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Be He A Thief Or Be He A Borrower

This class examines different scenarios of using other's property without their permission.
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Why Religion Becomes A Business

When I was growing up, I remember seeing a poster on my sister's door that read, "It will be a great day when the Air Force has to run a bake sale and the schools are well funded." While an interesting motto, it is one that will never come true. The reason is that we all understand that national defense is a necessity to insure our freedom. As another poster read "Freedom is not free." Therefore, we will always insure that our armed forces are always operational. Schools, on the other hand, especially college, still has to prove itself worthy of the country's largesse. Bottom line is that if one does not recognize the need, one does not want to support the desire, no matter how "important" it may be to others, for it is considered amongst the "non essential." Religion is in the same boat.
While people may recognize the importance of religion during certain times of their life, for most, it is on the periphery. It is not part of the daily routine and most like it that way. Study after study will verify the dwindling of people's recognition of the impact and import of practicing one's religion regularly. As a direct result, religious organizations have tried to raise money in various ways, in order to pay the clergy, rent, lights, and heat bills. Some have tried dues, others bingo, or some derivative of that game, casino nights, dances, etc. All because organized religion is seen as "non-essential." For example, I was told that while one person was complaining about the "country club prices" that the synagogue charged for dues, the other responded, $800 a year is cheap when you use the service 3 times a day. It comes to less than $3 a day! It's all perspective, I suppose.
Another direct result of this feeling is the competition of membership between the differing synagogues. While competition can certainly make one stronger, in this case, there is very little one can do to the "product line" to make it much different from the others. More than that, the audience who is willing to pay has become smaller, yet the bills continue to rise. Thus, "organized religion" must either raise the cash or shut down.
Imagine, though, what would happen if we all did what Hashem wanted us to do, namely inspire, listen, and show compassion to people. Torah is the greatest product out there and would "sell" itself, if we just let people see how beautiful it is. It doesn't mean going out and proselytizing, rather is just means living the life. People naturally go with the successful and if we follow Torah, for the sake of Hashem and not as a method to achieve something, everything will come to us and others will naturally follow. Then the shuls and religious schools will never have to have another fundraiser or try to figure out how to keep the lights on, rather the shuls and the organizations that perpetuate Torah will be seen as essential. On that day, religion will no longer need to be a business, for we will have achieved our mission of bringing Hashem into the center of our lives and no longer on the periphery. What say you?