Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Repentance

I have been doing a little reading over the last few weeks - and i must say I'm confused.

 It is that time of year.

Repent, ye sinners all.

People are all talking about how they will repent.

Everyone is in full swing of repentance.  New Years is over - Yom Kippur is coming.  We need to fix ourselves.  Get better.

Be better.

And I think that is wonderfully noble.  Bettering oneself is always a good idea.  And if motivated this time of year that's fine.

Except.

Except then they list all the ways they plan on repenting:

Thou shalt not watch TV.
Thou shalt not watch movies.
Thou shalt certainly refrain from listening to the Devil's music.
Thou shalt stay away from US weekly.  (And certainly Cosmo.)
Thou shalt cover they knees and elbows.
Thou shalt not go on the internet (except, of course, to blog about repentance).

Wait, what??

People lie.  They steal. They treat each other like absolute shit.  They twist.  They hurt.  They destroy.  They pervert their souls in ways that never see the light of day.  They hate baselessly.  They manipulate.  And they are vicious.

But what do they repent?  Is it their true sins?  Heavens no.  They don't watch TV. 

As if refraining from watching The Bachelorete is going to be the difference maker.

Here's my opinion - take it with a grain of salt.

We have gone completely off the rails.  We have lost our way.  People no longer can see between the forest and the trees. 

We are so micro focused on stupidity and nonsense they we have let the real issues and challenges completely pass by with no reprisal.

You want to repent - great.  But what for?  For secretly loving Miley Cyrus and her twerkingness?  That's what's going to send hell fires your way?  But calling your roomate a bitch, or mistreating your spouse -  No need to repent there?

Honestly, it makes me sick.  I don't blame the people who write this.  This is what they are being told is important.  You are a horrible person, not because you steal from your clients, but because you look at the internet.  It isn't the fact that you treat people awfully, its the fact that you don't wear tights in summer.  Flip flops with no socks.  Where is the logic in that?

Better yet, where are our leaders?  WHO are our leaders?  Why are girls being taught that they are dirty because they listen to Beyonce but not a true moral code?

So yes, by all means repent.

But think first.  Don't just do./

14 comments:

  1. So...at some point, I took upon myself to stop doing one of those things on your list. I know there are things I do that you might think are worse, but this is what I chose. Not because I have no moral code and I have no idea that I should repent for the other things - but because this is what I was able to do right now, and I felt it was important - to me. Do I still do things that you may think are worse? Sure. But I don't see how that takes away from what I'm doing that's good - from what I chose to change.

    And...I don't believe that girls are not being taught a true moral code.

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    1. MW: let me guess, you go to the beach in a tichel and bikini?

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    2. Guess again.
      Or don't. If you don't know me, skip the judgments and assumptions please.

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  2. I didn't say Jewish girls aren't being taught a moral code - i said JEWS aren't being taught a moral code. Their leaders preach one thing but they do another. They teach that you need to do a b and c to be a good jew - but they let stealing go, no problem, so long as everyone giver to theuir shuls and yeshivas. So all that tainited money - ppl SEE that and they realize that there is no true moral code. Rabbis cant picvk and cghoose what to enforce.

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    1. Here's what you said:

      "Why are girls being taught that they are dirty because they listen to Beyonce but not a true moral code?"

      I'm not sure which leaders you mean. My leaders practice what they preach - and more.

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  3. Well lucky for you - but i think anyone who opens their eyes outside of their own four walls will see a totally different story

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    1. How about if you open your eyes, and I'll introduce you to some pretty amazing rabbonim - who are true leaders and role models? :)
      Sure you have the kind you're talking about. But those are not our leaders.

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  4. I dont know if i should be offended. I agree with Mystery Women that my role models walk the walk and talk the talk, they are people that i can respect and i dont respect easily.

    as for things to take on, things to repent on...id like to think that i am not an amoral person who treats people terribly, is a liar a cheat a scoundrel, i dont think thats me.

    yes what i am taking on may be small, and may not seem important to others, but for me its important to the path i am choosing to live, the one id like to follow.

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  5. Well there's bain Adam l'makom and bain Adam l'chavairo. Both are important, but God can only forgive you for one. Yom Kippur is all about brain Adam l'makom, asking God for forgiveness for wrongs you did towards Him. As for sins you've done toward people, God can't help you with that, only that other person can. Since the holiday is so focused on bain Adam l'makom, it isn't unusual that folks make the choices around that time to improve on what you wrote about, though ideally they should try and improve in both. (And yes, a lot of what you described as bain Adam l'makom are no where near as bad (some would argue if bad at all) as your bain Adam lchavairo examples.)

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  6. @FrumGeek, I need to respectfully disagree with "As for sins you've done toward people, God can't help you with that, only that other person can."

    My understanding is that first and foremost you need the other person to forgive you, but when that's all wrapped up, you still need to make it right with G-d.

    Simplistic analogy (because that's how I do best, and honestly, I do end up boiling my relationship with G-d down to analogies with human relationships):

    Parents have a rule in their house: there's one junky car that all the teenagers share, and each kid has a different day that's "theirs". Swapping days is fine if everyone agrees beforehand. Joe's day is Monday, but he has a date on Tuesday, forgets till the last second, panics, grabs the car and runs. Ben (whose day is Tuesday) strolls out of the house half an hour later to find the car gone, and his evening of careful plans collapses. Clearly, Joe's first responsibility is to make things right with Ben, and as the parent, that's the first thing that I need to happen. However, after Joe makes it right with Ben, we still need to talk: Joe has broken a house rule. I'm the one who made the house rules, so Joe had better apologize to me, too, for breaking a rule that I made and he has to follow. Again, my main concern is that Joe make it right with Ben, and if that's "all" that happens, I'm very close to satisfied, but as the one who made the rule to begin with, I'd like a quick "sorry", as well.

    In fact, thinking over the viduy, there's a whole lot of stuff we say that has to do with harming others. So, um, if I hadn't worked so hard on my analogy, I'd erase it and just cite viduy to say that teshuva on bain adam l'chavairo also has a "G-d component".

    All that being said, I totally hear your point and see why many people focus on bain adam l'makom this time of year. Personally, though, if I'm in a position to fix one or the other, I do like to shoot for the bain adam l'chavairo first. And since I want to fix my relationship with G-d, too, I try to keep in mind that being good to other people *is* being good with G-d, as well. After all, He says to play nicely, and following His rules is a way to show I love Him.

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    1. I'm just trying to guess as to why the world is the way it is. I never said I agree with it. I just think that what I said is the logic behind the members of the from community who act as Cym described.

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    2. ok, good to know :)

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  7. I read blogs and never comment but had to make an exception here because this is EXACTLY how I feel! FINALLY, someone else gets it! Wish I knew you in person, but it feels good to know at the very least that you exist. Keep writing :) and thank you.

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  8. Malka - you are alive!! I assumed you had passed on. And how do I find out? Via blog comment? Extremely disappointing. though I guess I should expect no less from you. Theatrical sigh.

    MW and AM - I think it's safe to say my experiences and observationa are completely different than yours. But we can still be friends :)

    Anon - Um, thank you I guess. I don't handle excessive prainse well.

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