Three questions I received on ritual observance and Kabbalah:
Question: To my regret, I was raised in a family that observed the Jewish traditions, and I even studied in a Yeshiva. Now I am completely secular, do not observe the traditions, and feel perfectly satisfied with this. However, I feel pressure from my environment to observe the commandments at the corporeal level. Can you offer me some advice on how to deal with this and how to avoid fighting with my wife (I am married with four children)?
My Answer: If a person was raised with the traditions and believes in reward and punishment for them, then it is very difficult to quit observing the traditions. Your wife believes that by observing the earthy commandments you earn the world to come for her and her children, and that you will receive a reward and the Creator’s benevolence. This makes her feel like her life has meaning and gives her the energy to live. Don’t take this away from her! When in front of her, observe what she asks for.
Question: I have been born and raised as an Orthodox Jew. I want to study Kabbalah, but I don’t want to follow the 613 Mitzvot. It feels really burdensome having to follow so many Mitzvot. At the same time the idea of studying Kabbalah is wholly interesting to me as well as the various concepts that you espouse on your great blog. How should I think about this matter?
My Answer: Without changing anything about you or your lifestyle, study Kabbalah, alongside the rest of the earthly Torah. We do not accept Orthodox Jews or even Kipot Srugot (knitted yarmulkes) into our core group, but virtual study is your right.
Question: I came to orthodox religion and left it after I failed to find the Creator there and realized that it was the wrong path. My question is: are there such things as a supreme judge and judgment, and reward and punishment, the way the orthodox believe?
My Answer: What exists is:
- The Creator, the Law of Nature;
- The creature; and
- The connection between them.
The goal of creation is to attain adhesion with the Creator. The means to attain it is by correcting the creature from “for one’s own sake” to “for the sake of Creator.” Then the Creator becomes revealed within the creature. This is what Kabbalah talks about, and this is what exists.
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