Philosophical Questions

Question

Background : My 18 years old son who just started attending Rutgers U. and is not religous (although i am ) as a result of my ex-wife influence and removal from a jewish education and contact with me at a very young age , and whom I was able to meet recently after 8 years of seperation. We spoke of religion and life’s meaning , which he was very intrested in as he wrote a thesis on the subject of happiness and is intrested in philosophy. He asked me the following quiestions which I need your help in answering. 1. What is the goal/goals of religion? 2.How does it specifacaly help the individual achieve this goal/goals? 3. Why cannt one adopt all the good things from all religous /philosophical/ethical systems and be content just with that as opposed to embracing judaism in full? 4. Can one achieve a deeper and longer term happiness thru the Judaic system vs. all other systems , and how can it be proven to be so to someone who doesnt believe in Judaism? I answered him quiestions 1 and 2 based on the Guide to the preplexed thesis that all religion is for mans ultimate benefit and developement but he counterd with quiestion 3 . I responded that only Judaism is the perfect formula to these goals , but he asked for examples to elucidate this and to prove that judaism is a superior system to all other hybrids of positve ideas spread out in all thought/religous systems.This is where i got stuck . Pease help me out. I will be happy to forward your answers to him , thanks in advance , nehemia rosin 917 929 8941

16 years

Answers

  1. Due to, what I hope will be, the on-going nature of your questions I would very much recommend that you try to encourage your son to accompany you to a Gateways seminar. The importance of this is that he will be exposed to the very best lecturers giving lectures about all dimensions of Judaism in a way that your son will never have imagined possible. If you look at their site (www.gatewaysonline.com) they will have information about upcoming seminars in your area. As well as that I would very strongly recommend that you buy a copy of the new book just out by Rabbi Mordechai Becher called Gateway to Judaism, published by ArtScroll. It is a fascinating journey through Judaism from the beginning to the end and it is something that I am sure that you will enjoy and be able to pass on to your son with enthusiasm.

    May Hashem grant you the insight to say the right words at the right time to your son and that you have much Nachat from him.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team