In this week's Torah portion we see a very interesting side of Jewish thought. The Torah discusses the laws of courts, theft, business transactions and property damage. What stands out from these laws is the tremendous emphasis the Torah places on living a moral, honest and generous life. Jewish law does not only instruct us on how to keep Shabbat and Kosher, but also how to properly conduct our most mundane affairs in a proper, moral way. 

 That is Judaism in a nutshell. Making every part of life holy and moral. Living for a higher purpose. Not only being moral and spiritual when celebrating Shabbat or a religious ritual, but during business and all other affairs that we tend to constantly as well. Caring for others. Remembering the poor and needy and helping them. Keeping God in public discourse, not as a reason to put others down, but as a way to remember that there is a creator who made every human being, thereby granting every individual unalienable rights.

 That has been what the Jewish people were about from time immemorial. Imbibing a sense of morality and purpose in society. The world knows this, and has tremendous respect for the Jewish people for it as well. Yet this idea can also incur resentment. From Pharaohs to Fuhrers, the most tyrannical, self-centered figures in history have always found the Jews to be the first obstacle that they felt the need to get rid of. In such a brutally competitive world, a world where everyone is trying to promote themselves and get ahead, the idea of genuinely caring for others, respect and justice can be hard to sell.

 Hence the hard feelings we sometimes see expressed towards the Jewish people. There is no need to apologize for being Jewish. We need to stand tall and proud to be who we are. Yes, many in the world might hate us for it, but many, many people from every religion and from all walks of life, have tremendous respect for what the Jewish people stand for.  

 What is a proper response to antisemitism? I'm Jewish. I'm proud to be Jewish. I'm proud to be part of a people whose Torah says that the most important rule in life is loving and respecting others just as we love and respect ourselves. I'm proud of my people and my heritage. I always have been, and always will be. Am Yisrael Chai!

Rabbi Avrohom