by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths
This series of articles started with an article posted on Mystical Paths written mostly by teens who left Torah and mitzvahs. The article was called “Why Judaism Sucks.” Next came more articles including, “I Am Committed,” wherein I highlighted how the spiritual side of Judaism is not being taught in religious schools or Torah-observant communities, which I feel is the primary cause for the vast majority of Jews not choosing a Torah lifestyle. I sited two main issues: Torah and mitzvahs are taught as an obligation, and not as a wonderful life of joy and holiness, and two, that there is almost no spirituality taught in the school system. Today, everyone is taught that everything is physical and talk of Hashem is almost forbidden.
The articles have received strong criticism from people within the system, who claim that the articles foster loshan harah (evil speech) and are damaging to the yeshiva system. In fact, they say that the articles should be taken down from the Web site.
The following is part of a letter from Monsey, New York. The writer is totally within the system, and recognizes what must be changed. See what it says. He is totally within the system, and he recognizes what must be changed. See what he says.
What you wrote in "I Am Committed" and in this follow up e-mail is bang on the money. These correspondents of yours are in denial, big time.
Keep communicating this message. G-d willing, the truth will resonate with enough people that the system will eventually change. And, boy does it ever need changing. It's got a flat tire alright.
Chasdei H-shem I have three children (all in their early 20's) who have gone through the "system". My two sons are learning in Lakewood.
The spiritual void within the system is endemic. The possibility of enhancing one's innate awareness of G-d is left out of the curriculum. Morahs andRebbeim are nervous and uncomfortable talking about G-d or spirituality, so whatever "inspiration" they offer the kids is flat and lifeless.
My sons tell me that kids as young as 5th graders are dropping out of Lakewood schools now. [Emphasis from Gutman] The oppressive conformity, restrictive classroom environment, and absence of any meaningful reason to stay frum are resulting in many lost kids in frum society.
The bottom line is that they don't get it, and they are afraid of getting it too. Spiritual teachings feel threatening, and seem disloyal to them (which is why you got the negative reaction you did).
They insist on not talking about G-d, and they do not live inspired. They are content with orthopraxy. [a religion that places emphasis on ethical and liturgical conduct as opposed to spirituality.] Clearly you are not living up to this social requirement.
I love your books, your e-mails and your videos and have grown and received so much inspiration from them. Please stick with it.