Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Seeing past the flaws
(The BeyondBT band)
I've been told by many in private, including my wife, that they're "shocked" that I said that I'm surprised that any non-Frum person would decide to become Orthodox today. It was in response to a comment made by Tzemach Atlas to this thread where he said that many more than are joining Orthodoxy are leaving. I agreed with him on that point and added the few lines about why anybody would become Frum today. Boy, did I get angry stares and lines in emails! It was like I had made a confession that I don't care to be frum, as far as they're concerned, and I'm not sure where they got that idea from. I guess I have a different manner of thinking and writing than most people do. I also don't know what it's like to be unhappy as a secular Jew, being that I am Frum from birth, so maybe I'd see it differently if I was in that situation.
The point is that Yiddishkeit today is so flawed, so not what it purports to be, that anybody who spends just a short time within that framework is met with one disappointment after another. That's already after he decided that he wants to be bogged down by one rule after another, (not that I think Chas VeSholom that Halochoh boggs you down) and one seemingly strange law and reason after another. Even if he gets past that point, and sees that this way of life IS for him, he still needs to join an already existant clique that's very tough to get into, and not very hospitable to new members. Groups like Chabad and Breslov, with large BT populations, are much easier to adjust and adapt to, but even then you may be limited to that clique for the rest of your life. I understand that nobody is actually sat down and told this prior to commencing with his/her Kiruv process, but a fairly intelligent man/woman should realize this soon after.
So you realize; when I mentioned my surprise that non-Frum people would ever want to join Frum Judaism I did not - G-d forbid - question the validity of the frum lifestyle, All I did was try and point out how leaving the fold may be easier than joining it; especially if you have neither friends nor family to worry about, for whatever reason, and especially if you seem to be more popular and accepted amongst your new-found friends. It may seem easy - for the FFB observer - for the new recruit to don a black hat and beard, or for the woman to begin dressing modestly, but it sure as heck is not. Just ask the chain-smoker what he feels like on Shabbos when he's told he can't smoke, or what he/she feels like when he/she is told that they have to keep a whole new set of Halochos Beino LeBeinoh. Then tell me that you'd want to join if you had a choice. I just wish some of those people closest to me would give the benefit of the doubt based on past performance, even if - like the investment companies tell you - past performance is not indicative of future returns..... This is, after all, not a hot stock tip we're talking about, it's my commitment to G-d and his Torah. I'd like to think of it as more than a roll of the dice.....