Sunday, August 6, 2023


What is Religious Atheism?

It is in a great way to enjoy the Goodness and Abundance this world has to offer without acknowledging who is the benefactor, the giver of all things. Worse yet again, is to congratulate ourselves and gives thanks to other human beings; alive or dead for our success.

When the Jewish people (The Children of Israel) crossed over the Jordan River and got prepared to enter the Land of Israel, they are amazed by its sublime beauty. Just imagine for a second the most beautiful photos of any country anywhere around the world; a land in which you would find heavenly white sandy beaches, turquoise water, majestic snow-capped mountains, green forests, fine sand dunes, refreshing waterfalls in the middle of the valley, whatever paradise like location you could imagine ...

know that whatever that country is, it will never have the same virtues and qualities as the Land of Israel, at the time when Joshua entered it accompanied by the Jewish people.

At that time, dates and figs were huge, delicious and filled with a honey like nectar that covered the whole ground when they fell down. With every step we took, we had to be careful to avoid stepping into the basins of dates or honey. The earth was filled with cows, goats, sheep whose udders were dripping with milk. There weren't enough people to milk them. It is repeated 21 times in the Torah the fact that "Ereth Zavat Chalav U’Devash", “meaning the earth was streaming with milk and honey”, streaming in the literal sense: it flowed and filled all the cracks. And this phenomenon lasted until after the destruction of the second Temple in Jerusalem.

Now The Question to Ask is: We know the danger of living in abundance, so why didn't God place the Children of Israel in an arid, dry land, to live a more virtuous life where they should constantly raise the eyes to the sky in order to be nourished? Why did he place us on such a beautiful land flowing with milk and honey?

The answer is that God wants us to be successful in this world, and to be successful, happiness is needed, not sadness. It is the pillar of a Torah life. Rav Miller explains that to serve God is to reflect on all that He does for us, to serve Him in gratitude. An unhappy man does not serve God, he enforces commandments like a faithful robot. To serve God is to sing to Him. All our actions should sound like a song of gratitude. When you walk past a Mezuzah, put on your Tefillin, step under a Sukkah, you have to remember why. Each Mitzvah performed is a way of addressing a prayer to Him. Of course, true happiness awaits us in the brave new world - the world to come - but in the meantime, we should know that there is no one happier than an observant Jew.

Moreover, each year, the United Nations publishes its “World Happiness Report” to assess the level of happiness in each country. This year and like almost every year, Israelis are ranked fourth in the world ranking of the happiest inhabitants of the planet.

Despite the exiles, the dark times, the crusades, the pogroms, the Holocaust, the false accusations against us and the fierce enemies around us... 

if we still exist and are so remarkable, it is because we have learned to be happy with what we have in the Torah. And if we are ranked 4th, it is obviously a lot thanks to the 20% of Orthodox Jews in the country and to practitioners in general. Every week we take a day off. 

We take advantage of Shabbat, every Friday afternoon we take a longer hot shower than usual, we wear our best clothes, we gather as a family around a table, we eat good food. We find ourselves with ourselves, we meditate on the happiness of hearing, of seeing, of being able to eat, of having a bed, of having clothes, of having running water. 

We are much richer than the kings of past centuries who practically did not wash themselves… Whatever the difficulties that appear in our lives from time to time, we experience great happiness far superior to our misfortunes, but we just don't know. enough to see or appreciate it at its fair value.

But in the Pirkei Avot (3, 16) it is taught: "Ha Chanut Petuchah ", meaning "The store is open". Indeed, God's store is open 7 days a week. The world is a big store, you can come from Sunday to Shabbat and take whatever you want. But let's not forget the warning of the Torah: 

if you just take, you will get full, so “ Tishmeru Lachem”, be on your guard or you risk forgetting The Eternal, the Only God ... 

And the best remedy against that risk is to raise our eyes full of gratitude to the true Giver of all things.