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Isn't it pretty?

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Relationship with Hashem

I know I am a little slow on the take here, but I just got around to reading Shmuely Boteach's reaction to Dr. Laura's rejection of Judaism in the Jerusalem Post. While I have to admit that I have never been the biggest fan of Boteach's, I have to say that the article is extremely well-written and a very articulate response to the feeling of Dr. Laura "not feeling fulfilled" by Judaism. I also find Boteach's article a very good delineation about feelings I have been having recently. Being a baal teshuvah, and having made the choice to bring Torah into my life, I don't usually have doubts that the way I have chosen to live my life is the right one. But it is not always easy to live the Torah life. And lately I have to admit that while I have not been questioning my faith, I have been having trouble feeling connected with Hashem. Boteach writes: "To be a Jew is to pray three times a day even when it bores you to death, to starve in cities where there is no kosher food, and to go into the army to defend your tiny homeland even while American kids your age are partying in Cancun. And for all that, your reward is to be hated by the other nations of the earth just for wanting to live. So why do we do it? For the simple opportunity to walk with God, as Abraham did; brave tyranny, like Moses; and sing to God with harp and lyre, like David. These are privileges not to be squandered simply because we don't always feel all giddy inside. Even the most secular Jews have been prepared to be tortured and killed rather than be separated from so glorious a heritage." Why do I keep doing it even when I am not feeling such a connection? Why do I daven every day even when I have no kavanah? Because I can't break the tradition and responsibility that Hashem gave us so many years ago. Who am I to say, that just because I am having it tough for a while (and certainly tough for me is not any great trajedy, I know that I am incredibly lucky), "Forget it, Hashem, it's over. I am only going to do what you want when you do what I want." Boteach also says, "Man is created to serve the purposes of God, and not the reverse." I think I need to keep reminding myself of that. Finally, Boteach closes with, "Before she turns her back, I would encourage Dr. Laura to reread Moses' words: "For [God's law] is not something empty from you," with the famous talmudic commentary: "If it is empty, it is from you." " I guess I need to keep searching and learning. I have to find it in myself, Hashem has already done his part.

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