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Posted on January 15, 2003 By Rabbi Yaakov Feldman | Series: | Level:

Though humankind has been clustered into various root groups for many generations now, as we said, we learn here that anyone can still and all change his or her root group. Thus anyone can become an “instant descendant” of Abraham (and a Jew) at will.

We see then that becoming a Jew comes down to leaving one’s original people and root group, and attaching onto the Jewish people. Hence it doesn’t involve merely vowing to do this and that rather than that and this. It comes down to an utter transformation and transference from one self with one background to a wholly other self with another background. It’s more than merely changing one’s religion; it’s changing one’s very family.

Like any family, the family of Jewish-kind has its own ways, perspectives, values, and inclinations. But rather than being a series of phenomena molded by climate and circumstance, Jewish ways, values, and the like are rooted in Abraham’s dreams for and directives to his family. And those dreams and perspectives were themselves rooted in one thing alone: drawing close to G-d. That all touches upon the mitzvah system. As a consequence, anyone who’d want to become a member of the “family” would have to find his or her place in the “family system” — in the mitzvah system.

Now, there was a point in time when other nations were offered the mitzvah system as a lifestyle, but they refused. It was when Abraham’s by-then 600,000 descendants became a nation unto itself, left Egypt in the great rush and whirlwind known as The Exodus, experienced the revelation of G-d Himself when He granted us His holy Torah, and attained a high level of spiritual and national maturity that could be likened to an offshoot truly and finally blossoming.

Had those other nations accepted the Torah as Abraham’s descendants had, the y’d also have ascended spiritually. But they decided not to. So the gate through which they too could have passed to be “chosen” was closed off to them as a whole, though it was left open to those among them who’d join Abraham’s descendants.

This series is dedicated to the memory of Yitzchak Hehrsh ben Daniel, and Sarah Rivka bas Yaakov Dovid.

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