Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Closet OTD

I was sent to an article written by a woman who is living in a Modern Orthodox community but she doesn't believe in Torah anymore. She believes in Hashem but not in all of His laws. What deep philisophical questions spurred her on to be פורקת עול [throw off the yoke]? 

None. She didn't read any books. She didn't have any profound questions. She was just - in her words - "tired of it". So she stopped caring. 

I am not here to judge her because people are complex and I don't know the myriad of emotional and psychological issues she has but I would like to address the phenomena in general using her as a case study. 

There is a big challenge in being a Jew - one must constantly work to ENJOY being a Jew. The Rambam in hilchos lulav says that ENJOYING the practice of mitzvos is HARD WORK. If one doesn't work at it s/he is bound to fail. One needs to find many different avenues to ensure that it will never get tiresome or burdensome. Haman's infamous lashon hara again the Jews was "ישנים מן המצות" - they are doing mitzvos in a sleepy way [from the words "ישנו עם אחד" which literally means "there is one nation" but can also mean that they are sleepy]. The pasuk says [Devarim 4/25 - see Rashi] כי תוליד בנים ובני בנים ונושנתם בארץ - when you have children and mitzvos become OLD and stale [as Chazal understand it]. That is the precursor and cause of galus. The antidote is the first mitzva gven to Am Yisrael. החודש הזה לכם - The mitzva of חודש - renewal. 

How does one achieve this? We have discussed it in the past and this is not for now but that is the basic outline. What this lady is experiencing is a universal problem. The answer is NOT to jettison a five thousand year tradition that her ancestors died for so many times...

She writes:

As far as taharat hamishpacha – I’ve always hated the practice and feel it’s had a detrimental effect on my marriage. Finally, after many years of frequent mikvah trips, I made the decision to give myself a break. My husband would never stay married to me if I told him I wasn’t going to the mikvah anymore, and keeping my family together is my top priority. However, I was so miserable that I had to do something. He knows I’m miserable, yet still insists I keep going. I wasn’t going to lie to him about going when I hadn’t, so I did the only thing available to me – I started lying about not being able to do a bedika and spotting. In this way, even though we can’t be together or even share a hug, I can get a break every other month or so from going to the mikvah. Is he happy about this? No. But hey, it’s not my fault if my body isn’t cooperating, right?

In other words - I don't feel like it, so I am going to first lie and then make my husband suffer. My husband who works hard to support me. My husband who helped bring our children into the world. My husband who has done countless acts of kindness on my behalf. My husband whom I don't want to divorce despite all of my suffering being married to a religious man because I so value the family we built.

I don't feel like it so let him suffer. What is he going to do now? What other outlet does he have?? None. So his sexual, biological and emotional needs are not going to be met. Because she is "tired of it". I hope she doesn't stop changing diapers or feeding her children because she is "tired of it". I hope she doesn't stop paying the cashier at the supermarket because she is "tired of it".  

When one loses his or her basic yiras shomayim then ALL morality goes [potentially and often concretely]. What she is doing is immoral but nothing can stop her because she doesn't have a G-d telling her what to do [just an abstract one who created the world]. 

Sweet friends - I have to go daven mincha now [whether I feel like it or not....] so I will close here but I urge everyone to redouble their commitment to doing what is right and true and always trying to find joy in everything. 

When we are not loving it - we still remain committed because that is the mature, responsible and honest thing to do. Then we will work hard to find the excitement in being Jewish.

Because THAT is what it is all about. The entire tochacha of Parshas Ki Savo comes תחת אשר לא עבדת את ה' אלקיך בשמחה ובטוב לבב.