Dennis Prager writes: Why have Jews lost their sense of being a messenger?
I think there are four primary reasons, both external and internal.
1. Once the Roman Empire became Christian, Jews and Judaism were essentially declared enemies of the state. It is very hard to advocate a message when you are fighting for your life.
2. Jews, therefore, became preoccupied with survival. When a man is drowning, his one concern is not drowning. Nothing else occupies his mind. Unfortunately, Jewish preoccupation with survival continues to the present day, even where, as in America and Israel, Jews are free to advocate the Torah’s values.
3. Jews and Judaism became increasingly insular as much of Jewish law became preoccupied with having Jews avoid interactions with non-Jews (nonkosher wine is an example).
4. Halachah, Jewish law, became so all-encompassing that it became an end unto itself; indeed, it became the very purpose of a Jewish life. As a result, the religious Jew came to be defined quantitatively — i.e., by how many ritual laws he observed. The more laws a Jew observed, the more “religious,” the more authentically Jewish, he was and is perceived to be.
What, specifically, are Jews supposed to be advocating?
The answers lie primarily in those five books known as the Torah and, secondarily, in the rest of the Jewish Bible.