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How are we still here?

Friday, 4 May, 2012 - 2:20 pm

How is your Jewish trivia?

You may have heard of the law of a non-kosher food being nullified by a ratio of 60:1. (If a non-kosher food item gets mixed in with kosher food, and the amount of kosher food is 60 times the amount of the non-kosher food, in certain situations, that mixture may still be considered kosher). In regard to judges too, we know that the Torah mandates to “follow the majority.” Truthfully, this is how it works in all areas of life – the smaller, less influential group or idea invariably gets assimilated into the larger and more dominant group.

For thousands of years, we Jews have been living impossibly, bucking the trend and changing nature by remaining faithful to our heritage and not getting swallowed by the rest of the world. We are overwhelmingly outnumbered! Were we to follow the logic and the law mentioned above, we would not be here.

So what is our secret? As always, there are exceptions to the rule.

Here’s another Jewish trivia fact: The Torah prohibits eating the fruit of a tree for the first three tears after planting it (it’s in this week’s Torah portion, Leviticus 19:23). The nullification factor in this case is 200:1 but – here’s the caveat – it’s only after the fruit has been harvested. For example, you have only one tree within its first three years (and therefore its fruit is forbidden) and 250 that are older (and therefore their fruit are permitted to be eaten). In this case there is no nullification for the fruit of the lone tree – because they are still attached to the tree. Once the fruit has been picked it's possible for them to get nullified, but not when they are attached.

So too with the Jewish people, we have a Jewish soul that is attached to Hashem, we are rooted – therefore no matter the odds, we can never become assimilated and nullified.

The challenge is not to keep these roots hidden under ground but to let them nourish our branches and our fruit! We need to express our Jewish selves, and then we can be truly comfortable in our own skin.

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