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The Nature of a Jewish Soul

Friday, 4 January, 2013 - 3:34 pm

The meeting on Wednesday was not an unusual one. It was with a Jewish man who lives in Victoria, unaffiliated with any congregation, who hasn't practiced Judaism for decades. Something he said really caught my attention.

the alter rebbe.jpg"I'm not religious at all. In fact I didn't even attend High Holiday Services for many years". He paused and then continued ", but I would give up my life to remain Jewish".

"How does this make sense?" I asked. "Do you see this kind of contradicting concept in any other religion?" He smiled. "I know it doesn't, but it is a fact. Perhaps it is because of the tribal nature of our identity"...

This Sunday we will mark 200 hundred years since the passing of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, known as "the Alter Rebbe", the founder of Chabad Chassidism. In his book, which he lays out the foundation of the Chabad philosophy, he writes that even Jews who have very little knowledge of their heritage and don’t practice Judaism at all – will give up their lives to remain Jewish; “this is not logical", he explains, "it's an inherited nature of a Jewish soul that it could not disconnect from its faith". 

I have witnessed it countless time. Approaching the 200 Yhartzeit of Rabbi Schneur Zalman it was heartwarming to see that the words that were written in Eastern Europe in the 17 hundreds, is just as relevant in the 21th century in Victoria, BC.
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