Tuesday, March 4, 2008

On Religious Fanatacism

The article following this note is from Jihad Watch. It talks about how religious fanatacism applied with brutality for ulterior motives is turning a new generation of Iraqi's against their religion. In an earlier article posted on Magdeburger Chossid, the story was told of warlords in one Iraqi neighborhood banning falafel because it did not exist in the time of Muhammad.
It is common under dictatorships for the government to level charges of religious infractions as a pretext for expropriating someone's propery. I went to high school with an Ethiopian whose family was denounced falsely to the Emperor. They lost all their property and had to flee for their lives. Similar reports have come out of Iran, and once were heard in the communist world as well.
Such behavior cuts across religious and ideological boundaries.
There is a spiritual hunger today as it says in the words of the prophet Amos (8 11) Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord G-D, "When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of G-d."
It is widely believed and it is the hope of the Jewish People that this hunger will preceed the coming of Moshiach, or the Messiah.
If a zeal for religious observance draws others close to Torah, then that is good. But if religious zeal of some drives others away from the practice of their faith, then it needs to be reexamined.
A chassidic friend of mine has attended most of my family simchas. (joyous events). I only found out by accident that he does not listen to music because he is mourning the destruction of our holy temple, the Bet Ha Mikdash. I have always respected his stringencies, switching the radio to talk when giving him a ride. He has never disparaged my tapestry of halachic leniencies that covers my far flung musical tastes. Although he most likely does not listen to Lipa Shmeltzer he would probably consider it an improvement for me to listen more often to such music.
I look to my friend ,who I'll call Yitzhak as a role model in bringing joy and strength to others. I hope that the virus of religious fanaticism or its own rather than G-d's sake will not infect our community. Now in honour of my friend Yitzhak, I think I'll listen to some Lipa Shmeltzer. I'm sure that for me, he would approve of it.
Copyright 2008 Magdeburger Joe

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