Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Struggles - One Day At A Time

One of the downsides of living in the convenience-everything-is-instant-at-the-click-of-a-mouse-generation is that people have extra trouble with struggles.

Case in point - I was reading about the phenomenon of religious boys [and girls] from religious homes who feel attraction to their own gender. It was unanimous, UNANIMOUS, that all of these young people are not only planning to be sexually active but already are [some even spoke about "hooking up" with Arab men they found on the various WhatsApp groups, the only problem being logistical - where]. They believe in G-d [or so they profess], they learn Torah [many are in yeshiva], they wear tefillin and tzitzis etc. etc.. But they expressed no interest in controlling their urges and knowingly, wantonly engage in mishkav zachor with a whole host of partners. They already gave up. Why struggle if one can just succumb??! 

I don't deny their urges. Although I don't experience them myself and am repulsed by the very thought, for them it is very real. They suffer tremendously with guilt, have extremely high rates of depression and suicide and live tortured existences. However, having urges and desires don't permit what is forbidden. We can't rewrite the Torah every time we encounter people who have trouble keeping it. Just because we are living in the year 2018 doesn't transform something which is been considered immoral by the Torah into something moral. If G-d really forbade it [which He did] then it is wrong. I don't think that these kids claim that what they are doing is permitted. I think they are just feeling overwhelmed by their sexual inclinations and are not willing to live in celibacy. Too hard.

Going through Auschwitz wasn't easy. It was actually much harder than being celibate. Having pancreatic cancer is much harder than being celibate [my father in law died from it. Horrific]. There are MANY things in life that people experience that are more difficult than being a celibate homosexual. But people go through these experiences because they have no choice. The Torah and her Author didn't give us a choice. A man must live with a woman and may not live with a man. Period. There are no exceptions. It is a struggle for these people but LIFE is a struggle. We don't have a choice. We are ALLLLLL struggling. Everybody has something. Everybody. So is life and Hashem plans for each person what his unique struggles will be.

Some men are married to women who are not interested in any type of physical contact and affection. What is such a man supposed to do? Throw in the towel and have affairs? No - he is supposed to struggle. In some instances divorce is the correct solution but usually it is not. In Western culture it is not a question - the goal is to maximize one's physical pleasure so if one's wife isn't satisfying him he looks elsewhere. But we don't believe in that. If she is willing to seek counseling - great. Maybe that will help. Maybe not. Maybe Hashem's plan is that he live his life in a loveless, affectionless marriage. It is torture but there are worse things. Sometimes it is the husband who is disinterested in his relationship with his wife. What is she to do? She feels so alone and neglected. The answer is that she has to learn how to cope. If she is married to such a man chances are that he is not interested in going for counseling. Often she has children and doesn't want to break up her family. Maybe he is a lousy husband but a great father. She must learn to valiantly struggle and overcome the demons of despair. 

In our generation people recoil from struggles. Yet, the way to grow as a human being is to EMBRACE struggles. Single hood is a struggle. So is marriage. Infertility is a struggle. So is parenthood. I just got a call from a friend with a beautiful family [both on the inside and outside] but he is looking for the right school for his son whom he described as "crazy". Who doesn't have at least one child who gives them a run for their money? Being unemployed is a challenge and so is having a job. It seems that everybody I know suffers either from the job they have or from the fact that they are jobless.  

LIFE IS A STRUGGLE!!! Embrace it, rejoice in it, remember that it is only temporary, remember that Hashem sent you these struggles because He loves you, find a support group [friends, family etc.] and immerse yourself in lessening the pain and suffering of others.    

“Take a shower, wash off the day. Drink a glass of water. Make the room dark. Lie down and close your eyes.
Notice the silence. Notice your heart. Still beating. Still fighting. You made it, after all. You made it, another day. And you can make it one more.
You’re doing just fine.”