I'm struggling with the sense on one hand that I want to instill Jewish beliefs in my children, but on the other hand I feel that would be diminishing the value and equal importance of the beliefs 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:
If you think about it, you'll realize that "truth" cannot simply be everything that everyone wants.
What about 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." ("The Holocaust" by Martin Gilbert, p. 28)
Do you agree with Hitler or not? Can 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 that have no connection to reality.
This does not mean that Judaism does not respect other people. It does mean that we are firm on our perception of reality which we have received from generations all the way back to the that momentous event at Mount Sinai, which changed the face of human history forever.
While we do teach that all human beings are inestimably valuable and deserve to be loved and respected, we do not teach that all beliefs have equal value.
For more on this, read: www.aish.com/sp/ph/48959701.html