divorceA lot of talk has been going on about the guy who won’t give a get to his wife. It’s awful no doubt. We’re all incensed, and rightfully so.

But here’s the interesting thing. We all do this at times. We all refuse to give a get sometimes.

What in the world do I mean?

What does a husband do when he gives a get? He’s allowing someone to choose to say no, to choose to disengage, withdraw and run away from the relationship.

But we often refuse to give a get to ourselves. What I mean is, many Jews feel like they can’t allow themselves to feel certain feelings, that they aren’t allowed to say no, and that they have no choice in their relationship with God.

Let me be clear – many Jews are entirely healthy with their religion and don’t feel the need to explore how they feel about it. They feel great, they feel like this is a precious valuable relationship that they choose for themselves and that’s fine.

But others feel discontent, feel resentment, and maybe even feel anger and frustration.  They come home and they just want to spend time with their wives and family, to recover from a long and trying day.

But hang on – it’s time for Maariv and they need to go to Shul. And here is where it gets messy. They don’t want to go to Shul but they feel like they can’t say no, that they are a bad person and a bad Jew if they don’t go. So they go. But the frustration is bubbling right there beneath the surface.

They trap themselves in a relationship and refuse to allow themselves to explore their emotional dynamics with God. Just like this dude is trapping another person in a relationship and not allowing her to say NO.

I am not advocating divorcing God. By get, I mean a general openness and availability to simply feel. Maybe it means simply saying, “I’m so upset I have to go to Shul now. I just want to eat dinner in peace”, and then going to Shul anyways.

Maybe it means going to Shul but trying to nurture and cultivate an appreciation for having to go speak to God with nine other men in the evening, when all you really want is to curl up and spend quality time with your kids before they go to bed.

Whatever.

The details are up to you. But remember, the essence of being in an intimate relationship with someone is showing up to the frictions and tensions of life and love with them and allowing yourself to FEEL.

I know many people will think this is another call to frum people to hang loose, get real, chill out or what have you.

But its not. There are many voices out there advocating that – they need no help.

Instead, this is a call to frum people – people who are in an intense action-oriented halakhic relationship with God – to give a metaphorical get to themselves and allow themselves space to explore (and thereby deepen) their relationship with God.