3/07/2006

An Eye for an Eye

While commenting at another site, I began to think about some of the beliefs that exist is Judaism. It came timely. It's natural to have doubts about decisions and for the past couple of days I've really had a some doubts about my decision to convert to Judaism. The dietary laws will be hard. I mean no more pizza or chili cheese dogs! But the concept behind the dietary laws is beautiful. It serves to make you mindful of everything you eat and how it is a gift from G-d. It also serves as a reminder of how we are to treat animals. For meat to become acceptable, the animal must be killed in the most humane way possible. The animal must not suffer any distress and the killing must be done swiftly and with one cutting motion to insure the animal does not suffer.

If animals are to be treated with this kindness and mercy, how are other humans to be treated? The quote an eye for an eye is used a lot to demand vengeance. But what is the meaning behind those words? If you just read them out of the Tanakh(Bible), you would think it meant that if someone made you lose your sight, you had the right to poke him in the eye and make him lose his his sight. But is this really the meaning?

Not according to what I've been learning. Along with the Torah, the Nevi'im(prophets), and the Kethuvim(other writings), there is the oral tradition to follow. This oral tradition has become the Talmud and it serves as a guide.

An eye for an eye does not mean physical acts of vengeance. It does mean that someone who has injured another must pay compensation for that injury. It's a system of justice that was implemented over 3,500 years ago and holds true today.

The more I learn about my chosen religion, the more I am awed about the way of life it involves. For it screams out for freedom of all. It screams out for justice for all.

I must admit that I was a little perplexed why theology wasn't one of the first things the rabbi had me read. But when it comes down to it, Judaism isn't about theology. It's about using daily actions to sanctify your life and those around you.

And see this is where the doubts creep in. How I am going to be able to do this? As with everything, it's a matter of one step at a time. Slowly incorporate what an eye for an eye teaches. Then move on to the next.

7 Comments:

Blogger Emanuel Ben-Zion said...

Chilli cheese dogs?!? You americans eat the most strange things.

It's hard in the beginning, and even if you don't understand or accept some laws, it's ok, you will not loose your Jewishness. Many Jews I know eat pork, and some don't eat kosher meat because the animal is killed anyway.

My advice to you is: don't make the same errors that many converters do. They think that they have to prove to the rest of us that they are religious by doing everything by the book. It's ok, you don't have to do everything. If you don't believe it don't force your body and your mind into it.

3:21 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

emanuel,

Sound advice! I realize that I'm trying to change things much to fast. So I'm going to concentrate on just a few things at a time.

Oh. and what's so weird about an hot dog covered with chili, melted cheese, and onions? :)

3:31 PM  
Blogger Emanuel Ben-Zion said...

My stomach shouted when I read your last phrase. Too much bad food for the heart. But I have to say, I have a little problem with chocolate.

4:21 PM  
Blogger MissingLink said...

The good thing about most religions - they are open to interpretation.
Above all they do not try to force the Infidels to convert or else.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

emanuel,

I counter it with exercise. My downfall is potato chips with hot sauce.

felis,

What I'm learning about Judaism is that it can allow for numerous interpretations. Arguements and discussions abound.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

As the old joke goes. if you ask three Jews for an opinion, you'll get five answers.

;o)>

8:38 AM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

mark,

Are you sure it isn't three Jews with six different answers? :o)>

2:09 PM  

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