Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Malkie. I'm 26, married for five years and I have a beautiful two year old daughter. My husband is a great guy. I truly love him and our family. We have no serious financial worries (although we haven't started paying tuition yet) and our health is fine.
So, what's the problem?
Well, the problem is this... I just don't feel any... connection...to yiddishkeit anymore. Where once upon a time I had a feeling of closeness to God and a joy in keeping the mitzvos, I no longer have this today.
What led to this yeridah? I honestly can’t say for sure. It started shortly after the birth of our daughter. It’s not like one day I was “gung ho” on the mitzvos and the next day I was “who cares?” It’s been a gradual process, slowly building up from day to day.
I look at the frum community and see all the troubles that abound. Rabbeim accused of horrible crimes against children. Horrible attitudes that I see from my friends and neighbors toward those who aren’t Jewish (or are from “wrong” frum circles). Seemingly more and more bizarre rulings from rabbanim. The nonsense that goes on in the shidduch world (which, as a naïve 21-year old I embraced wholeheartedly, but now see as demeaning, demoralizing, filled with arcane nonsensical rules and just plain stupid). The apologetics that some people go through to make the gedolim out to be paragons of perfection rather than well-learned, exemplary but fallible human beings. And on and on. I see it all in real life, and in cyberspace (such as on Imamother.com and other cyberplaces).
At this point, I’m so… disgusted… with the system that I’m almost ready to chuck it. I can’t believe that HaShem wants us to engage in all this nonsense (if, indeed, He exists… but that’s another story for another time).
The one main problem is that I don’t live in a vacuum. I have a husband whom I love very much who married me with the understanding that I would be a good Jewish wife. I have a daughter who is too young at the moment to understand, but, nonetheless, expects a good Jewish role model for a mother. I have my own parents who would be scandalized if I just left the fold… certainly I owe all of them better than this.
And yet, I don’t know if I can go on living a charade. I don’t know how long I can feign joy at keeping the mitzvos. I don’t know how long I can go on pretending that I believe that the Torah lifestyle is the ideal lifestyle when, deep down, I no longer believe it.
And, of course, there is the issue of the fact that people change. After all, just two and a half years ago, I was a “true believer.” Who’s to say that I won’t slip out of these spiritual doldrums in a few months and be “hunky-dory” again? On the other hand, who’s to say that I will, and how long can I wait for this to happen?
And, I suppose, that’s the point of this blog. I’m going to give myself six months. I’m going to work hard during those six months to try to see the positives in Judaism. I’m going to spend the next six months trying to re-establish a connection to my spiritual self. I’m going to spend the next six months doing some soul-searching (if I have a soul) to see if this is the way I want to spend the rest of my life, and if this way of living will give my life some meaning.
And what happens if I don’t? What happens if, after six months, I find that I am no closer to God, or God forbid (pun intended) I’m even further away? What happens to my marriage and my family? To my parents? I don’t know. But I do know that I have a breaking point. I can’t live a lie, and I can’t go on pretending forever. For now, I do it for my family. I do it for my wonderful husband. I do it for my precious daughter and my parents who worked so hard to raise me. But if I’m going to live this way for the rest of my life, then it has to be for me. It has to be because I want to live this way, not because others want me to. It has to be because I am moved to do so, not because I feel pressured by familial and societal pressures to do so.
And so, that’s the point of this blog. This blog will help me work through the ideas of how to go about my life. This blog will be my laboratory for thoughts and ideas regarding the big decision that I have to make in my life.
Six months, starting…. Now.