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Imagine... A World

Friday, 11 November, 2011 - 12:04 am

In John Lennon’s famous song, he calls on us to “Imagine” an ideal world. With all due respect to the great songwriter, I would rather not imagine a world without religion or Heaven, where we all live for “Today.” Instead I would like to offer an alternative “Imagine.”

Imagine a world without child abuse or molestation.
Imagine a world without sexual harassment or rape.
Imagine a world without greed and exploitation of others.
Imagine a world without cheating and stealing.
Imagine a world without cruelty and disregard for another of G-d’s creatures.

These five passages address societal ills that one encounters when opening any newspaper or news-site these days. Yet, this “Imagine” is not out of reach. The ideal world described is the world of the Torah.

Firstly, each of those problems is precluded by the observance of Halacha. Torah observance can, in some instances, help a person avoid even the potential for some of the issues listed. Furthermore, the very underlying philosophy of Torah renders a society that is free of these terrible conditions. Though there are many layers of significance to each passage and Mitzvah in the Torah, at its most basic level, The Torah and its Mitzvot are supposed to make one a “mensch.” Our sages teach that the Mitzvot were given as tools with which to refine ourselves. A world whose inhabitants live according to the ideals of Torah is free of all of the aforementioned societal ills.

So I hear the argument, “but what about the “religious Jew” who (pick one) molests a child, cheats, steals, exploits, harasses, disrespects, etc.”? And the obvious reply is that we should not judge a system based on the individuals who do not follow all of its rules. A religious Jew is not defined solely by ritual observance, dress code or communal affiliation, but rather by the entire body of the Torah and its Mitzvot. This includes our duties to G-d and our duties to our fellow man. I would argue that an individual that truly strives to live the Torah ideal, would inevitably be a “mensch” that is admired by all.

Imagine a world where all people are viewed as being created in G-d’s image.
Imagine a world where the boundaries of modesty and morality are respected.
Imagine a world where all things would be regarded as the handiwork of G-d
Imagine a world in which our G-d given obligation dictates the way we live.
Imagine a world in which all people strive to be more G-dly and less selfish.

Stop imagining and start doing… Begin with your little corner of the world and together we can turn this imagined dream into a reality.

Chabad’s raffle drawing for 10K and additional great prizes is only a few days away on Tues., Nov. 15. Seize the opportunity to participate and support our important work in the community. To purchase a ticket or for more info, go to www.chabadneworleans.com/raffle.

Mazel Tov to Rabbi Yochanan and Sarah Rivkin upon the birth of their son.

Mazel Tov to Allegra Marino and Arthur Shmulevsky upon their upcoming marriage.

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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