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A discussion about various challenges facing the newly-observant Jew

  

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Rabbi Gurkow: Welcome to the Rabbi's one on one chat room, how can I help you today?

MM0566: Hi, do you answer more serious questions on this site? I have a problem that_s kinda big. Thank you.

Rabbi Gurkow: sometimes we are able to give our visitors more time than others

Rabbi Gurkow: at the very least we try to recommend someone that you might talk to or a book that you might be able to read

Rabbi Gurkow: fair enough?

MM0566: Thanks, this is big, but shouldn't take too long

Rabbi Gurkow: ok

MM0566: Here's the problem - in a nutshell, I grew up secular but am now trying to become more observant. This has not been necessarily easy, but I'm coming along with things like going to synagogue, doing Shabbat, Kosher, etc...(more in a sec)

Rabbi Gurkow: ok

MM0566: However, I've been looking at stuff on the Internet trying to learn more, and I've come across a lot of things that I thought would be good to read, but instead have taken a lot of the joy out of my life. Its mostly ORthodox stuff that says so many secular things are bad. For example, my education and career have been in marketing and entertainment, I enjoy reading sci-fi books and seeing movies, I like listening to rock music, etc. I have always tried to be ethical and never considered any of these things bad (I do have limits on things though - for example, I don't watch porno films or anything like that), and my secular JEwish and non JEwish friends do all this same stuff with no problem. But now I'm reading things that says all of this is bad, and whats more doing some of it is so bad that you don't go to the world to come if you do. Is this really true?

Rabbi Gurkow: I don't know the particulars of what you are reading, but let us learn to distinguish between bad and BAD

Rabbi Gurkow: the notion that one cannot go to the world to come is not very Jewish

Rabbi Gurkow: we believe in Teshuvah, and everyone can go to the world to come if they repent

Rabbi Gurkow: now there are some things that are BAD

MM0566: I know that!

Rabbi Gurkow: those are the things that are forbidden by Jewish law

Rabbi Gurkow: :-)

Rabbi Gurkow: then there are things that are simply bad but not BAD

Rabbi Gurkow: those are the things that are not forbidden by Jewish law but they do have a negative affect on us, say emotionally or spiritually or psychologically, they tend to influence us in ways that draw us away from our faith and our passion for Judaism

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Repentance
Holidays » Yom Kippur » Repentance

Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Teshuvah
Repentance. Or, more literally, "return" to G-d. Teshuvah involves regretting the past and making a firm resolution not to repeat the offense.
Talmud
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Kosher
Literally means "fit." Commonly used to describe foods which are permitted by Jewish dietary laws, but is also used to describe religious articles (such as a Torah scroll or Sukkah) which meet the requirements of Jewish law.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.