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Why is Judaism so difficult?

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Rabbi Shlomo: Welcome. I'll be with you in a moment...what's on your mind?

Sam: Rabbi, I have not always been religious and I sometimes get frustrated with the new lifestyle. Do you have any advice for me?

Rabbi Shlomo: 1) Congratulations and kudos on your decision to follow the path of your ancestors and the Journey of Judaism.

Rabbi Shlomo: 2) Welcome to the club. Jews have been getting frustrated with Judaism since it all began!

Sam: thank you

Sam: I've never had to watch everything I do so closely

Rabbi Shlomo: 3) After all, why not! Judaism is not easy. No change is. And Judaism is the ultimate change. Because natural tendency (and fueled especially in modern western societies and philosophies) is to follow your heart. If it feels good it must be good. If I want it, I should have it.

Sam: you're right about that Rabbi

Rabbi Shlomo: And Judaism says just the opposite! Follow the mind. If it is good in the mind, it doesn't matter what the heart feels. To the contrary, train the heart to feel happy about what the mind knows is good

Rabbi Shlomo: So ever since the beginning of Judaism Jews had a problem. In their minds they knew what was right, but their hearts felt otherwise. The objective is, and has always been, to allow the mind to rule, but some times we just resorted to the beastly way of following the heart

Sam: is it wrong for me to get frustrated with being seen as a Jew and only a Jew?

Rabbi Shlomo: what do you mean

Sam: there's so much more to me, mom was Ashkenazi, dad is British and Chinese. Without anyone of my ancestors I would not be who I am

Rabbi Shlomo: indeed

Rabbi Shlomo: But YOU ARE a Jew. So anything that your ancestors have contributed to your existence is somehow related to your Jewishness

Rabbi Shlomo: a house can have many rooms, but that doesn't make it many houses

Sam: Rabbi, that is soooo wise

Sam: wow

Sam: but still Rabbi, I'm frustrated with all the do nots of Judaism

Sam: keeping Kosher and sabbath mostly

Rabbi Shlomo: so what?

Rabbi Shlomo: So you are frustrated?

Rabbi Shlomo: You want a remedy to ease the frustration?

Sam: it's hard and often slips my mind that I have to wait 4 hours before having dairy after I have meat

Rabbi Shlomo: yes it is hard

Rabbi Shlomo: (6 hours)

Rabbi Shlomo: so are you asking for a way to make life easy?

Sam: 6 hours!?

Sam: OY!


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COMMENTS

Re Rabbi Shlomo's comments above

Posted by: Daniel MacDonald, Toronto, ON, Canada on Aug 05, 2009

I have been reading "Ask Moses" for a few years now. This discussion on the difficulties of being jewish has, like the ripples when a stone hits the water, reached my shore and opened my eyes a bit wider. Knowledge is indeed a gift when it is shared.

Thank you.


RELATED CATEGORIES

Philosophy » Religion
Best of AskMoses » Jewish Identity

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.
Ashkenazi
(pl. Ashkenazim). A Jew of Northern or Eastern European ancestry.
Teshuva
Repentance. Or, more literally, "return" to G-d. Teshuva involves regretting the past and making a firm resolution not to repeat the offense.
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.