With Tolerance, Respect, and Love for Jews of Other Torah Traditions
Principle 11 – Fulfilling the Commandments in a Spirit of Joy, Goodness of Heart, and Humility
Accurate practice of the halakhah must not be done mechanically, without feeling (like a robot), not in a morose or melancholy spirit, and not in arrogance, with an air of superiority. Rather, the Commandments must be practiced in a spirit of joy (1)Deut. 28:47, and in a way that they influence one’s character, so that one fulfills them in a spirit of genuine goodness of heart. (2)Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky in Mevaqshei Torah ch. 5, Kovetz 23
Accordingly, in the above-mentioned tradition, Torah learning and service of HaShem are only possible in the spirit of humility. Honest study of Torah can bring a person to challenge modern Jewish practice. Unless he is careful, one is in danger of looking down on his fellow Jew and holding other Torah scholars in contempt, God forbid. Anyone who joins this tradition just to be different from others, in a spirit of rebellion against the mainstream, or for any purpose other than to serve HaShem properly could bring a curse upon himself and others, rather than a blessing.
Furthermore, there is absolutely no permission given or reason to look down on any traditional Jewish community, be it Ashkenazi, Sephardic, etc, or any general division of the Torah-observant public, be they Ḥaredi (ultra-Orthodox), Dati-Le’umi (religious nationalist), modern Orthodox, Hassidic, etc. When measured against the standard of the authentic halakhah, every group has kept certain laws and principles better than others, and every group has ignored or remained ignorant of what others faithfully keep, or once kept in the past. Every Jewish community has important lessons to teach and many to learn. Understanding this, and becoming one nation under God once again, is the key not only to our ultimate Redemption, but our survival.
In fact, the Sages left us no permission to look down on any civilized human being or anything in HaShem’s Creation, for there is nothing in Creation that does not have its time and place of importance. (3)Mishnah tr. Avoth 4:3 And in the language of the RaMBaM, literally “anyone who enters this world” can become “holy of holies” through Torah (by converting to Judaism). (4)M.T. Hil. Shemitah We-Yovel 13:11(13) Even a gentile can be blessed with Holy Spirit or prophecy. (5)Yalqut Shim`oni, Judges 42 ch. 4, from Midrash Tanḥumah Due to this incredible potential in every human being, we must love all humanity and bring them close to Torah. (6)Mishnah tr. Avoth 1:12
Notes [ + ]
|2.||↑||Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky in Mevaqshei Torah ch. 5, Kovetz 23|
|3.||↑||Mishnah tr. Avoth 4:3|
|4.||↑||M.T. Hil. Shemitah We-Yovel 13:11(13)|
|5.||↑||Yalqut Shim`oni, Judges 42 ch. 4, from Midrash Tanḥumah|
|6.||↑||Mishnah tr. Avoth 1:12|