Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Communities & Avodas Hashem

What role should your community play in your Avodas Hashem?

Some mayue for living in a community which takes Avodas Hashem seriously. There are many problems with this. One is that different members of a community might have different paths to Avodas Hashem. If people have a different path, what would be gained, in the greater sense, by living with them. (If everyone is, in general, pro-Avodas Hashem and they all get along with their different paths, I suspect that their paths are lukewarm paths.) Secondly, Ovdei Hashem tend to include unstable elements, which are not good for community building.

My personal take is that one should have a minimum required from the community where one lives and that it facilitate one's personal Avodas Hashem. Every person has different minimal standards for their communities. Mine include Shemiras Halakha, tzenius, no movies or TV (at least in public discussion), a basic ethical honesty, and a positive attitude towards non-Jews and non-Jewish religion. Others may include not being into externals (chitzoni'yus), not being racist, and menchlichkeit, or ehrlichkeit. Part of this is a function of what one's personal path in Avodas Hashem is. Once one clearly knows his path, then one can pick a community which facilitates growth along this path.

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