Get More Enthusiasm for Your Judaism!
What is a fulfilled life? The question is deceptively subjective. Fulfillment is often confused with satisfaction and happiness. However, what if fulfillment was measured by actualization of one’s aptitudes, abilities and potential is the question still subjective? No, once the measure of fulfillment is shifted from feelings to accomplishments an objective standard emerges. Fulfillment is better defined by how harmoniously one’s life fits within the Creator’s design. The parameters of human interaction with the rest of creation in accordance with the Creator’s design is the Torah. Consequently, the law giving at Sinai detailed in the Sidra is in essence a rededication of creation akin to the immediate post-flood period when Noach and family began to repopulate the planet.
Further, beyond the imagery depicting the actual event there is an ideological context set out in Shemoth Chapter 19 which defines the identity , the national persona of the people about to participate in the Torah’s revelation at Sinai. G-D tells Moshe Rabbinu A’H “And you all shall be before Me a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy nation , , , ,” (19:6) Rashi ZT’L ZY’A (ad loc) understands the office of Priesthood the text refers to is one of leadership. Rabbi Baruch HaLevi Epstein ZT’L ZY’A in Torah Temimah cites the Talmud (Zevachim 19a) describing how a Persian ruler chided Huna bar Nathan for wearing his belt in a manner unbefitting one of regal bearing (see Torah Temimah Shemoth , Chapter 19 note 12). Yet does this mean scripture is requiring Bene Ysrael to act with dominion, self importance while pursuing a life of piety.
The author of Orchot Zaddikim ZT’L ZY’A however while encouraging strident, self assured observance declares arrogance as being the “ . . . currency which the Great King Blessed Be He has invalidated . . . .” (Beginning; Chapter 1 )
However, Rabbi Nathan of Breslov ZT’L ZY’A takes G-D’s call to leadership and holiness in a Different direction. Rabbi Nathan explains to be a “ Kingdom of Priests and Holy people “as a definition of Jewish Identity. Being Jewish is not achieved just by observing the commandments, one must formally affiliate with Jewry. Accepting Torah is not enough, if one wishes to enter in to a Torah-centric relationship with G-D it is through Jewry. [Whether one formally converts to Judaism or one who decides to formally accept the 7 Noachide Mitzvoth the relationship is solemnified through a Rabbinic Court]
Rabbi Nathan’s concept is expanded upon by Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin ZT’L ZY’A in his Hemek Davar commentary. Rabbi Berlin known by the name Netziv asserts that Torah observance and commitment to worship are minimal to being called Jewish. What G-D is calling for is fidelity not just to the letter of the law but its sprit .
Being a Kingdom of Priests relates to one’s relationship to others, The call is to conduct one’s affairs in a refined manner that sets an example for others to aspire to and emulate. Being a Holy People relates to one’s relationship to G-D be holy embracing both letter and spirit.
However notes the Netziv each person is unique so the call to assume these exalted positions of A Kingdom of Priests and Holy Nation are left deliberately vague as what constitutes living a life of leadership in interpersonal relationships and piety as each person is unique and therefore their particular role in tapestry of creation is also unique.
When combined with Rabbi Nathan’s teaching Jewish national identity is at essence connected to Torah and its commandments in the context a relationship that seeks to draw out the depths of one’s abilities and aptitudes in G-D’s service.
Fulfilling the full measure of one’s role in creation is the calling of all humanity. However, the particular calling of Jewry defined by a call of leadership not to rule but to set the paradigm for realizing optimal human potential leading to a life of fufillment, this is Jewry's national enterprise.