ya go Ben-David. I totally agree with you. So why’d you get all riled up before shabbat??

  • The Muddled One:
    I’m confused. What does Jewish content have to do with turning on a car on Shabbat?
    – – – – – – – – –
    Halacha = Jewish Content.

    Not really an equals sign, since there is other content in addition to Halacha. But Halacha is a prime modality of Jewish content – especially if we are talking about the need to “live” Judaism at more than the film-festival level.

  • So it’s Saturday morning and you’ve decided that a great and restful way to spend the Sabbath would be to take your kids to a nice park a mere 45 minutes drive from your home. You’re skipping shul because you figure that communing with G*d and your fellow Jews is not as important as spending quality time with your kids and you don’t want to waste the whole morning anyway. You have your shabbat picnic prepared and off you go in your car. Realizing you’re a bit low on gas, you stop off at the gas station and fill up. One of your kids says he/she is thirsty so you buy a bottle of apple juice. You get to the park and enjoy a lovely day. Driving back you drive over a pothole and get a flat tire. No problem! You jack up the car, remove the tire and go to the trunk to get the spare. Then you realize you left the spare at home. So you call AAA and they come over and with their assistance you get you, your car and your family back home. You give the AAA attendant a $5 tip, sign her receipt and thus ends an (almost) perfect shabbat.

    Yeah. No problems there at all.

  • Hmmn, ck, perhaps you shouldn’t leave your house at all on Saturday. So, it’s a nice Saturday morning and you’ve decided that it would be great to walk to the park with your kids. En route you get lost and end up in an unfriendly neighhbourhood. Needing directions, you walk into a store, but the kids start acting up and want some water because it’s a very hot day and they are dehydrated. The store keeper ponies up some directions once he sees you are willing to buy something and so you get the kids their candy, water and head for the park.

    Yeah. No problems there at all. So stop walking on Shabbat.

  • grandmuffti, you’re a lovable retard. (how’s the camera btw? Didja charge up the battery? I’m shopping for a replacement and it’s lookin’ good.)

    A halachically observant Jew would be in shul saturday morning. Also should said Jew decide to go to a park, he wouldn’t go too far unless there was a mechitzah eiruv which would allow him to bring water and snacks for the kids. Nor would said Jew be carrying cash on him. Said Jew would do all that he could to minimize the possibility of a sabbath transgression. That being said, well prepared sabbath walks are quite possible and common. These do not involve cash, shopping, internal combustion engines and the possibility of transgression is severely minimized. Just sayin’

  • Thanks. Good points. Muffti was trying to say that one can plan out things a little better to minimize things even in your scenario. Like, you know, not bringing money, checking the gas level and the spare tire…

    Camera is broke. Very broke. bat won’t charge. Dont’ worry about it. Just tell me when you are planning to get down here already.

  • Why does Muffti refer to him/herself as Muffti? Is Muffti a professional baseball player? Then maybe I’d understand. “Muffti’s gotta do what’s right for Muffti.” Or perhaps Muffti learned English from Cookie Monster. “Muffti love cookies!” Either way, it makes Muffti’s arguments seem less…valid.

  • I’m just wondering where I can find a good Jewish film festival around here. I’m intermarried, and it seems only fair that I should get to go to one, too- before my husband converts and we’re just another boring Jewish family walkin’ to shul on Shabbos (while carrying sancks- within the eiruv, GM). Just sayin’.

  • For the record, we do not carry sancks to shul. They do not have reliable supervision and are unsuitable for consumption on Shabbos or anytime. We eat “snacks”.

  • Yes, Muffti, Paul was kidding…your arguments are less valid simply based on facts and logic. 😉 (Smiley added to denote Paul is kidding this time too, though maybe just half-kidding.)

  • Well, Paul, it’s kind like this. One day ck suggested to Muffti that he post/comment on his site. Muffti insisted on having a silly name to relieve himself of the duty. CK insisted and they came up with Muffti. So Muffti insisted that he could post in the 3rd person. CK said fine. So now Muffti is obliged to keep it up.

    And if you think that choice of names makes an argument less valid, you are a total dipshit. But Muffti is sure you are kidding.

  • ck:
    One of the greatest benefits of the Sabbath observer’s walk to the park is that there are far fewer distractions from “being with the kids”.

    There is not even the remotest thought that the destination should be a mall, movie, or other distracting venue.

    There is no money, so no children crying “gimme”. And no parents trying to buy off/distract their kids instead of interacting with them.

    Both parents and children free for one day of the distractions that plague modern family life. And children being taught by example that there are other things in life than the cycle of get-spend-display, and that parental love means more than “gimme”.

    And that being a Jew – or just a well adjusted adult – means not always going along with what “everybody” is doing.

  • Ben David, Granted, but what of taking a hike somewhere together or going to a beach, this is not work is it? This is also a peaceful way to spend the Sabbath.

    I don’t think people in these threads wish to empty the entirety of Judaism, the issues are those minhagim that make no sense anymore.

  • Ok, I feel a need to point something out that people seem to forget. Our cars are powered by internal combustion engines. “Combustion.” As in, “lighting things on fire and burning them.” No one on this blog who owns a car can drive their car without starting and maintaining fire. So, planning a drive really, really well to avoid other Shabbat transgressions won’t help you avoid the most major one involved in automobile transportation.

    You press the pedal, you light the fire.
    You light the fire, you transgress the Torah prohibition.

    Unlike many of our modern inventions, cars do, in fact, directly conflict with Shabbat law even in its pre-rabbinic form.

  • 1.5 Opinions, nobody has forgotten this. The question is how this applies to a law that came up long before there were cars or combustion engines and when lighting a fire meant lighting a fire.

  • Ben David…
    It all sounds good in principle, but I’ve spent a few Shabbos’ with Ortho friends and their kids, and by 3-4 PM, they’re praying for Shabbos to be over so they can stick in a DVD and do all the things you frown upon. I’m not saying this is good, I’m just saying that’s life. I’m also saying that Shabbos can be a royal pain in the ass (in the summer because of the length and in the winter because you have to find an employer who allows you to take a good chunk of Friday off – which of course means you lose a nice chunk of your December vacation…yeah, yeah…I know, we can all work for a JCC/UJA/CJA…ugh). When I was younger, an observant/Orthodox lifestyle seemed like an easy sell. I’m not so convinced anymore.

  • I agree with Shtreimel. I know dozens of Orthodox Jews who are of the general opinion that “Shabbat sucks.” And it’s not because of a defect in their faith.

    Of course, I’m not sure what can halakhically be done about it.

  • Michael,
    Perhaps the difference b/w our posts is that this makes me sad. I have no doubt that part of the problem is a lack of effort i.e. learning, shul/rabbi shopping, etc., on our parts. Either way, the shlock that Aish/Ohr try to sell doesn’t live up to reality. Although my secular friends took their daughter to see Willy Wonka on Sat, and got stuck in traffic jams and movie line ups with other screaming kids so that they could find some peace from their screaming kid at home. Alas, this didn’t sound peaceful at all.

  • what do i have to write a guide to a fun shabbat for all y’all? Geez – Go to shul, have lots of guests over or go to a nice big shabbat lunch, get one or two books to read, play backgammon with your Dad or sisters, and the number one way to make shabbat pass pleasantly?

    Have Brakha cook you awesome food that you only get on shabbat and that will knock you out for a nice post lunch siesta. Shabbat rules fools! Get with the program.

    And Ben-David: why was that comment addressed to me? You’re preachin’ to the choir!

  • CK, y’bastid, y’ever gonna tell Muffti of yer plans?

    Shtremiel, hows the new locale? Good to see you on again.

    And Shabbat is great; even Muffti the atheist can recognize that.

  • TM,

    I still think that the car is a bad case to use when trying to figure out how modern tech and ancient halakha fit together. It is a cut and dry case. Electricity? Fine, we can argue as to whether a spark or current is equivalent to fire. But your car has an actual fire in it. You are feeding it fuel. The gemara in Shabbat goes into detail about how we may not add or remove fuel from a flame on Shabbat, let alone light a flame to begin with. This principle holds even if we make a semi-automatic device to add the fuel. No reasonable person would argue that as long as we build a large pressed steel structure around the flame, then add some rubber wheels and seats, that the lighting of a flame suddenly would become allowable.

    “When lighting a fire meant lighting a fire…”

    There is no question that causing gasoline to burn faster or slower is exactly covered by the early halakha. It’s irrelevant that doing so happens to cause acceleration.

  • Ask most people what their 5 favorite activities are, and almost everybody will list “just hanging out with friends and talking” (or some version of that) very high on the list. You can do that all day on Shabbat. Why complain?

  • Toronto is…

    sickeningly hot, muggy and smog filled. If it weren’t for the lady and friends, I’d be cursing the day I left Vancouver.

  • heheh…yeah, that’s pretty much how Muffti remembers summers there. Muffti will probably be back there for a weekend in August. Would be nice to catch up.

  • TM dude, we’ve had 6 visitors from the United Arab Emirates today. Oh and 1.5 opinions totally schooled ya 😉 btw – I need you to send me that URL again please.

  • Aw, ck, gimme a break. Lighting a fire is lighting a fire and turning a key to get the car started or pushing the gas pedal have absolutely nothing with to with resting from melacha.

    I’ll send the url to the gmail account.

  • TM,

    You are missing the important fact that kindling fire is unique amongst the melachot. While the other avot melacha (primary labors) are derived exegetically from the construction of the mishkan, kindling a flame on Shabbat is directly forbidden in a different Torah verse. The Torah doesn’t say “Rest from melacha…it’ll feel good.” Whereby, the rabbis said: “Man, lighting a fire is so tiring, so let’s include that in resting.” No, the Torah forbids lighting a flame on Shabbat.

    You’re being disingenuous. Matches are newer invention than the internal combustion engine. So, should striking a match on Shabbat not be forbidden as kindling a fire?

  • Um, 1.5, what exactly does that verse say? I mean, exactly? Come now, don’t be disingenuous.

    I ask, because it’s been a long time since I parked my car in my living room.

    Also, if you believe in that verse exactly as it is written, you also believe that Jews who violate it shall be killed (it’s okay, you can distinguish between killing by god or man)?

    I actually understand lighting a fire with a match much more so than the prohibition on driving a car or turning on a light which are indirect causes of creating a fire and have nothing to do with the melachot.

  • TM-
    I suspect that neither you nor I believe that the Torah should be read in a vacuum without the benefit of any oral law. The Torah doesn’t tell us how to circumcise, how to slaughter, etc. We take it for granted that we are not fundamentalists who only read the literal text and that’s that. At no known point in Jewish history was the order not to light a fire in one’s dwelling considered to be limited to the actual house. Even literalists (Karaites, for example) don’t think it means that. Therefore, we have a strong tradition that lighting fire anywhere is forbidden on Shabbat by Torah law. Fine, well what about indirectly? Could I set up a bizarre Rube Goldberg device to drop the ball, raise the hand, tickle the parrot, boil the water, push the sailboat, strike the match, and voila! Fire!? On Friday night, we read the section of the Mishnah that forbids piercing an eggshell, attaching it to a lamp and letting it drip oil into the lamp. There, you aren’t even kindling! You’re simply adding more fuel to an already existing fire. You seem to want to claim that if I can add a large enough, modern enough, complex enough contraption to the kindling or fueling process, that suddenly, I am no longer working in the realm of fire. Ok, Mr. Middle. Imagine yourself in a court being tried for arson. The mean old prosecutor is trying to put you away for torching a competing blog. You muddle up the following defense. “Well, actually sir, I did not torch that blog. I didn’t light it on fire, nor did I add any fuel to it. I did turn a key, which sent an electric signal to a spark plug, which sparked, which lit the fuel I had placed on the blog on fire. And yes, I did press a lever which opened a spout that put more gas onto the flame. But, I never even saw a spark or touched a flame.” Would you buy that argument?

    Electricity? Fine. We can reasonably argue as to whether electricity is the “modern fire.” Whether the use of electricity to heat and cook is equivalent to using flame. But, actual flame? Real life burning fuels? The only way you can get around that prohibition is to take a strictly fundamentalist/literalist position on the Torah verse. And we just don’t do that.

  • Film festivals? Book fairs? Boooooooring.
    I don’t know about y’all, but I’d much rather daven.

    Anyone who thinks a freakin book fair is going to transmit a Jewish identity is reading the wrong books.
    Fer shizzle.

  • 1.5,

    Here’s the problem…

    The minute you stop reading that verse literally, the only way to read it is with the addition of exegesis. Now, don’t you agree that since the exegesis is created by man, there is room for error? In fact, as we’ve discussed elsewehere on Jewlicious, aren’t some rules meant to cover the broadest possible base so as not to cause confusion or a mistaken transgression (I always bring up not eating chicken with cheese, but even a cheeseburger discussion will suffice)?

    I recognize that the Oral Law, in your approach, is the same as Torah MiSinai, but even so you have to acknowledge that many rules and laws that we have are essentially created by men.

    It is my view – my humble and personal view – that the intention behind the verses telling us not to do any melachot on shabbat, and specifically fobidding lighting of fire within our homes, are telling us to not do any labor. The shabbat is a day of rest, emulating the rest of God after he creates the world in the previous six days.

    We know that the task of lighting a fire a few thousand years ago was more challenging than today. Moreover, travel from point to point was more challenging. Today, all it takes for me to light a fire is to flip a switch, press a button or turn a key. Not only is this not laborious, it actually enhances my life. For example, I can enjoy light in a dark room; I can take an elevator to a high floor; I can drive my car to a beautiful god-given beach.

    So if we’re not going to take a verse literally, but figuratively, then why not be true to the ideas of the Torah? The idea behind shabbat was that God rested after a hard six days of labor. We emulate that by not doing work and by differentiating the day from other days. But then, if we are supposed to rest, why take things that could make life more restful and reject them?

    By the same token, if you’re not going to have a literal reading of the verse, why are you being so literal about lighting a fire in a car?

    – Don’t worry, I realize we have an unbridgeable gap between us on this topic, so I don’t really expect that either one of us will convince the other. I do want to point out that this issue is not so cut and dry.

  • Got to agree. I’m more concerned with the spirit of the law. The idea is don’t work. Honor the sabbath and keep it holy. I think we work too hard to find ways around the laws, like the areas that run strings between houses so they aren’t “outside.” Sorry — but that’s just cheating to me.

  • I don’t actually think that it is all that clear in the Torah what the point of Shabbat is. We are told that God “Shavat V’yinafash”–ceased work and rested. Presumably, God needs neither rest nor relaxation at all, what with being God and all. So, if I try to understand Shabbat at this really simple level of emulating God, I get really confused. What does it even mean for God to stop working and rest? Am I supposed to be a deist, and think of a nice watchmaker deity who, after creating the world for 6 days, pressed “start” and went off to watch TV in some other universe? Maybe the literal reading of Shavat would imply that I am supposed to stay in one place, not moving outside of my own home. After all, walking is not restful.

    I do not happen to think that the oral law is the same as the written law. That doesn’t mean that I don’t grant it a high level of authority. Even a strict constructionist with regard to Torah law would admit that we cannot understand many (most?) commandments without some tradition as to what they mean. I was simply arguing that at a very basic ancient level, the fire command was understood differently than you interpret.

    We have to be careful with our “humble and personal views,” as you put it, in determining the purpose of Shabbat. You say that it was telling us not to do any labor. Even back at the time of the exodus, people almost certainly lit flames from existing flames. They weren’t rubbing sticks together frantically. To light a lamp, you carry the lamp to another lit lamp or campfire and hold the wick to the flame. Labor? Hardly.

    It is too easy to just think of Shabbat as the ancient equivalent of the weekend–you don’t have to work and can party or chill out. Sure, it was that, too. But, God doesn’t get tired, and I don’t even know what it would mean for a supreme being to be partying or chilling. So, if we want to emulate God in the whole Shabbat thing, we have to look for an alternative explanation than “don’t go to work and have fun.”

    For six days, God created the universe. Then, He “shavat vayinafash.” Shavat, as mentioned, could be thought of as simply sitting. Nafash is related to “nefesh”–soul. So, God finished creating the universe, and on Shabbat, He sat down therein, giving the universe a soul. So, too, on Shabbat: We stop making and going. We slow our lives down. We infuse a little of the non-physical into our week. It’s not so much about enjoyment as it is about trying to exist on a different plane. Going to a beautiful God-given beach is wonderful. That physical beauty of creation inspires me. But, appreciating the physical beauty of the universe is something we should do all the time. Seeing the beauty of the spiritual aspect of creation is part of Shabbat.

    I am probably not as doctrinaire as you think on such subjects. I do realize that if, after millennia of discussion and understanding and tradition, I decide to reinterpret basic Jewish texts, I am recreating Judaism in my image. I’m allowed to do that, I guess. But, so were the Christians 2000 years ago, and I don’t agree with their conclusions.

  • I agree, for the most part, with 1.5. Did you know you can move furniture in your house, all Shabbos long, and still not violate it? Shabbos is not about working, about labor. It’s about understanding whose world we live in. Shabbos is all about internalizing the idea that it’s G-d’s world, and we just live here. That nothing we do- from tying our shoes, to carrying keys, to serving food, to using a tent- I mean umbrella- is out of G-d’s purview.

    This goes to the prior discussion about Jewish identity. People were saying above how, depending on how much “Jewish identity” you have, it’s easier or harder to keep that identification. To me, the fundamental matter of Jewish existence is, for better or worse, struggle. We struggle with our relationship with G-d (which, since it’s just another commandment, notwithstanding the Rambam, we are more than welcome to believe or not in Him/Her), with our relationship with outside culture, with our religion, and, for this discussion, Shabbos. If the restrictions are important to us, then yeah, sometimes Shabbos sucks. Especially when you want to go to music festivals, or get away for the weekend, or visit friends who live across the city, or have a picnic where there’s no eruv. But it’s part of the struggle. If it were easy, hell, everyone would do it.

  • Charles, the idea is that you’re separating the sacred from the profane. The question is how you can do that; how you create that emotion. If the concept is that we serve god’s needs by following certain restrictions, then we need to understand what those restrictions are and how we arrive at those restrictions. If we are serving our needs with respect to our relationship with god, then there are many ways to separate the sacred from the profane. Why do you think that a person can’t carry shabbat or the feeling that god is in everything around us without following these restrictions?

  • You are forgetting Jews were told to listen to “the judges who are in your day” – the rabbis. We trust so many experts.

    WE don’t separate sacred from profane.

    Our emotions will come as they will. We should not try to cook our emotions right. We should just try to cook our dinners right.

  • TM, you’re probably right that someone can carry around that feeling without submitting to the restrictions. Admittedly, I’m coming from a rabbinic Judaism perspective, so I believe that those restrictions are the method G-d laid out to allow us to come closer to Him/Her. G-d certainly doesn’t need anything from us. If- again, from my narrow, fairly right-wing perspective- this is the way G-d obligates us to follow, then there must be something lacking in the other ways, though they may often fulfill our spiritual and religious needs. I feel G-d around me when I’m with people I love, or reading a book that breaks my heart. But those feelings frankly pale in comparison to vatikin (sunrise davening) at the kotel. There’s nothing wrong with being with family, or appreciating art- there’s just a higher plane when standing at the remaining walls of the Temple.

    And though the separation of kodesh and chol are mentioned in havdalah, I don’t know that I would define them as “sacred” and “profane.” In Judaism, after all, even the profane can be sacred. Drinking kiddush wine, the “double mitzvah”- one could say that Shabbos is the ideal combination of sacred and profane.

  • Sacred and profane is kinda like a fancy sociology term. Kodesh and chol is better. Of course, there is sanctity in everything, and yet Shabbat would seem to be of greater sanctity…

    I do find it interesting, Charles, that you find greater contact with god when you are at the kotel than when you are with family. Do you really mean that? (this is not a criticism)

  • Contact with G-d? In terms of an intense, spiritual connection? Absolutely.
    The feeling I get when I’m with family- unless, obviously, some long-standing feud is being screamed out over charoses, or honey-dipped challah- is one of contentment, happinness. When I take the time to appreciate it, I thank G-d for the opportunity, and the closeness of my extended family. But family also demands attention, whereas at the kotel- which is just an example; the same feeling, less intense, I find at shul, well, sometimes- my attempted connection with G-d is uninterrupted, undiluted, and private.

    Again, I’m not weighing a positive and negative, here; I love both. But if we’re talking spirituality, and closeness with G-d, then kotel it is.

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