Every year around this time I begin to look forward to the holiday season here in America: spending Thanksgiving with my family, the familiar sounds of ubiquitous holiday tunes on the radio, the crispness in the air after the fresh snow. As I reflect on recent news, social trends, and the thought of admired leaders in justice and Judaism, the spirit and reality of consumerism gives me pause. Perhaps this feeling of ownership the holiday season brings out in us is not the ideal we, as religious people and thinkers, should strive for.
“We want Moshiach now!” Have you sung it? What did you mean?
The Torah teaches us about the 4 stages of redemption (Shemot 6). Through God’s miraculous interventions in the world (the 10 plagues), there was a mass exodus, perhaps the greatest story of liberation and redemption in human history.
But we have to ask ourselves, is this the historical model for future redemption? Is this the way that we want it to occur? As a miracle of God?
One of the primary areas in daily life where I strive for piety is in my eating choices. Jewish tradition is rich with wisdom pertinent to our greatest moral problems related to food consumption today: hunger, just labor practices, treatment of animals, fair trade, environmental impact, and access to healthy food options. I have become more interested in exploring the degree to which the lifestyles advised in Chassidic thought can assist the moral life choices of one seeking to eat and consume more justly.
Because I got to yoga a little early, the religious guys were still there.
You see, the class before mine is exclusively for “fervently orthodox men.” They’re American, and baalei teshuva and embody this weird combination of a modern, American sensibility with this newfound holiness.
Not that I’m saying they are holy men, only that they are always looking at the world through the lens of Torah, and by that I mean of G-dliness.