A FFB friend emailed me recently because he was very disheartened by the Pew Report and the potential loss of so many thousands of Jews. He wanted to know how I thought Kiruv played into the picture. I told him I thought that Kiruv has been very successful with the 60,000 – 100,000 families that have become observant. In fact many of us who read Beyond BT have been beneficiaries of that success. However I don’t think that our existing mindset will be successful at reaching out to the millions of Jews who are far from Torah and mitzvos. Let me explain why.
The primary role of the Jewish people is to be the spiritual leaders of the world. We’re here to lead the entire world towards connecting the physical world to Hashem. We lead by example. When the world sees clear evidence of the Jewish people’s connection to Hashem, we will assume our primary role as spiritual leaders.
However the vast majority of Jewish people have little spiritual connection to Hashem. How can we lead the world, if we as a people are not spiritually connected. It seems clear that Jews that are spiritually connected need to lead in connecting the Jews as a nation to Hashem. The problem is that even Jews who are regularly observing mitzvos are not achieving high levels of connection.
Let’s look at ourselves. We keep Shabbos, daven, learn, say 100 brachos a day, and observe many mitzvos, but can we honestly say that we and our peers are really connected. That fact becomes clear when you talk to a truly connected person. We’re doing the mitzvos, we’re fully observant, but we’re not achieving great results. It’s scary, but it’s true.
So let’s stop blaming this group, or these community deficiencies, or whoever is the scapegoat of the day or week. Let’s each look inside and take charge of our own spirituality. The purpose of the mitzvos is to connect us to Hashem, let’s focus on connecting as we do our mitzvos, pray, learn Torah and say our 100 brachos a day.
If we become spiritual proactive, and deepen our connection to Hashem through our Torah and mitzvos, the Pew Report will have served its real spiritual purpose.