Sanctifying God’s Name

Boro ParkWhen I was in New York recently, I stopped by Eichler’s — a Jewish institution and bookstore in Boro Park. I was good and did not buy any books(!) but I did buy the magazine Jewish Action. This is the official magazine of the Orthodox Union and I found it fascinating and perhaps worthy of a subscription.

The president’s article “Pursuing Spirituality — Measuring Success” was both intriguing and sad because it displayed an intense desire to know God better but a complete unawareness of HOW to do it. He spoke of the need to “mekadesh Shem Shamayim” (sanctify God’s name) but how can he when the concept is beyond his theological grasp.

For example, his understanding of spirituality is adequate — “an experience is spiritual when it enhances the relationship between our neshamah, our soul, and God.” However, his understanding of doing this is centered around works (mitzvah observance). When did “good deeds” ever enhance our spirituality? The Epistle of James tells us that our good actions are proof of our relationship with God and not the cause of it. This is what is heartbreaking about the Rabbinical Jewish understanding of God — they think they have to earn their way to God instead of recognizing the promise of Jeremiah 31 and the reality of Messiah Jesus. We must share this hope with them. We must, yes, #GiveMessiahBack to the Jewish people today.

In this same article, the president of the Orthodox Union writes this insightful statement but without true understanding (i.e., Romans 10:1-4) — “Can Orthodoxy survive without a genuine deepening and intensification of our relationship with God?” The answer is NO. And how can they discover this relationship unless we who know Messiah Jesus tell them … Romans 10:14-16.

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