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Author:  manny
E-mail:  not available
Date:  10/20/2003 1:14:00 AM
Subject:  mitzvas or bust?
Message:  what is more important being happy or being "frum"? I am battling with some difficulties and I seem to be stuck against a "frum" wall... Were does ones obligations start and end when it comes to ones internal happiness. What if i feel bad being "frum"?
Reply:  Being Frum (religious) includes this wonderful commandment, the requirement to be happy. Now how's that for a mess!
OK. What you see as Frum is really just a lifestyle. People following some daily robotic routine. We all need to pull ourselves out of this never ending conveyor belt, and stop to think for a few minutes. Why do we do this? What should we be doing? How can I do this without hating each minute?
Over time you'll realize that you must follow God's laws, because that's what he commanded. But only what is required. Stop doing all those extra stuff. These dress codes. Women shaking Lulov, hearing Shofar, even going to hear Parshat Zachor. Stop! Stop! It's hard enough to follow the laws themselves. Doing your duties in this world is a life's commitment. Don't try getting it all in one week. First shed you life of all the excess restriction and bogus laws. Stick to the basics. Make a list of what you need to keep. It should be real short. Then browse through and circle the tough ones. You shouldn't have more than three or so. Then develop a program for yourself on how to conquer those three or so items over a period of time. A year. Two years. Whatever. If you succeed, you'll feel stronger than Arnold Shwartznager. If you fail, pick yourself up, brush off your pants, and keep on trucking. No guilt. No torturing yourself. These things are created by the Yetzer Harah to pull you back.
It's work, but it also takes a lot of careful planning not to go too fast & not to go too slow. Even if you are Frum from birth, act like a Baal Teshuva. Allow yourself to indulge. To enjoy those things you were trained to think is not allowed, and then start your own Baal Teshuva movement. Do all this slowly and carefully.
I'll be glad to help along the way.
email me.

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