The Secret to Better Judaism: Stop Hoarding Chips
It turns out that many Jews (including my former self) aren’t very good at making Jewish decisions.
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Every day, or every week, Jews make Jewish decisions — from what to think, to how to act and behave, to where to practice our Judaism (or not). These decisions, naturally, shape our Judaism.
It turns out that many Jews (including my former self) aren’t very good at making Jewish decisions, and the main reason is simple: We hoard our chips.
We overvalue things we’ve learned, experiences we’ve had, and stories we’ve heard. What’s more, we surround ourselves with people and engage in experiences which continue to stack these chips, increasingly blinding us to other Jewish chips which are just as important, meaningful, and enjoyable.
Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, in his work Alei Shor, cites a midrash (rabbinic interpretation in the Talmud) in which each person at Mount Sinai experienced revelation according to their ability. He connects this to an idea from Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto that “there are 600,000 explanations of the Torah, and each person received an interpretation according to the root of his/her soul.”
Each of our chips is one of these 600,000 explanations, no explanation greater or lesser than the others, just different. As such, this requires an imperative humility to acknowledge that each of us contains only a partial truth, and that predominately running in circles with others who share our like-minded partial truths only makes our partial truths more partial.
To be a thriving Jewish People, and for each one of us to totally benefit from everything Judaism has to offer, we need all 600,000 chips.
Here are seven ways to do so: