Jew in the suburbs


Shabbos Dinner Debate
November 17, 2008, 3:03 am
Filed under: Books, Hashem, Jewish, Judaism, Shabbat, Shabbos, Torah | Tags: , ,

 

 

 

Dear Blog Readers,

 

Is unity a negative or a positive thing? This question was the subject of debate at Friday night’s Shabbat dinner.  You see, a friend of mine’s son is reading a book in which the characters in the society are all groomed to be the same.  They do not have the luxury of choice.  They are told where to live, what career they must take, and exactly who they should marry (I gather that who they marry in the society of the book is not based on compatibility).  Decisions are given to one person to make and the memory of the whole community is held by this person, the community calls a receiver.  The receiver holds all the memories of the community and when the receiver can no longer do the job, another is trained.  If a person cannot handle the sameness of the community, that person is kicked out.  I believe that the point the author of this book is making is that unity is bad and individuality is good.

 

I don’t think the answer is that simple.  Judaism teaches us that the house of Yisrael   should be unified; it teaches us that the actions of one Jew affect the entire House of Yisrael   and yet we all have differences.  Differences in interests, differences in politics, differences in taste, and differences in the kind of person we choose for a mate. 

 

During the debate, at the dinner table, my friend told a story about an Orthodox woman with her five children in a store, the woman was looking at some items in an isle, her children were nearby, a man in seeing them shouted at her something like “all of you Jews”.  Yes, this man is an anti-Semite; he is an anti-Semite who sees us Jews all as one people.  The bottom line is that every one of us is an individual blessed with certain talents and different obstacles to contend with.  We are all individuals; our individuality is something to be proud of.  We are also all family and that unity should be acknowledged, respected and celebrated just as much as our individuality.  When I go into the workplace, or in another public arena, I am very much aware that I am a representative of the Jewish people.  I am a Bas Yisrael   and I need to try to behave correctly at all times.  My behavior, I realize has an affect on the way others in the world perceive other Jews.  I want to live Kiddush Hashem, for the sanctification of G-d’s name.  I don’t want any of my actions to reflect badly on the Jewish people as a whole. I would love to hear what you have to say. What do you think?  Is unity a bad thing, is individuality a bad thing or are both unity and individuality good in moderation

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