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So Jewish mamas, do you think about death much? - Page 2

post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 
That's really interesting christianmom - interesting how your Jewish upbringing influences the way you view Chrisitianity and what it means to be "born again". For me it was different. It was so *comfortable* to pray a prayer and be assured that my life has a definate purpose, there is a greater plan for my life, and when I die, I will go on to live with God and my believing family in a beautiful city in the sky. It was so easy to be happy and optimistic when I had this assurance - blessed assurance. This Jewish focus on the here and now is so difficult for me. The here and now is hard; it is a struggle - it's tears; it's pain. I guess my knowledge of Judaism isn't vast enough yet to give me the asssurances I used to have. I feel like I have the rug pulled out from under me. We left Christianity, because we disagree with the pagan influences in the religion, as well as many doctrinal issues (we don't believe Jesus is Hashem). And yet we are just baby Jews and don't have the maturity we felt we had as Christians. But I understand what you mean about "enjoyment of the Lord in my life right now." I'm barely hanging on to that by my fingernails. I don't see any reason why Jews can't enjoy a personal relationship with Hashem, and in fact I know many do. But in a Reform synagogue you really have to keep your eyes peeled for those folks...
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2bluefish View Post
That's really interesting christianmom - interesting how your Jewish upbringing influences the way you view Chrisitianity and what it means to be "born again". For me it was different. It was so *comfortable* to pray a prayer and be assured that my life has a definate purpose, there is a greater plan for my life, and when I die, I will go on to live with God and my believing family in a beautiful city in the sky. It was so easy to be happy and optimistic when I had this assurance - blessed assurance. This Jewish focus on the here and now is so difficult for me. The here and now is hard; it is a struggle - it's tears; it's pain. I guess my knowledge of Judaism isn't vast enough yet to give me the asssurances I used to have. I feel like I have the rug pulled out from under me. We left Christianity, because we disagree with the pagan influences in the religion, as well as many doctrinal issues (we don't believe Jesus is Hashem). And yet we are just baby Jews and don't have the maturity we felt we had as Christians. But I understand what you mean about "enjoyment of the Lord in my life right now." I'm barely hanging on to that by my fingernails. I don't see any reason why Jews can't enjoy a personal relationship with Hashem, and in fact I know many do. But in a Reform synagogue you really have to keep your eyes peeled for those folks...
I am sorry that you are having a tough time. I guess I can see how it might be comforting to believe that even though life sucks, we will have a wonderful reward after we die. But, to me that is still gambling on an unknown future and does not help anything right now. When I was 18, my mother died of cancer. I decided that life was uncertain, you never knew when you might die, so I should party and have fun while I could. That was not the right answer.
The answer is enjoying the Lord as our peace in all situations.
Some of my favorite Bible verses are:
Quote:
Philippians 4:6 In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every man's understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
I like those verses because they do not say to let your requests be made known to God and He will give you what you ask for, but that He will give you His peace. And that is my experience. Before I was born again and had Christ living in me, I did not know or enjoy the Lord or have any peace from Him. Now I do. Now, I can turn my heart to Him in prayer and no matter what the situation is, I can enjoy Him as my peace.
I am not saying that Jews cannot have a personal relationship with the Lord - just that I did not, nor did I know any who did.
I also disagree with the pagan and other influences in Christianity and don't celebrate Christmas or Easter and I think even the Christian beliefs about life after death are influenced by pagan and Egyptian and other beliefs as well.
As far as Jesus being God - I really cannot explain how God is triune (three/one), I just know from my experience of Him that He is. Before, I was not even sure if God existed or not, but when I prayed to Him as Jesus, He came into me as my life and He now lives in me and I know Him and experience Him and enjoy Him and have Him with me always and that is so wonderful that I don't need to try to understand the "how" part of it.
There is a greater plan for your life, and it is for now, not after you die, and I do pray that you will come to enjoy the Lord as your life and peace.
post #23 of 29
Thread Starter 
A dear friend of ours is an Orthodox rabbi in Jerusalem. When you speak with him, you get this most amazing feeling of peace. You can see in his face that he carries burdens and yet... peace. I haven't yet grasped that. When I feel joy, I feel God is there. When I feel fear or sadness, I feel so alone. There have been just a few moments in my life when in the midst of difficulty I felt God's love and that was pure joy. I think prayer is the key to that. I've never been good at praying. I think "God is just going to do whatever he wants, so why bother." But you're right - the point isn't to get what you want. Prayer always gives me peace. Always. And that begs the question - if I know that prayer bring peace, and I don't do it, how badly do I really want peace? Perhaps sometimes I'm just prideful and want to be *right* more than I want to feel at peace.

Thanks for sharing; very helpful...
post #24 of 29
Everyone loses sight of what they really want from time to time; It's part of the human condition. We need reminders around us, and this is where having a religious home comes into play. It's harder to forget to, say, study Torah every day if yours is in a place of honor in your home, where you can't miss it when you walk by every day. There are options for every sort of faith, even... it all hinges on the kind of reminders you need, though, and the way you treat them.
post #25 of 29
Thread Starter 
I think that's right eilonwy. I've really been thinking about this. I remembered that "Born Again" moment I had as a Christian and wondered what the significance was. The point was I opened my heart to God and invited him to be personally involved in my life. I no longer think that it is a one moment in time thing. I think we constantly every day, every moment of every day have a choice of whether to be open to Hashem. When I choose to light Shabbat candles, study Torah, open the siddur, I am inviting His participation in my life. I had a talk with dh about working on our level of observance. We have been using our baby's special needs as an excuse for staying in survival mode and not taking time to be in the Torah.
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2bluefish View Post
A dear friend of ours is an Orthodox rabbi in Jerusalem. When you speak with him, you get this most amazing feeling of peace. You can see in his face that he carries burdens and yet... peace. I haven't yet grasped that. When I feel joy, I feel God is there. When I feel fear or sadness, I feel so alone. There have been just a few moments in my life when in the midst of difficulty I felt God's love and that was pure joy. I think prayer is the key to that. I've never been good at praying. I think "God is just going to do whatever he wants, so why bother." But you're right - the point isn't to get what you want. Prayer always gives me peace. Always. And that begs the question - if I know that prayer bring peace, and I don't do it, how badly do I really want peace? Perhaps sometimes I'm just prideful and want to be *right* more than I want to feel at peace.

Thanks for sharing; very helpful...

there is a great book that really helped me start praying from the heart again, and feeling G-d with me at every moment. It is called Garden of Faith. It is translated to English by Rabbi Lazer Brody and written by Rabbi Shalom Arush. I totally have not been keeping up with this thread, but this book was awesome for me in opening up my eyes to always letting G-d in. I found it much easier when I was single and praying desperately for my soulmate and it was easier then to pray fo rthe whole world now I am mostly all abt my kids and my marriage my my my. Anyway if you are looking for something like that this book is awesome.
post #27 of 29
Not to get off topic. But I always thought the pagan influences were later additions to Christianity to make it more understandable to converts. It never really bothered me. Easter, as I understood it, was closer to Passover in terms of relation. The egg and rabbit were traditions borrowed from pagan custom when Christians, a motley crew, were trying to build their own culture and customs.

Also, the Abrahamic religions were heavily influenced by primitive Zoroastrianism, including Judaism. At least, that's what I learned. Why would the influence of other customs or philosophies be a problem? I'm not trying to poke anybody, I just want to know how that would put doubt in someone's mind, the reasoning behind it.
post #28 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the book rec, I will look for it!

As for the pagan influences in Christianity - that's a huge topic, but here's the way I see it - The holdiays and symbols of Christianity have more in common with sun worship than Judaism. Easter has little to nothing to do with Passover in practice. It is celebrated on the day set aside to worship Eoestre, who brings the dawn of the day (hence the "sun rise service"). Some years it occurs a month apart from Passover as its dating has nothing to do with Passover. The reason the pagan traditions are objectionable is that Hashem, the God of the Torah, said there was to be absolutely no worshipping of any god but him - that is the God called by the 4 letter name. Sun worship is idolatry and forbidden. Even when the sun god is surplanted by Jesus. (I would argue that praying to "Jesus" is also idolatry, because Hashem was clear as to what his name is in the Torah.) Not only that, but Hashem was clear what holidays we are to worship - failure to observe Shabbat, Passover, Sukkot, etc. is failure to obey. Christianity steps around that with texts they interpret to mean that Jesus did away with the Torah. But it is clear in the Torah that there is no doing away with the mitzvot - we are not to add too or subtract from Hashem's instructions. That's the situation for me. I believe the Torah is God's instructions to his chosen people. I believe that the teachings of Christianity are at odds with that. As believers in Hashem, the God of Israel, we decided we could best worship Hashem by converting to Judaism, though conversion is not required - some Gentile believers follow B'nai Noach.
post #29 of 29

A bit o/t about Reform

Hi Ladies

Thanks for this amazing thread! I am new to Judaism and am finding this board great, and I love how everyone discusses without any issues! Fantastic!

I am in the position where I was raised with no religion, but had muslim & roman catholic influences (parents,) but nothing was pushed on us at all. I think my Dad just assumed I would be Muslim like him, non-practising really.

Anyhow, I am most interested in Reform Judaism, and I never really had even thought about being Jewish, but the religion really spoke to me. Perhaps it is because of the reasons that many of you take issue with, the whole thing is kind of watered down so to speak.

I think that for people like me there really is a place for such a religion. It is easier and more convincing for me to believe that we don't know what is going to happen when we die, but just try to live the best life we can, and be kind to others, and complete our "mission," and trust that God is good and will take care of things on the other side for us. Rather than to believe that we die, and we know for sure what happens to us, because the Bible says so. I don't think I could ever be convinced in my heart that something is for sure about the afterlife.

Anyhow, just a thought I wanted to share.

Again, Thanks to everyone for the info, and for helping to educate me on topics I am competely ignorant about!
Heidi
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