Thursday, September 16, 2010


Is It Really “Too Hard”?

by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

     Have you ever heard a rabbi say, “You have to accept upon yourself the yoke of Torah”? Apparently, this rabbi agrees with those who say that a Torah life is very hard. The truth is that life without the Torah is the life that is too hard, and when you bring the Torah into your life, it makes life much, much easier.

     The yoke attaches the plow to the animal. Comparing the Torah to a yoke is a metaphor showing us that we should use the Torah to pull the plow of life.

     Even before the yoke was invented the animal had to pull the plow. People had to eat. But, without the yoke, the animal was attached to the plow with only a harness. It had to pull that heavy plow with its head and neck muscles. What a tremendous burden that was!

     Then, some wise farmer came up with the idea to put a yoke around the animal’s shoulders. This allows the animal to pull the plow with its big shoulder muscles instead of its small neck muscles. What a wonderful thing the yoke is. The animal loves its yoke. The yoke saves the animal from so much pain and suffering.

    In America today: 27% of the non-religious, white, teenage girls, and 50% of the non-religious, black, teenage girls, have one, two, or three different types of venereal diseases.

    Fifty percent of the babies born to non-religious girls are born out of wedlock - i.e. mommy is not married, no father at home.

    Sixty-five percent of the non-religious marriages end in divorce.

    According to one popular talk show host, in 85% of the non-religious marriages, one of the partners, every once in a while, sleeps with someone other than their spouse.

     That life, the non-religious life that they live, is the life that is “Too Hard,” not the Torah life.

    If you will keep Shabbos (which, in fact, is a pleasure), and your wife will cover her hair (to be modest), if you put on tefillin (to pray), and if the home is kosher (so even your eating is holy), if the kids get a Jewish education (so the Jewish people and values continue), then none of these statistics will apply to you and your family.

     Now tell me, which is the life that is too hard?

     I have tried both, and I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that it is much easier to be a religious Jew than a “free”, do whatever you want, secular Jew. It is hard, depressing, and empty to live the “American dream”, no matter which country you dream it in. In fact, that dream turns out to be a needless nightmare.

     There are always going to be problems in life, no matter what you do. If you focus on the problems, you are going to be miserable. There are also always beautiful things going on in life, and if you focus on them, you will be happy. It’s your call.


  1. The material fun life is fun for awhile but it's a temporary pleasure with No meaning.

    A Torah life takes more effort but is very rewarding in the long run. Might not feel it at first but over time.

    we all have different challenges and nice things. With faith and strength, we can grow and have try enjoyment

  2. R' Gutman! You just made the case that I was attempting to make in a comment that I made to an earlier post, which R' Akiva addressed.

    Why does HaShem leave one stuck ... without a penny to one's name ... in an anti-emunah environment!? Where's the deliverance from Mitzrayim and where are the spoils from Mitzrayim -- nevermind the spoils from the Mitzrim at the Yam Suf!?

    Okay, so we've got the Baal Shem Tov's story to Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye about the wager between the gentile merchant and the Jewish merchant regarding the chastity of the latter's wife.* The Besht goes on to explain that like that Jewish merchant, HaShem basically takes on the guise of Satan and forces Klal Yisrael into a "no win" scenario and thereby cruelly sets them up for failure in the exile, while adding that their infedilty isn't really infedility. Psst.... Let's note that in the story, the Jewish merchant's wife returns to her husband and angrily complains about what he'd done to her!

    If HaShem does this to His beloved Yisrael, then what chance do we non-Jews have of accomplishing tikkun nefesh!? I mean, if HaKodesh Baruch Hu's going to leave us hanging without a real connection to Klal Yisrael and without a spiritual mentor, while keeping us penniless in the decadent and ever decaying "Anti-Emunah States of America," then what hope do we Noachides have!?

    Personally, I'm tired of being treated like HaShem's redheaded stepchild and I'm more than a little miffed and dismayed at seeing my sibilings treated so badly. There are limits to the parental cruelty that any child can and/or should endure, no? Okay, so I'm not made of tougher stuff and my forefathers would probably shout, "Boy, you don't know how good you've got it!"

    And yes, we moderns have enabled the spiders of this world and have become tangled in the webs that we allowed to be spun for us, but if HaShem isn't going to provide us with the means and wherewithal to escape, then ... what are we suppose to do? Just hang here? Paralyzed by poverty; just waiting for some spider to come along and suck us dry?

    HaShem wants to test our emunah? Pfft.... As if there's anyone else out there to turn to for help? Okay, so I can't trust in another and I certainly can't trust in myself! I admit it! I need HaShem! "Salvation is of HaShem and HaShem alone," said the pathetic fly as he hung helplessly in the spider's web.

    I'm just saying.... HaShem's made His point. How 'bout a little help here? Why not just ring the dinner bell or set us free? Honestly, either would be a mercy at this point. Keeping us trapped in this web isn't going to increase our emunah or help us accomplish tikkun nefesh -- nevermind tikkun olam!

    "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope" - Yirmiyahu 29:11 (JPS).

    Really? Thoughts of peace? A future and hope? Hmmm.... Does this by extension or in some layer of meaning apply to Noachides as well as Jews? I'm left to wonder as I sit here with my hands tied....

    (*) "The Light and Fire of the Baal Shem Tov" by Yitzhak Buxbaum, pp. 297-299.


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