What a brilliant blog by Rabbi Cardozo!
Courageous, insightful, hugely thought-provoking, it doesn’t just make sense to me, it speaks to me. I undoubtedly go through the motions, and often struggle to do it, I silence the voice within me, I don’t want to know, it’s easier to just keep going even when I can’t feel the spirituality…I don’t know any other way to do it and I feel that when I do question, when I don’t daven when I should, when I don’t go to Shul when I should, it’s like letting go of the edge of the cliff…I feel that I just have to hold on, stay on the religious straight and narrow because, if I don’t, I’ll lose it completely and that’ll be the end of Judaism for my kids as well.
The motivation behind my observance is fear, fear in many guises…fear of angering H”M, fear of losing that connect and drifting off into space, fear of setting the wrong example to my children (which, of course, in simply going through the motions, I am doing!!). I have had the importance of the principle of ‘consistency’ drummed into me over the years, the importance of keeping going, doing the same things over and over and over again, never deviating, lest our children get mixed messages. I am certainly not connecting in a way which inspires my daughter and eldest son. My youngest, 8, he is connected but it’s in spite of me, not thanks to me. I’m definitely doing it all wrong and, though it’s difficult as an obsessive compulsive, I should take on board the very wise words of Rabbi Cardozo.
My children can see through me. They know that I’m motivated by fear and fuelled by my obsessive compulsiveness. Mine is a Judaism which the children will run away from as soon as they get the chance. In that sense, I know I have already failed yet I keep going in the same direction, I keep going down that well-trodden path. I think most observant orthodox Jews are similarly motivated by fear, again, in many guises, and by an obsessive nature. I think that most block out internal and external voices of reason and keep galloping on like a horse wearing blinkers.
I don’t suppose I’ll act on the advice of Rabbi Cardozo but at least I can hear him…that’s more than many people out there will do!
Kol Ha’kavod, Rabbi (and thanks to Sarah Tuttle-Singer for sharing the blog on Facebook)