Jewish Values vs. Other Faiths
I want to instill Jewish beliefs in my children, but still have them be accepting of everyone's beliefs.
I am struggling with the sense that on one hand I want to instill Jewish beliefs in my children, but on the other hand I feel this would be diminishing the value of other faiths. I feel that love, harmony and happiness are the most important values, and that we need to be accepting of everyone's beliefs. People are different, so isn't truth relative for each individual?
The Aish Rabbi Replies
This is an important question, one that I think goes to the heart of today's society.
If you think about it, you'll realize that "truth" cannot simply be everything that everyone wants.
Consider the father of Protestantism, Martin Luther, who said, "The Jews are our misfortune," and fomented a hatred that later helped the Nazis generate anti-Semitism among the masses. Are you unwilling to diminish the value of this "father of a major religion" in the eyes of your children?
What about the jihadists who blow up planes, trains and buildings - all in the name of religion?
Hitler wrote in "Mein Kampf:" "I believe today that my conduct is in accordance of the will of the Almighty creator. In standing guard against the Jew, I am defending the handiwork of the Lord."
Do you agree with Hitler or not? Cannot you say unequivocally that he was wrong?
Reality is what is. You have to decide if you want to teach your children truth, or if you want to immobilize them with cushy phrases of political correctness.
This does not condone any disrespect toward other people. We teach that all human beings are inestimably valuable and deserve to be loved and respected. But we do not teach that all beliefs have equal value. We are firm in the perception of reality as defined by the Torah. It has served our people well over the generations, all the way back to the momentous event at Mount Sinai which changed the face of human history forever.
For more on this, see this article.