After trying unsuccessfully for over a year to visit Israel, I just got in by the skin of my teeth on November 23rd. Less than one week later, on midnight November 28th, the borders to Israel closed again. I fully appreciate my good fortune getting in during this small open window.
I am studying Torah and Chassidus and am enthralled with what I am learning. My head has been spinning with all the new information but I am beginning to get some clarity.
Here is a takeaway from my first few weeks.
Judaism is a process not a destination.
That pithy saying has been repeated many times on a gazillion topics. When I apply this outlook to a key Jewish principle: ‘”to love our fellow, and to love and connect with G-d“, something wonderful happens.
First off… Whoa. Back up! I can turn myself into a spiritual pretzel making love of my fellow and love of G-d the measure of my success. I try and then seem to fail again and again and again.
Here’s where Judaism as a process, and Jewish joie du vivre come to life!
I’ve often measured success by my results…. In this case: am I loving my fellow and G-d?… did I just think, say, and do the right thing?… am I free of fear, resentment?
Though beautiful, when I look at these goals through the lens of a destination to reach, I often feel discouraged because I slip up regularly.
Here’s the new scenario.
In the process model, the goal itself becomes a measure of success. When I choose as my goal: “To love and connect with G-d and my fellow”, I am pointed in the right direction. This is no little thing. In and of itself it becomes a reason for joy.
Next, in every moment I strive to meet this goal, I am succeeding. I may fall down, and fall down again and again and again. But in any moment I can re-choose this positive direction… Simply continuing to try to succeed at this worthy goal is success.
An extra beauty is that as I encourage myself, I am practicing self-love. My love for others grows naturally out of this positive behavior.
This idea of Judaism as a process then allows for and creates many joie de vivre points along the way. It does not depend on my perfect bullseyes. Instead it taps into my natural gift of free will.
This is my new theory…
I will let you know how it pans out.
To be continued…
Love, Vivi ©