Avraham Aveinu wasn’t just the father of the Jewish people, but because he brought forth an entirely new relationship to the Universe, his teaching has influenced most of modern society from Islam, Christianity and the foundations of civilization. Many see him as the founder of all those religions, and combine them into one poorly conceived group they call “Judeo-Christianity.”
Yet, even with all this influence, Judaism has a serious fundamental difference between itself all the other belief systems that extend from Avraham Aveinu’s truth. Despite an obvious attempt to follow in the footsteps of the patriarch, often Gentile belief systems are focused on the difference between the secular and holy, the sanctified and mundane. There is a distinct difference in modern Christianity for example between the ordained ministers and the laymen, especially in Catholicism — where the actual clergy are concentrated to God.
Christianity seems to emphasize that the clergy are the people involved in the “work of God” while the average person has no obligation to do much of anything, except the occasional Sunday worship.
Judaism on the other hand, is distinctly unique. Rabbis are “ordained” but essentially, it means that they are “qualified” as teachers of the Mesorah (Historical Tradition) but do not have any special consecration magic. In fact, in our faith there is no difference made between the clery and the layman: every single member of the faith is obligated to learn the entire Torah, and keep the mitzvos. It doesn’t matter who you are: from the Gadol HaDor (Biggest Rabbi of the Generation) to the lowest day laborer who barely can make ends meet: The Ribbono Shel Olam expects us all to make time to learn more and change ourselves. We are called “mamleches kohanim v’goi kodesh,” a Kingdom of Preists and Holy Nation.
Avraham Aveinu believed and passed down that the entire purpose of humanity is Avodas Hashem, and more importantly to work daily to fulfill these mitzvos by changing the world and learn Toras Hashem. Every time we open our eyes and say Modeh Ani, it’s a new time to work to bring the world to perfection through doing good deeds, even if they are as small as making sure we don’t cheat someone during a business transaction, or that we give respect to our parents.
A potential convert to Judaism a few years ago was asked why he wanted to convert to Judaism by the Rov. He replied that he had little to do with the world to come, the heavens, the Olam Haba. He noted that every single religion seems to focus on doing things so you can have this amazing life after death, seemingly filled with food and virgins. However, only Yiddishkeit, Judaism offers a plan for the world now, the Olam Hazeh.
That’s because in our faith, not only is everyone equal and has the same potential, but that everything in the world is Kodesh (Holy.) In fact, we are commanded to make everything Mekadesh Shem Shamayin, to sanctify the name of Hashem in everything we do. This form of mindfulness comes in everything from making brocho over a piece of food, or making sure that you have a sign warning people that you have a dangerous dog. Judaism deals with all aspects of our life, and how we deal with people with the sole purpose of changing the World for the best for everyone.