The Talmud teaches (Psachim, 50b) “Right action for the wrong reason leads to right action for the right reason.” I’m noticing an uncomfortable feeling creeping in. Although my wife is coming along and asking questions and being open to talking, being caught in this “no man’s land” is difficult because it is hard to stay motivated to keep doing all of the rigorous observances of Torah with no community, no rabbi, and no friends to provide chizzuk.
A page from a medieval Jerusalem Talmud manuscript. Found in the Cairo Genizah.
I’m aware that in the past my observance of Torah was motivated out of love for G-d and I’m becoming aware of motivations that are more “down to earth” so to speak. I have derived satisfaction from my actions in the past. I’ve felt a sense of pride because I have belonged to something greater than myself. I have enjoyed the sense of belonging that “doing Torah” creates. The social aspects of Torah life are virtually absent for me right now and it is getting more difficult to sustain on my own.
I’m not worried about becoming an apostate, chas v’shalom. I’m just noticing little things that I’ve taken some leniency on that I wouldn’t have before. Part of this is waiting to be under the direction and care of a rabbi. But it’s also true that doing Torah in community is helpful and rewarding for me.
Am I alone in this too?
And Nimrod, and Mithra, and…well all the other god-men born to virgins or otherwise. Thanks for changing the world. Although it would have been nice had you left it a better place. But let’s not quibble over facts. I mean, what matters today is what people feel in their hearts, right?
In fact, what the followers of Jesus feel in their heart should be a testimony to his messiahship. We should see all manner of his works manifesting in his believers as they do even “greater things” than he did. But once again the evidence falls short. Or worse, it testifies against his messianic claim.
Today it seemed like my wife and I traded positions, one being angry while the other assumed a more patient, long-suffering temperament. The day started with me dodging verbal arrows and offering comforting words while she discussed how she was feeling. “You’ve changed all the rules,” “Our foundation has been shattered,” and so on. I tried to explain how our faith has been based in Torah principles all along and that letting go of Jesus is not going to send us all to Hell. “Don’t you worry that your choices will cause you to lose your salvation?” It was an honest question and my sincere answer was, “No. I do not believe G-d works that way. Nowhere in the Torah does it say that we have to identify a man, ‘believe’ in him and then have salvation.”
A kettle full of Jews burning in Hell
By the end of the day I had a headache and felt furious. I don’t know why but I had zero patience. Read More
Since I’ve told her that I don’t believe that Jesus is the messiah, my wife has been sad, scared and angry. Her sadness and fear are easier for me to deal with than her anger. I keep feeling like I’ve done something wrong for stating what I believe but I know that anger is a part of the process that leads to acceptance (see the Kübler-Ross model of grief).
When I ask her what I can do to help she only responds with defenses. She has stated outright that she is not ready to consider why he’s not the messiah and that she feels embarrassed for even entertaining the idea. This feels like a set-back but I realize that she is going to need more time than I had hoped to accept this and come along. That’s o.k. I just need to be patient. But I really need support too!
55 gallons of sadness