It should be clear to any among us, the people of Israel, that our current situation in the world is unique in our history.
There are many great potentials now which did not exist, practically speaking, for the past 2,000 years, and yet at the same
time there are many troubles and great confusion in these last generations, such as was not at any other time in our history.
We find both in the Torah and in the Ne'vee'eem (prophets) that when we return to the Land, we will still have idolatry among
us. What is this idolatry? How can we identify it? How did it continue to exist for so long without being
noticed? How do we return to our L-RD in true and complete national repentence? Not all the answers can be provided
at once, nor can they all be put into effect but at stages as are fitting. This section of the "Path of Abraham" is
to give pointers in our return, and to highlight what appears to me and many like myself to be critical issues in regard to
our perception of Torah and our purpose as a people, which have been ignored for far too long. I believe when these
things begin to be realized by our people on a large scale, and we begin to act in accordance with the knowledge that appears
before us, then we will see great challenges to our people and our purpose become crushed on such a scale as was never seen
Humility - let us realize that if Moses, the greatest of prophets, made mistakes, then certainly even
the greatest among us after his time may have made mistakes as well; all the more so we among the multitudes of our people.
Acceptance - let us realize that we as a people will never be united as is fitting and proper so long
as inconsistent ideas and principles remain unquestioned and great leaders continue to be considered infallibale mouth-pieces
of HaShem [the Almighty]. With stengthening comes soreness; with healing comes pain; and with growing up comes
the rod of a caring Parent's discipline. We must realize and accept that solutions may not always be comfortable
at first. When it becomes apparent to us according to the consistency of a proposal that the same proposal stands true,
we must conform to it, and we not attempt to make it conform to us.
Surrender - upon completing the above, we as a people must surrender our misconceptions, assumptions,
and all our goals and worries to the TRANSCENDENT ONE who formed us as an enduring nation from a people that once was
not. We must cast aside all those things which distract us from heeding His Guidance and which take away from the
unlimited devotion that to Him alone is due.
We as a nation have lost our way during the 2,000 years of our exile, itself due to the arrogance of our hearts.
We must realize that IF our current state is acceptable to the Holy ONE, then there is no reason why Moshiahh has not
already come or why our enemies continue in their vile ways hammering away at our people -- for the Torah makes clear and
the prophets have proclaimed that the result of our walking properly according to His Instruction will be blessing and not
1) ignoring reality
A fundamental of our Torah is that one should acknowledge truth - not run from
2) other gods:
The majority of our people, religious and secular, orthodox and reform, yeshivish
and modern -- have established in their lives, without realizing the harm, other things which they uphold as venerable authorities
worthy of devotion, together with or completely in the place of the Absolute ONE - our Creator. At best, for
those who have avoided the disgust of establishing devotion to something in addition to the True L-RD, we have allowed an
enormous amont of distractions to hold us back from whole-hearted service of our L-RD the Creator - myself among the fallen.
We must each individually return to upholding the "Shema," and not just saying it -- to KNOW that the TRANSCENDENT [Y/H/W/H] is our ONE Venerable Authority
, and to serve Him alone with ALL one's heart, ALL one's soul / life-force, and with ALL one's resources.
2) supplanting the Torah of Mosha ["Law of Moses"]
continually seeking new insights and establishing new innovations, making as
though a great felony out of the violation of relatively recent customs which were not even mentioned by the Geonim,
while making light of, if not completely ignoring, blatent abrogations and violations of Torah-commandments from the mouth
of the Most HIGH and the edicts of the judges He commanded us to heed - whose instructions are preserved in the Talmudic texts.
We must return to upholding His commandments as HE commanded them -- becoming familiar with the 613 everlasting
doing them the best of our ability, and upholding the edicts of the Sages of the Court established under Moshe
(Moses), which are found in the Talmudic texts
and fully codified and organized only in the Mishneh Torah
. We must take care to uphold the commandments of the Torah and the decrees of the only court that was without a doubt
granted authority by the by the Creator, as recorded in Torah, MORE THAN being strict about extra customs -- assuming
such customs are permitted. (It is only permitted to increase in strictness with regard to customs; it is forbidden
to do a custom that is more lenient than what the command allows or than the Sanhedrin
decreed.) It goes without saying that we must put more effort in becoming familiar with the 613 everlasting commandments
and the edicts the Great Court decreed related to those commandments than is put into learning and doing optional customs
- again, on the condition that such customs are of the permitted time to begin with.
4) knowingly promulgating ignorance of fundamentals of the Torah
5) not making it among the top priorities to counter-act the above sicknesses in the body of our people.
Whoever does not do what is in his power to do, in order to prevent the violation
of Torah by others, he is considered responsible for the violations of those he did not try to correct.
The Samuel H. Goldenson Lecture, February 23, 1997
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion,
from his commentary on the tractate of the Mishnah dealing with
Know that this Christian nation, who advocates the messianic claim in
all their various sects,
all of them are idolaters. On all their
various festivals it is forbidden for us to deal with them. And all
restrictions pertaining to idolaters pertain to them. . . . We
deal with them as we would deal with any idolaters on their
 34Commentary on the Misnah: Avodah Zarah 1.3, ed. Y. Kafih
(Jerusalem, 1965), 2:225. See,
also, ibid., 1.4, p. 226; MT: Avodah
Zarah, 9.4 (full text in Kafih's ed. of Commentary on the Mishnah,