Friday, September 02, 2011

Fear of Commitment

On a "Reform Judaism" blog site, a comment appeared in response to an article. The commenter spoke of his "fear of going to a spiritual place from which I would not return".

This, I believe, manifests the crux of the matter for people who search their souls for truth and will not let convenience sway them from that straight-as-a-laser path of truth. The unconscious realization that truth might lead to the necessity of commitment, having to take the consequences of discovery from the realm of thought to the realm of action, carries with it an unconscious fear that new behaviors must now be embarked upon, old ones dispensed with, and new challenges therefore lie ahead. It takes a giant to pull off this gigantic effort, if for nothing else but to test his new discoveries.

It bears taking note that a theoretical evaluation of one's findings, as opposed to a behavioral endorsement of them, cannot be a valid substitute. For, unlike perhaps other endeavors, Judaism is behaviorally dependent. The Jews in the generation of Moses took upon themselves to do before they could understand, because only by doing can many important aspects of Judaism be understood. "We will do and we will [then] understand", they declared, prior to receiving the Torah (Ex. 24:7). This was not just an arbitrary whim. It is a characteristic Jewish imperative. It reminds me of the once-very-successful TV commercial that went, "Try it - You'll like it!" For in Judaism, not trying inevitably leads to not liking (and if not immediately, or in one generation, certainly by two or three).

The upheaval a behavioral change of repertoire may entail is not trivial. It is not for nothing one of the first laws in the book of the Jewish Code of Law requires the practitioner to be "Bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer and strong as a lion, to do the will of your father in heaven."

1 comment:

  1. "fear of going to a spiritual place from which I would not return". ..namely not wanting to give up some earthly pleasures in order to do the mitzvot...great piece my friend~!