There are many rabbis I’ve heard talk about how we should make our will conform to the Torah. I’ve heard Christian pastors say similar things about believers. While I see some value in keeping organizations together, I find that this kind of thinking makes it where the Torah isn’t that much different from the world. It doesn’t feel as fresh. If the Torah’s laws are completely my own will, then the Torah is no more meaningful to a law that I don’t have the possibility of breaking. I’ll do my best to explain.
Any converted Jew who says they hate the taste of ham, of REAL bacon, or some fresh shrimp is lying to themselves on some level. Yes, I’m making a very broad statement because there could have been people out there who didn’t like any of these things even before they started keeping kosher. But the point is, once you hit the mikvah or make a covenant with God, this does not turn off your love of things that you no longer than do.
With full confidence and without shame, I can say I wish I could still do these things:
- Eat pork rinds – I loved pork rinds.
- Eat fried shrimp – I ate fried shrimp at every seafood restaurant I would go to.
- Take a bite out of a big fresh ham – FRESH ham, mind you; that low quality ham has always been gross.
- Play gigs on Friday nights – not every Shabbat, of course.
- Shave…when it’s convenient (job interviews, etc), even though I don’t think I ever would. Just the idea that I could would be nice.
- Go out without wearing tzitzit. I get weird looks – especially being in Oklahoma.
- Get some tattoos – I’ve never had a tattoo, but if they were ok according to Torah, I’d probably have quite a few.
Is it wrong for me to still want to do these things? Not at all – as long as I don’t do any of them. That’s actually something I really love about the Torah; it’s so much bigger than me. I loved these things, but I love God more. The Torah can definitely be inconvenient when it comes to my own fleshly desires and that’s why I cherish it; it lets me know that not everything is about me. I don’t try and justify doing these things just because I want to do them and I feel that really makes the Torah so beautiful.
|“Apart from You, we have no king, redeemer, or savior.” -Nishmat Prayer
Just as I enjoy religious studies, I also enjoy political studies and seeing where the two mix together. On a political spectrum, I’m a Libertarian – even though my own personal political philosophy is closer to Anarcho-Captialism, which Wikipedia defines as: “a libertarian political philosophy that advocates the elimination of the state in favor of individual sovereignty in a free market.”
Some say that some themes of Anarchy and Torah observance do not mix well, but Scripture says otherwise. Anarchy and chaos are not synonymous, but rather Anarchy is in governing one’s self without an earthly king. This is a concept that is deeply-rooted in Torah observance and was God’s ideal form of government for His people on earth. Samuel deeply supported an earthly form of Anarchy for Israel, instead urging the people that an earthly king would not be in the best interest of the people of Israel in the long run. He warned against this in 1 Samuel and described to them what having a king would look like:
So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work.He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.” – 1 Samuel 8:4-22
Because this was the ideal form of government to the Creator, I would encourage Israel to seek after a self-governance as found in earthly Anarchy while surrendering to the authority of the Heavenly King.
It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. – Deuteronomy 6:13