The Difference Between Jews and Non-Jews
A genuine correspondence... Enlightening, too.
Back on August 18th we penned a post called How to Relate to Non-Jews, that pretty much stuck to the halachic script.
That is, we made no pretense of offering any chiddush on the matter.
You can read it HERE if you missed it.
What followed was not expected.
A number of readers were slighted, and one in particular, who chose to engage in something of a snide response, triggered us to answer in kind.
We think it’s important to hear how the “other side” thinks, and to that end, we’ve reproduced the exchange in full below.
We hope you’ll find it edifying.
In order to maintain anonymity, we refer to our correspondent as CORRESPONDENT.
And this is how CORRESPONDENT opened—
Wow! I have no idea how I received this email, but THANK YOU for letting me know what Jews really think about people like me, a non-Jew!
Knowing this, I will still treat my Jewish friends kindly, understanding they are deeply disturbed people who are conditioned to live lives of ego, illusion, separateness, and arrogance. My compassion for the Jew has increased immensely, for now I know they are cut off through their own minds from the truth and beauty of interconnectedness, humility, and kindness.
May the love of God find a way to pierce this sorrowful fog in which the Jewish people live. Most likely, it will be in the form of their soul's incarnation into a non-Jew family so they may experience the contrast.
All the best,
To which we responded:
I'm not sure you can be fixed, CORRESPONDENT, judging by your slanted reading of the post.
But a few comments are in order.
First, you have no G-d, nor are you interested in developing an understanding of — or a relationship with — the Al-mighty, living G-d of Israel.
I'm not sure, therefore, who you're invoking when you refer to "God".
Second, it's very unlikely you have any Jewish friends at all. You may know some people who are nominally Jewish, but their understanding of what the essence of Judaism is, of Torah, of the nature of the spirit and of the world at large has absolutely nothing to do with authentic Torah Judaism. So please don't refer to them as Jewish. And treat them however you please. They may, indeed, be “deeply disturbed people who are conditioned to live lives of ego, illusion, separateness, and arrogance.” If so, I would feel very sorry for them, too. I am not like that, though, nor are the true, believing Jews that I know. Indeed, we are people who thrive on interconnectedness, humility, and kindness. The fact that you haven't met any of that ilk supports my contention that you really don't know any Jews at all.
I've seen the ‘contrast’ you spoke of; I grew up in a completely secular, non-Jewish world, and thrived quite nicely there. Until I ran into a few too many like yourself. My wife is a convert from Roman Catholicism, so she, too, has seen the contrast quite starkly, and has no regrets whatsoever about her choice.
If you're a genuinely honest soul, Mr. CORRESPONDENT, you might do a little honest research. And if you're so inclined, you may also find some things that surprise you. But you'll have to let a Jew guide you, as I wrote in my post. And that appears — at this point, anyway — to be anathema to you.
Wishing you the best of British luck, in any event.
Hope you find your way to the Noahide Laws, and a place (alongside the Jews!) in heaven.
Oh my goodness — what a sad interaction we have had! It is because I have such lovely Jewish friends that I'm shocked at reading this email. I've never heard such things before. It is so prejudice [sic] and judgmental of non-Jews, it pains me. Throughout my life, I have valiantly spoken against the horrors inflicted on the Jewish people, I have been loving and loyal regarding their rights. Now I am thinking Jewish people actually think these things about me secretly, are only tolerating my presence, and do not consider me a true friend, or worthy of inclusion in their lives.
I lived several months in Ya'vniel with an Orthodox family and they were delightful. Two of my non-Jewish friends converted to Judaism. No one has ever said that Jews are the advisors, that they have all the answers and can learn nothing spiritually from a non-Jew, to “send ‘em back to the Black Lagoon.” Nor did they say as do you: "As for non-Jews who come to offer assistance to Jewish winemakers, crop-growers, shepherds, etc., they should be informed clearly and forthwith that they have until sundown to pack their satchels and git! Bottom line is — the non-Jew who has yet to accept Torah and the sheva mitzvot has no clue how to access a life of holiness, Truth and genuine contentment. His influence, therefore, on the spiritual life of the Jew can never be beneficial."
Do you have any idea how this sounds to others when they read it? How hurtful such words can be?
I am going to share your email with my Jewish friends and ask them to tell me the truth about their beliefs about me and others who were not born into Judaism. I need to know what they truly think. And if they think like you, I have to say again I will continue to treat them kindly but I will pity them and you — for it is a sad existence indeed — and dangerous, at that — if you believe you are superior to all other human beings.
Again, CORRESPONDENT, you've sidestepped the essence of all I've said and read into it things that were not there.
You do not believe the word of G-d, as its written in the Torah, nor do you even believe in His existence as faithful Jews do, so I won't bore you with proofs from the realm of the Holy.
What I am forced to repeat is also likely superfluous, because you live in a world that has no experience of true holiness — again, a fact I'm acutely aware of because I come from your world.
So let me begin by saying that Jews are different, albeit the ones you encountered in Yavne'el may not be so.
If you don't believe this, you are either ignorant or not very observant.
If you do believe it, then ask yourself, and tell me, too, in what way, precisely are they different?
Is it their dress?
Because if that's the case, then the pity is all mine — because you missed the boat entirely.
And tell me, too, of your friends who converted...
Were they orthodox conversions, by way of the rabbanut in Israel? Or something cheap, bought on a promise of not really having to delve and change and acquire the Torah in its fullness — to be HOLY, indeed.
Further, can you, and they, answer why anyone would want to join a group that has had "horrors inflicted" upon it? Or why their "rights" would be in need of “loyal supporters”?
Is it for that same food and dress?
For those "customs" maybe?
Be honest, dear CORRESPONDENT, because your replies betray a certain disingenuousness.
What exactly is the difference between us?
Where is it to be found?
Again, if you're honest, you'll admit that there's no prejudice or judgementalism on my part, just an awareness of where the difference lies.
But maybe you see no difference.
Maybe we're all the same, except, of course, for all those shallow exteriorities that you're focused on.
In which case, you're right, the interaction has been very sad.
The Holy books of the Jewish People (not the interesting or fascinating or instructive or readable or challenging, but the G-d given HOLY books of the Jewish People) inform us that we are a nation that dwells alone. And for a reason.
As I wrote in the post, the influence of those who dwell outside of the Holy, who have no experience of it, and who — in cases like yours — have zero interest in even availing themselves of that experience, can be injurious to the spirit of those who do.
Just like we go out of our way to protect and support, nourish and comfort a woman who is pregnant. And do our utmost to see that she doesn't strain herself or upset herself, that she doesn't experience bodily or mental trauma in her delicate physical condition, so, too, the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE, has commanded us not to jeopardize our spiritual standing via exposure to other peoples, whose gawds are not like our G-d.
This is repeated countless times in the Torah (that you have neither read nor consider different from any other books).
So I'm not making anything up here.
It's a commandment (not a suggestion or an urging).
And a Jew lives as he is commanded.
That said, non-Jews can lead perfectly normal, happy lives. They can be moral and loving in every way. But what they will never understand or be able to access without the Torah, and a Jew experienced enough to guide them through it, is the HOLY.
And this is where you're hung up.
There is nothing sinister or dangerous or sad about that fact.
So, if you want what's HOLY, and exclusively HOLY, please inform me of your route to it.
Because your very odd reaction to what I've written indicates you verily believe there exists some other!
Beyond that, there was no more.
Our CORRESPONDENT, who invokes “the love of God” is very likely Xian. The area around Poriyya (including Yavne'el) is teeming with them.
That said, we found it instructive to be reminded that the non-Jew will never fully understand our otherness, because holiness cannot be learned from a text.
It has to be lived.
He may sense it, he may even fear it, but he’ll never truly know how far apart he is from us, because he has no means of accessing genuine holiness via the false gawds that he worships.
More often than not, he'll bristle and bray, recoiling when we insist on our chosenness, as if it were a birthright stolen from him, or a proof of our lowliness, a shortcoming in need of repair before we can join the ranks of the human, all too human.
When, in fact, we’re something far more.
…[T]he democratizing of Europe is at the same time an involuntary arrangement for the rearing of tyrants.
Nietzsche was certainly right in that regard.
As the premier critic of modern Esavian culture, he saw the folly of those who seek ever to level and democratize, who strive to bring everyone toward a single, least common denominator, to hate the aristocratic and the genuinely superior in mankind, including the spiritual superiority of the Jew. And to resort wherever possible to derision, humiliation, and even murder of those of a higher spiritual standing than they.
A Fool’s Errand
To the outside eye, the Jews’ insistence on divine election can only ever appear as rank chauvinism, and will only garner censure and angry demands for ‘humility’, mixing, ‘equality’, ‘brotherhood’, and other such nonsense.
And yet it stands.
Holiness is not inborn, to be sure. It has to be acquired.
And it can also be lost.
But it can only be earned by way of Torah.
So, if the non-Jew is interested in holiness, let him come.
And if not, let him stay put.
And fiddle with his life.
And if he insists otherwise…?
Then we must resist.
!שכן יהי רצון
G’mar chatima tova to all our wonderful readers!
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