“What kind of rabbi are you? Seriously, I just don’t understand what you are about. A rabbi is supposed to adhere to the commandments and make Jews Jewish, but I don’t see you doing that at all. Can you explain yourself?”
This question came through my email this morning, and I am so grateful for it. Let me share my response with you.
Perhaps this will help: For me, Judaism is a means and not an end, and being a rabbi isn’t about making Jews Jewish, but about using Judaism as a tool for making meaning and discovering wisdom.
I am interested only in truth as best as I can discern it, and I fashion Judaism as a way of articulating that truth. I don’t believe in a God who created the universe, chose the Jews, gave us Torah, a Promised Land, and 613 mitzvot (commandments). I believe in a nondual reality evolving toward greater levels of complexity and higher levels of consciousness that ultimately gives rise to beings such as ourselves who can begin to understand this reality, and fashion meaning and purpose that promote justice and compassion for all beings.
The extent to which I can imagine Judaism doing this is the extent to which I feel myself commanded. The extent to which I can’t imagine this, is the extent to which I don’t feel commanded.
Because my loyalty is to truth rather than Judaism, I see myself as spirituality independent, and thus free to explore and draw from the entirety of human wisdom: religious, artistic, scientific, etc. And I want the Judaism I teach to be of value not only to Jews, but to other spiritually independent seekers as well. Just as Jews borrow from Buddhism, Hinduism, Sufism, and Christian mysticism, I want followers of these paths to borrow from Judaism as well.
So I guess I am what my rebbe told me to be: a rabbi to the world.