So, yeah, in case you didn’t know. This is totally a real law. If you didn’t wipe your butt properly, any prayer or study you’ve done during that time is a sin instead of a virtue. The same law (guf naki) that argues that some women shouldn’t be allowed to do pretty much anything holy for a few days every month.
Look. In this post, I’m not coming to argue some complex philosophical point. There are times where details are important.
But hey, doesn’t it sometimes seem like we’re getting set up to fail? Like no matter how hard you try, there’s always some law you’re breaking? Isn’t life complicated enough as it is without adding these layers of OCD insanity on to them in an attempt to “add meaning”?
It has often seemed to me like losing the forest among the trees is not something we should blame the people who follow Judaism for.
We should blame the system itself. Look at how many books of laws there out there. Are there as many books about how to lead a happy life? Show me one classical book devoted to having a happy marriage. I challenge you.
I argue that the misprioritization is in the text itself. It’s in the fiber of the religion. Look how many more don’ts the Torah has than do’s. Look how many more curses the Torah describes for people who break the law (eating your own children, anyone?) than it does blessing you when you do the right thing.
I am someone who is inherently hard on himself, who tries so hard to be a good person, who cares so much about doing the right thing. Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it, no need to hold a gun to my head. And I absolutely need more blessings than curses if I am to get through the day.
To me, structuring the religion in such a way that it has a myriad of things you can fuck up which vastly outweigh any amount of good you can possibly do, is not taking me and my personality into account.
Now you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some feeling good about myself to take care of.