Sadly, people make wrong choices. Some choices that our observant brothers and sisters make seem to be brought to light in blogs, print, radio, and TV. From sexual misbehavior to financial misrepresentation to a break in trust with kashrus…we see it all, these days. While different forms of media, both Jewish and non-Jew, expose these terrible events within our communities, for me, as an observant Jew, it’s a public relations nightmare.
I, who has chosen a path of ethical and religious life, am often bombarded with questions from both non-religious relatives and non-jewish friends.
“How could a religious person do such a thing?”
“Isn’t a Rabbi a holy person?”
“Don’t you answer to a ‘higher standard’?”
“Is this what you’re raising your kids to be like?”
“Doesn’t your Torah teach you ethics?”
I’ll stop. You can probably think of half a dozen other questions. What do I do? How do I respond? I don’t really have the answers. I’ve told people the standard, “Don’t judge a religion by the people” line, but that really doesn’t cut it.
The truth is that we all have to answer for our actions. The concept of reward and punishment is fundamental to Judaism. When I’m finally judged, the excuse of, “At least I didn’t pass off non-kosher chicken for kosher,” doesn’t really matter. We are judged against ourselves and our potential.
Does anyone have any other ideas about how do deal with these issues?