What If?

What If?

What if we could all find the inspiration we are seeking?
What if every Jew could feel the connection that they are looking for?
What if every time we dressed modestly, kept shabbos, went to the mikva, kept our mouth shut… we felt HaShem’s pride in us?
What if Judaism was as fulfilling as it could be?
What if we didn’t confuse style, politics, status and other stupid stuff for authentic yiddishkeit?
What if every Rabbi, Rebbetzin and kollel couple were paragons of yiddishkeit?
What if we could be open and supportive of each other’s struggles?
What if we could ask the questions we have without worrying about being shunned?

These are thoughts that bounce around in my head when I feel disenchanted with the life I lead.

I truly believe that HaShem wants me to live according to Torah and mitzvos, but I’m not so sure He wants me to be living according to frum culture. It’s so hard to sort out what is truly part of living a Torah life and what is lumped in with Torah and dragging me down. It seems that there are millions of little details that are part of being frum. I’m not sure anyone remembers which details are halacha and which are culture. I’d like to think that the ones I’m resisting are the ones that G-d couldn’t care less about.
It hurts me to feel that I’ll never fit in, I’ll never be just right, I’ll never look like everyone else.
It confuses me that the “frummest” people I know are obsessed with brand names and dressing their kids for a fashion show every day. It confuses me that I am shelling out so much money for tuition and yet, my kids aren’t being inspired to love HaShem. Wait… Do I love HaShem? Does anyone around me?

What if we could pare the rule book down to only things that are halacha?
What if we could walk around in whatever style we want as long as it covers appropriately?
What if a yeshiva bochur could wear a T-shirt and jeans and not have people assume that he doesn’t love learning?
What if a girl could cut her hair really short and dye it purple and not have people think she is questioning her connection with HaShem?
What if we could create a judgement free community? Isn’t that part of living a Torah life?

I am jealous when I meet Baalei Teshuva (and the rare FFB) who are excited about living a life of Torah and mitzvos. I am jealous of the enthusiasm, the fervour, the inspiration they approach this life with. I’m jealous that they have a love for the mitzvos that I’m not so sure about. I’m also jealous of the way my community accepts these baalei teshuva with whatever quirks and baggage they have. What about my quirks?
What if people were as accepting of members of their own communities as they are of newcomers to Judaism? Maybe that’s why my Baal Teshuva friends love Yiddishkeit so much.

WHAT IF? What if we could rent out Madison Square Garden for frum Jews who are yearning for inspiration?
What if there was an asifa about stripping away the junk?
What if we could be open about the fact that struggling is part of yiddshkeit?
What if we could advertise that everyone should wear what they feel like wearing?
What if we could pack the house with people who need, desperately, to be inspired about way of life?
What if we could have the best speakers of our generation address frum people who are struggling with being frum?
What if we could make it Matan Torah 2.0?

Would you join me?

8 Comments

  1. Reuven Dovid Miller March 13, 2017 at 11:09 am

    “Would you join me?” Would I ever! But then, so would everyone else. Because you’re describing bi’as haMoshiach. Meanwhile, we apparently need these challenges to get us well and truly there.

    Reply
  2. Michoel March 13, 2017 at 11:11 am

    I would join you in a flash.
    Fellow FFB here looking for a community of people who ask all the questions you just wrote.

    Reply
  3. Sara March 13, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Part of the challenges is changing societal norms without becoming an outcast just like the need to belong

    Reply
  4. Anonymous March 13, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    I would join you. I would join you as a convert who has been disenchanted with the ease with which my community has forgotten about HaShem, as someone who desperately seeks passionate Judaism with people who will not judge me for my quirks. Quirks, even, sound unnecessary. Like they’re silly and meaningless dandruff flakes, tangential to my personality. They are qualities that make me me, as essential to my being as my Judaism, as my gender, as my self-hood. And I don’t want to be judged for being who I am. I just want to worship and commune.

    Reply
  5. Chani from Israel March 14, 2017 at 12:18 am

    That is why we consciously left the black hat community when we made aliyah and settled on a daati Leumi yishuv. It took a lot to get used to but I realized that I had to fix my head and to look at our new neighbors with good eyes. I am so much happier living a non-judgmental life! And now I do mitzvot out of yirat shemayim instead of yirat community. (In our previous incarnation we would have said “mitzvos” and “yiras” but the adjustment is worth it)

    Reply
  6. Binah March 14, 2017 at 1:06 am

    I absolutely would.

    Reply
  7. Ami Silver March 15, 2017 at 6:30 am

    I’m (we’re) already with you

    Reply
  8. Rebekkah Lindow March 20, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Beautiful thoughts. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

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