As I’ve briefly mentioned before, I’m co-officiating a wedding next October for a couple of friends who are getting married. While this may not seem like a very odd thing to you — the fact that neither are Jewish or Pagan may start the wheels turning. Actually, the groom is Hindu and the bride is a spiritual person — but very private and non-religious or dogmatic in her beliefs. What I’ve been finding fascinating is how misunderstood Hinduism is by most of the West. Ask five people on the street and they will probably all say that Hindus are polytheistic. This actually isn’t the case at the heart of it. Hindus have the same concept of “Ein Sof” that Jews have. They practice a very old form of aspected monotheism. Now the rituals and practices are so old that many people focus more on the aspects than the monotheism portion. But at its heart, Hinduism seems to be a monotheistic religion. After many births the wise seek refuge in me, seeing me everywhere and in everything. Such great souls are very rare. There are others whose discrimination is misled by many desires. Following their own nature, they worship lower gods, practicing various rites. -Bhagavad Gita 7:19-20 The “idol worship” has been an interesting thing to explore as well. On my recent trip to a Hindu temple with my friends, I experienced a variety of emotions. The first is that I saw why Jews don’t allow this. I get the same feeling walking into many Catholic churches. Such reverence is paid to statues. I understand that for many the statue is just a tool to help them focus, but for so many the statue just is. It is a manifestation of the Divine for them — which for me in incomprehensible. But — Catholics do the same thing. Every time my husband genuflects in front of a crucifix at a church, I’m startled by it. All that being said, many synagogues and Jewish practices seem...read more
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