Read This First

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St. Louis, Missouri
I'm not grumpy all the time, just enough for people to think I am. I'm an almost frum, liberal, conservadox Jew who davens with Chabad. I love movies, music, chinese food, and working out. I'm training for a marathon and trying to quit smoking at the same time. Oh yeah, and on most days, I really hate my job.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tznius, Tzedakah, Ahavat Yisrael, and Moshiach

Maybe you're like me and cry out for Moshiach ben David now, maybe you're like my reform friends who look towards a messianic age. Maybe you're like certain Rabbis that I know, who don't pretend to understand exactly what Moshiach will be or what will bring him, and instead focus on daily observances.

No matter what your outlook on Moshiach, we need to dig deeper in ourselves and our actions.

Tznius is more than skirts and long sleeves. Tzedakah is more than throwing a few coins in a pushkah. And ahavat yisrael is more than just words we say in shulls on Shabbos morning.

Dress with tznius, yes, but remember why we do it (men and women). It's not to reduce us to the most base and crude aspects of our bodies and sexuality, then cover it all up. It's to reflect the modesty in our hearts. Look modest to feel modest to be modest. Maybe we could replace "modest" with righteous. Like I said, it isn't about bickering over skirts being knee or ankle leingth, or if a sheitle is more or less tznius than a snood. It's about having respect for your body that Hashem gave to you, because your body is the clothing of your neshama.

Give Tzedakah yes, but remember that tzedakah means "doing righteousness", not "giving charity. Do your righteousness by helping a friend learn a bit of Torah even though you want to watch your favorite TV show, or maybe you let others give tzedakah in their own way to you. Yes giving financially is great and I fully support (and practice) the giving of money. But It's so much more than that.

I know I'm guilty of not always feeling ahavat yisrael, especially to those that I view as having misguided priorities. But, I try to love them for who they are. Jews who are trying to live a higher calling for the benefit of the world. We must not just say we love all Jews, but we must actually love them. We don't have to like them. We don't have to want to go to shull with them. But we must love them. You got a gay cousin who participates in pride parades wearing pink bike shorts and rollerblades? Love him. You got a nutty uncle who ran off to Israel, moved into Mea Sharim and refuses to talk to you anymore? Love him. Remember that girl that cheated on you, then had the nerve to say that you were to jealous and broke up with you? Yeah, you need to love her too.

Maybe if we all practiced true tznius, honest tzedakah, and deeper ahavat yisrael, then just maybe, we wouldn't have to worry as much about when Moshiach will get here. We could just be ready when he does.

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