Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Essentials Of Judaism — The Path Of Transformation

The following is an essay I penned for my Religions of the Western World class at Rutgers University conducted by Professor James Pavlin. It is on the role of the Mitzvot and Halakhah in regards to guiding the soul through the Jewish Path to Transformation. I present this forth to all as a gift in commemoration of Rosh Hashanah.

The Path of Transformation in Judaism begins with repentance. In its entirety, the Judaic Path of Transformation is a whole life devoted to abiding by the Torah, that is, the Divine Law. In other words, the Jewish Path of Transformation is the fulfillment of God's Law.

In order for this to be done, one must follow the Mitzvot, that is, the Commandments, laid down unto Man by God through the Torah. It is the discipline one must uphold in order to purify themselves and reconcile with the Lord.

The role of the Halakhah in this is to explain the one in the Path to Transformation how the Mitzvot applies to their lives. It lays out the way one must fulfill the Commandments by daily life governing nearly every aspect of the person's life, all the way from the cradle to the grave. The Halakhah explains how one must relate to God in prayer and worship, what they are allowed to eat and prohibited to not eat, how the food must be prepared, how to marry, have children, die and bury the dead. It simply is the complete guide to a life in accordance to the Will of God.

Through these deeds outlined in the Mitzvot and explained how they are to be done in the Halakhah, a person transforms themselves by practice of outward behaviors bringing about an inner metamorphosis of the soul.

Now, living by these rules is not the sole purpose of life and Path to Transformation for a Jew. Judaism asks that the person not only performs the deeds abiding and fulfilling the Law of God physically but the person is also asked to truly intend to do the act by heart. That is, his or her deeds are driven by intention. Fulfilling the Law of God laid out in the Mitzvot and elucidated in the Halakhah, then, not only becomes the mission of the flesh but also that of the soul. In other words, as Rabbi Abraham Heschel has stated, "the true goal for man is to be what he does." Through the performance of good deeds, a person absorbs the holiness of their works and themselves become holy, reconciling their spirit with God. That is the Judaic Path of Transformation.

— Fahim Ferdous Promi

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