Posted on | May 31, 2007 | By Leah Levenson | 115 Comments
In the two months before Pesach, I had decided I’d had enough. My day was too full to work in the davening, the tehillim, the perek shirah, etc. etc., and still take care of my household responsibilities, a full-time job and a two-hour a day commute.
So I stopped davening.
I’d get up in the morning, make my coffee, sit down at my computer and check out my blogsites, all the while suppressing this nagging guilty feeling.
I told myself it didn’t matter, I’d get back to davening soon, that I was just tired and needed to regroup.
I went through my defiant phase — who needs davening, why bother, what good does it do, I bet half the women in my shul don’t daven, etc. etc. etc.
But while I was having this debate in my head, my external world was collapsing around me.
Our bankroll got thin.
I was tired, grouchy, depressed, inert.
I couldn’t motivate myself to do anything, let alone daven.
Work was hard, things went wrong, plates, broke, I ached, we argued.
And all the time I kept thinking — this is a slippery slope. How can you say you’re “frum” if you don’t even talk to Hashem?
“What’s your problem,” I asked myself. “You keep kosher, you light your candles, you do the important things. So who needs to daven? If I say a little prayer here and there, and remember to say my brochas for eating and going to the washroom, shouldn’t that be enough?”
I’ve done this before, dropped tehillim, stopped davening, davened rushed or badly, given up on perek shirah, until I pulled myself out of the funk.
It is so obvious to me that when I drop my responsibilities to Hashem, my personal world goes very wrong. Things are just harder, as if you’re trying to climb up a hill with a 50-pound bag of sand on your back.
I’m not saying I’m being punished. I think being a BT is forever this crab walk of sideways skittering, two steps forward and two steps back. But this awful feeling of abrogation, of dereliction of duty, of leaving things unfinished, that’s the hardest to take.
I committed to starting up again on Erev Pesach this year. I would pick up the football and run with it. And I did — the whole nine yards (figuratively speaking).
And have been faithfully doing so every since.
And my world is going smoothly.
The bills are paid.
The work is fun and challenging but not frustrating.
My relationship with my husband and others is excellent.
And the sun shines every day, even when it rains.
There’s no doubt in my mind that when you finally understand our sole job is to serve Hashem, everything begins to make sense. The priorities click back into place. Everything becomes a little easier and a little clearer.
I’m not sure, but I suspect that even a BT who decides it’s too much and goes back to his old secular way of life will never be the same again. They’ve had a taste of Gan Eden on earth by seeing a glimpse of kedushah and seeing their part in Hashem’s plan, and it will have left an indelible mark.