For years I have enjoyed reading Rabbi Boteach’s column. However, reading his recent editorial, “Non-Jews as saviors of Judaism,” has, for the first time, prompted me to write to refute his thesis. Many in the Western world, be it Christians or Jews, no longer see the relevance of religion in their lives and therefore, do not practice the laws which are meant to guide them to lives of meaning and spirituality and connection with a higher power.
Rabbi Boteach will get the opposite reaction if he goes to Christians and non-believers, offering them to follow Jewish practices in order to have more meaningful lives. For example, abstinence, (laws of nida) would be emphatically rejected by young, vigorous men and will make our religion a laughingstock. Instead, preach that a woman’s body needs healing after childbirth, that it needs a break during menstruation which ultimately enhances intimacy.
On Friday night, it is not the Kiddush, the lighting of the candles, it is the emphasis on the evening, where the world outside is closed off, and the focus is on the family. Neither candles, nor Kiddush nor Havdala should be practiced by others, unless they become part of the Jewish world. We should not be proselytizing; we just want a more decent world. It can be achieved by extracting the meaning behind the rituals.