Posted on | January 5, 2010 | By Guest Contributor | 11 Comments
Reading this great advice from Friedman’s Get Deeper Into Torah Without Going Off The Deep End raises the question that perhaps at some point we no longer have our sight on a goal and we’re basically content with where we are holding despite the fact that we have much room to grow in our Torah and mitzvot observance.
There is the intellectual and emotional commitment to a life of Torah. There is also the practical realignment of a thousand details in your daily life. Your commitment may happen in months or even in an hour. The nitty-gritty rearrangements of how you live should be grown into gradually over several years. It is enough to know you are heading towards total observance. Don’t lose sight of your goal, but pace yourself as you travel towards it. This pacing varies from person to person. If mitzvot are becoming a guilty burden, you have gone forward too fast. If you are depressed, cranky, or anxious about your religious life, or just unbelievably unenthusiastic, you have probably taken on too much too quickly.
A possible suggestion:
Women: just growing into kashrus, growing into Shabbos observance, continuing to learn, dressing more or less modestly, and finding your way around the prayers may be more than enough the first two years.
Men: Just growing into kashrus, growing into Shabbos observance, putting on tefillin, praying three times a day, and daily learning may be more than enough for the first two years. It’s not necessary to pressure yourself now to say all the prayers in the
prayerbook, to dress and speak like a tenth-generation Ben or Bat Torah, to learn every Rashi in Tanach, to become the school expert in checking bugs in vegetables, to study until midnight, to be especially stringent about which kosher labels you accept, to say psalms every day, etc. etc. It’s true that you should eventually create as rich a religious life for yourself as you can, but DON’T take it on all in one year.