The Eleventh Commandment: Thou Shalt Never Cease to Journey

Judaism is about forging a relationship with God and this relationship demands continuous striving of the part of the Jew. This means being on a constant journey towards spiritual growth. Sadly many Jews today apply a “destination” metric meaning they measure Jewish commitment in terms of what level of religious observance a Jew maintains. This results in differentiating between Jews who observe more and Jews who observe less.

I don’t think this is a very helpful or useful measure of Jewish commitment. I prefer a “journey” metric in which Jewish commitment is measured in terms of the extent of one’s journey. In this measure what matters is not the quantity of one’s observance but rather the distance travelled in one’s personal quest for greater observance.

One can be a fully Sabbath observant Jew and still not be on a Jewish journey if it is nothing more than a habitual lifestyle inherited from one’s Sabbath observant parents. On the other hand one might only observe one aspect of the Sabbath such as making Kiddush on Friday night but that Jew is on a journey if it involves a personal struggle and commitment.  The point is not how advanced you are on the journey but whether you keep moving. A Jew that feels he has arrived at his spiritual destination ranks lower in this metric than the Jew who is struggling to take her first spiritual steps.

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