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Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Have you sworn off religion?

Daf Yomi Nedarim 16

In today’s day and age, religion is for kooks.  There was an earlier era of history when religious commitment was widely respected and expected.  Not anymore.  Nowadays, nobody wants the stigma of being “religious.”  It’s much more in vogue to be atheist or agnostic – let’s just believe in what we can rationally explain without all the fanatical mumbo jumbo!

Rav Gidel quoted Rav or Shmuel: How do we know that one may not make a vow to transgress the mitzvos?
Concerning one who makes a vow, the Torah declares, “He shall not desecrate his word,” which implies that ‘his word,’ i.e. matters pertaining to himself, he may not desecrate, but he may desecrate it for Heavenly matters.

Some people swear that they would never become “religious.”  They view observant Jews as extremists and don’t even give themselves the chance to get their spiritual feet wet.  They live in fear of, G-d forbid, ever becoming more observant.  And so they’ve sworn to themselves that it’ll never happen.

The good news from Rav Gidel is that the oath is meaningless.  You can’t swear off the Torah.  We stood as a nation at the foot of Sinai and made a promise to keep the mitzvos.  Anything uttered after that has no legitimacy.  You can’t go back on your original commitment.

Are you stopping yourself from spiritual growth because you’ve promised yourself that you could never become ‘religious’?  Are you hesitating to let the Divine flow of energy into your life for fear of what it might make you do?  Are you afraid to internalize the Torah’s teachings for fear that it might lead to serious lifestyle decisions?

It’s time to let your guard down.  Just allow the Divine energy to flow naturally and que sera sera.  If there are decisions to be made down the road, cross that bridge when you get there.  Stop fretting over where this path may lead you.  It might not be that bad after all!

Too many people fail to reach their spiritual destiny because they just won’t let their defenses down for the time needed for G-d to enter.   Next time He knocks, let him in, at the very least for curiosity’s sake.  May you merit annulling any vows that are inhibiting you from become the best you could be!