Sunday, May 12, 2013
Is Halacha Everything?
During a conversation I had when talking about some of the characteristics in girls I like to date, a question was posed to me that completely stunned me. "Why do you value halacha as everything? That is, if she doesn't have halacha as a priority, you wouldn't be willing to date her?"
Where to begin. Having come from a more right-wing background, halacha really is everything. There's very little focus on the spiritual aspects of Judaism, and that side is supposed to be found internally, on one's own. I disagree with that, but that's what it is.
Questioning my belief in the importance of halacha shocked me. I mean, what is more important to focus on? The spiritual side of Judaism is incredibly important, but how can you have a spiritual connection if you're breaking all manners of halacha on a regular basis? I'm not saying you can't, I just don't get what that spiritual side is. What does a person mean when they say they have a spiritual connection to God?
There are those who say "God understands" when they blatantly break halacha. I break halacha. It pains me when I do. But I don't say that God understands, but 'unfortunately, this is where I'm holding.' It sounds like semantics, but there's a big difference. The way I phrase it acknowledges that I have work to do on myself and that I'm not happy with where I am. The way they say it, it sounds like they have a buddy-buddy relationship with God and He's cool with their decision to pick and choose what they want to follow. I acknowledge that I have to change, so I can change. Of course, knowing that I have to change doesn't mean I will. But without that understanding, what can cause a person to person to change?
I'm honestly puzzled as to how people happily live their lives as frum Jews without the ever-present thought that they have to grow. God forbid, I do not judge them. I don't know where they came from, what they experienced, what they’re going through presently or what will be. I just don't get what they view their religion as. Is it a religion they were born into and are stuck with? A religion they're happy to be a part of but don't see the need to adapt their own lifestyles to? Or are they perfectly happy with how they live their lives and pick and choose what they find easy to follow and shuck the rest of it?
It's baffling. How do they view their religion? And if halacha isn't everything, or not the most important thing, what is?