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Rabbi Zalmanov's Blog

This Blog constitutes primarily of articles written by Rabbi Eliezer Zalmanov in various publications.

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Combating Assimilation

“Here we go again,” you must be thinking. “An orthodox rabbi is once more writing about assimilation. He’s probably about to say that in order to combat it, I must marry a Jew and have many children. They must also be given a strictly Jewish education.”

While all of these concepts have played central roles in the Jewish nation’s continuity throughout history, there is more to the solution than simply restoring them. There is a lot more to our survival than making a drastic change in one’s life overnight.

Being born into a strictly observant family may seem to have its advantages, as far as religion goes. Living as a religious Jew as far back as one can recall surely makes it a lot easier to observe the Torah. However, behaving a certain way for any amount of time can become extremely monotonous, even for the most ultra-orthodox individual.

Imagine being employed at a firm with absolutely no opportunity for growth. Imagine yourself filling the same position, day-in-day-out, for thirty years without a change in schedule or style. Sure, you may convince yourself that as long as the pay is decent and arrives on time, you can stick it out. But is that what you consider a fulfilling lifestyle?

Judaism is all about growth.

G-d has given the Jewish people 613 commandments in His Torah. Each of these 613 Mitzvahs is another conduit through which we can better our relationship with G-d. Just because we do not completely adhere to every single one, does not mean that the Mitzvahs we do comply with are not meaningful.

Performing a certain Mitzvah, or Mitzvahs, long enough will eventually turn it into a second nature, and becomes effortless. When we get too used to something, it is time to challenge ourselves with something new. Whether it is related to Shabbat, kosher, study or prayer, there is always room for improvement, and if we stay at a plateau, we are bound to slip.

Assimilation is a result of apathy. Apathy is a result of boredom. If Judaism were to be exciting, as it is truly intended to be, we would witness a steep drop in assimilation.

Combating assimilation is achieved by being proactive in our Jewish life. By finding that area in which we can do better and resolving to challenge ourselves, we will be doing the greatest favor for us, our children, and the Jewish nation at large.

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