A friend from work came to my home for dinner Friday night (Shabbat). She gave me twenty minutes notice but I was so happy to have a guest. I made a beautiful party table for the two of us, lit my two Shabbat candles, and started gathering salads. I opened a can of black olives and put them in a party dish. That was one salad. I opened a can of sliced beets and put them in a party dish. Two salads. I peeled a rimon (Indian Apple) and put the translucent red seeds in a party dish. Three salads. And I made a traditional American salad: lettuce, tomatos, cukes, broccoli, grapes, and rimon seeds. For the main course, I had bread and wine, and a hot-n-ready rotisserie chicken from the deli counter. Total cost: maybe 20 bucks for the food plus $18 for the bottle of wine.
My brother had bought these ridiculously huge wine glasses for 99₵ at Goodwill. I filled her glass and then my glass, and together we drank the whole bottle of wine in two hours!
My friend/coworker is a black lady from the south side of Chicago, who went to Catholic school, and had a very traumatic childhood with her narcissistic mother. She is a woman of deep faith and we talk about God and His Blessings to us quite often.
During dinner, she was watching me and taking in my Shabbes party table, and she was struggling to make sense of me as a Jewish woman. She was asking me questions like: So you don’t turn on or off the lights? Why did you get a different plate for the chicken? Are you going to drive to synagogue on the Sabbath?
I told her the answer is ben yomim. There is an ideal situation and then there is what I can do because I live in my brother’s house. For example, I designated a frying pan to be only for grilled cheese sandwiches. Then one of his buddies came over and fried pork in that frying pan while I was standing there asking him not to cook pork in our house. If it were my house, I would have thrown that pan directly into the garbage can. End of story. But it is not my house.
She did not understand my inconsistency, so she asked me about being saved.
“Saved from what?” I said. I’m not a dirty sinner.
The Shabbat is a Queen and God loves all His precious children.
Even the evil Egyptians who were chasing us as God took us out of slavery with a strong arm to be our King, even when they were drowned in the sea, God cried out that His Creations were dying. It had to be done because they chose to pursue us, but it made God sad.
We moved on to other topics, but really I didn’t understand her questions until several hours after she left. Later, I realized that she was questioning me because she was looking for consistency. Was I saying one thing, but doing another?
And the answer is… that is not Jewish thought.
In English, there is one word for disobeying God, and that word is SIN.
In Hebrew, I think there are six different words for disobeying God and they run the gamut from:
Every one of these (and more) gets translated equally as “sin” – which only proves that the other nations do not understand God’s relationship with His Children.
In Jewish thought, there are no hypocrites.
If I were to totally disobey God by lighting a fire and cooking my dinner on Shabbat, I don’t need to be “saved”.
All I need to do is teshuvah, turn around. (I talk to God and tell Him that I will try to do better next week… and I can ask for His help.)
Example #2: if I were to do 15 mitzvot (obedient actions) and 3 aveirot (disobedient actions), that does not make me a hypocrite. Nor do they cancel each other out.
Why? Because every act of obedience stands on its’ own.
A good deed is a spark that can never be nullified, unless you regret doing it. You can wipe out good deeds by changing your heart and regretting. For example, “I wish I hadn’t given that bum a dollar because I could use that dollar right now.” Whoosh! Good deed is nullified.
So where is the consistency in Judaism?
Answer: in the Torah.
The Word of God is consistent. It doesn’t change. The rules are the rules.
However, people are totally inconsistent.
Occasionally, we obey but mostly, we disobey. That doesn’t make me a dirty sinner in the Eyes of God. It just makes me a little off the best path and all I have to do is turn around.
Recovery is the same way. You take two steps forward and one backwards, and you step off the best path a lot. But all you have to do is turn around. It doesn’t make you a loser or a hypocrite or a sinner.
In closing, I would like to add that Hashem God calls me by many names.
He calls me “Beloved”.
He calls me “Daughter”.
He calls me “Rivka”.
Do you see how consistent God is?
“There is No Hypocrisy in Recovery.” is copyright © 2015 by Poorkitteh. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
You must log in to post a comment.